Amazing! Read about this old battery that has been running for over 175 years!

Science can do unusual things. However, at times, all hypotheses can go wrong and certain unanswered queries remain, which keep disturbing the scientific minds.

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Within the campus of Oxford University’s Clarendon Laboratory is one such old battery that has kept the researchers on tenterhooks.

1 An Unusual Experimental Research

Science can do unusual things. However, at times, all hypotheses can go wrong and certain unanswered queries remain, which keep disturbing the scientific minds.

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Within the campus of Oxford University’s Clarendon Laboratory is one such old battery that has kept the researchers on tenterhooks.

An Unusual Experimental Research

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2 The Unusual Battery

This “Clarendon Dry Pile” battery powers a clapper that has been suspended between these two bells. The interesting part is that this old battery is not the usual AA battery and the research team is not very certain about the exact working mechanism or origin of this battery.

However, given the scientific temper that the research team has, they are not willing to close down the experiment and want to unveil the mystery. The research team has kept its cool, given the fact that the bell has been ringing for over 175 years now and has run over 10 billion times.

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The Unusual Battery

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Interestingly, the “Clarendon Dry Pile” battery holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most durable battery. This battery however does not display the typical perpetual motion and its oscillation frequency is 2 hertz.

It has been disrupted only by high humidity at some of the occasions and is otherwise running on a continuous basis.

3 Mystery Prevails

One of the possible reasons for this unusual behavior of the old battery could be the fact that the clapper uses little energy only. Infact the bell rings very low and is audible to human ear with much effort only. However, nothing can be said with certainty unless proved and the research team is trying hard to work out the mechanism of this old clock.

Mystery Prevails

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4 A Dry Pile Design

The battery is a “Dry Pile” design and the researchers do know that this was first developed by Giuseppe Zamboni. In a typical Dry Pile design, battery discs of zinc, silver and sulfur are used to produce electrical currents of low magnitude.

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The dry pile is an electric battery that does not use any electrolyte and is instead made from numerous paper discs that have zinc foil coating on one side. The other side is coated with manganese dioxide. In this battery, the moisture of the paper serves the purpose of a conductor.

When a number of such discs are pressed together in a glass tube an electromotive force is generated which has enough energy to move leaves of an electroscope.

Zamboni therefore devised an electrostatic clock in which the terminal knobs of the pile are brought near each other. This clock has a brass ball suspended between the knobs.

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A Dry Pile Design

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In the “Clarendon Dry Pile” design too, similar battery has been used and has been ringing, ever since the device was designed in 1840. Until the zinc or the manganese used in this battery is completely exhausted, the bell is likely to keep ringing.

Though the researchers associated with this experiment have understood this fact, but they have not been able to unveil the inner core of dry pile that has been powering the bell at Clarendon Laboratory for over 175 years.

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5 Giuseppe Zamboni

An Italian Roman Catholic priest, Giuseppe Zamboni is credited with the invention of Zamboni pile, an electric battery that is much similar to Voltaic Pile. He is much known for developing an improved version of dry pile.

Giuseppe Zamboni was born in Venice in Northern Italy in the month of June in 1766. He completed his studies in seminary at Verona and was later appointed in Physics department in lyceum in Venice.

Giuseppe Zamboni

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The researchers might have to wait until either the battery or the clappers that power them, wear out, so as to carry out a comprehensive research. Meanwhile the clock is still ticking and the world is amazed, as are the scientists who wish to unveil the mystery.

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