Make a battery with two or more differing electrolytes on the inside and outside of cells

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Rolland B. Heiss, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. Rolland B. Heiss

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 4, 2015
    I was thinking about how our respective hearts for example keep beating as efficiently as they do. Since my birthday was Saturday the particular heart I was born with has seen me through half a century so far and I happen to be quite grateful for that! So I decided to search a bit and see what makes our heart cells keep beating and in the course of my search I found out that there are two or more electrolytes on either side of each heart cell. Here is what I read in part:

    "Our hearts contain a grouping of cells that reside in the upper right portion known as your Sinoatrial node or SA node for short. The cells within the SA node (pacemaker of the heart) contain electrolytes both inside and outside the cells. Some of the most common electrolytes within the body, as mentioned previously, are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and chloride. Sodium and calcium generally reside outside the SA nodes cells and potassium lies within. These specialized cells allow much more sodium to enter the cell than allow for potassium to leave it. The result is a continually growing positive charge. Once that charge reaches a certain point, calcium channels open up in the cell membrane and allow for calcium to enter as well. This makes the interior of the cell extremely positive, known as an action potential. Once that potential reaches a certain point, it has enough “power” to discharge down the nerves of the heart. Ah the wonders of chemistry in action!"

    Source link:

    Now I've fooled around with easy homemade ice tray batteries and such which usually consist of a single electrolyte poured into each receptacle of the tray and connected together with two differing metals such as copper and zinc plated screws. But what of trying to make a battery with two or more electrolytes for each cell such as our heart cells use? Has it been done or tested already? More than likely it has been done or tested but if so I am unaware of it so any links would be appreciated. At the moment I'm wondering about what sort of material could be used in order to keep the inside and outside electrolytes from passing and yet still allow the center of the cell to build up a decent positive charge. As usual there may be nothing to my thought process but once again, I'm the curious albeit low informed newbie in relation to electronics. :(
  2. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    Not sure how many biochemists or physiologists we have around here. I have a biochem degree, but it's been a lifetime. I remember that one of the questions on my final exam required us to design a biochemical battery.

    One thing I do recall is that pumping ions around requires cellular energy. In fact I'd say that is a defining feature of life - to burn energy to accomplish things in your self interest. To increase the entropy of the universe while decreasing your own. Anyway, the cell burns ATP to accomplish the active transport of ions. Glucose is metabolized to recycle ADP back to more energetic ATP. Cells can also allow ions to flow "downhill" ( from a higher concentration on one side of the membrane to a lower concentration on the opposite side) without burning energy, by opening a pore such as a calcium channel.

    Overall the human body is about 25% efficient at converting chemical energy into work. So for instance to pedal a bike at 100W requires you to burn about 400W internally.
    Rolland B. Heiss and cmartinez like this.
  3. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    yes, there were dual electrolyte batteries, the "GroveCell" or "Gravity Battery" used zink sulphate and copper sulphate for an electrolyte, seperated by the specific gravity of the solutions. there would be no reason for putting an electrolyte on the outside of a battery.
    Rolland B. Heiss likes this.
  4. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010