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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Einstein and Lead-Acid Batteries

In "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" we discuss the way in which Einstein's Special Relativity explains how and why transformers and coils work. I thought it was very cool to be able to see the role of Einstein's theory in our little toroidal transformers. Yesterday The New Scientist (perhaps the best science weekly in the world) brought news that we need to consider relativistic effects if we want to understand how and why our car batteries (and, I suppose, our gel-cells) work:

Thank relativity every time your car starts. Lead-acid batteries get about 80 per cent of their voltage from special relativistic effects.

Check it out (the NS story is short and gets right to the point): http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19978-car-batteries-run-on-relativity.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

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