Alessandro Volta – Electrostatic Pillar and Modern Battery
Alessandro Volta was a renowned Italian physicist and chemist known for working in the field of electricity. He invented the Volta’s electrostatic pillar, which is the predecessor of a modern battery.
Alessandro Volta was born on February 18, 1745, in the city of Como, Italy. His parents were Philipo Volta and Maria Magdalena. As a child he was not particularly intelligent and could not talk until his fourth year. When he was seven, he did not just reach his peers, but surpassed them in many things. Alessandro attended the Jesuit school. His parents’ wish was to become a lawyer. However, Alessandra was more interested in electrical phenomena, which he was so enthusiastic about writing a song about them.
He became a physics professor in his hometown in 1774. A year later he improved the electrophoresis, a device that produces static electricity. Between 1776 and 1778, Volta studied chemical gases. At that time, he was influenced by the work of Benjamin Franklin, and after reading one of his work, he devoted himself to research and discovered gas methane. He became a professor at the University of Pavia in 1779, and in 1791 he became an active member of the Royal Society.
At that time, Luigi Galvani found that the frogs’ feet were moving in contact with the metal. Galvani discovered that the cause was electricity, but he did not know where it came from. Volta concluded that electricity did not come from an animal, but from metals that came into contact with it.
He married Teressa Pelegrini, daughter of the Count Ludovic Pelegrini in 1794, and had three sons with her: Zanino, Flaminio and Liugi.
In 1800, Volta invented a electrostatic pillar – the first electric battery. This battery was basically an electrochemical battery, consisting of alternating copper and zinc plates, and as an electrolyte it uses an aqueous solution of sulfuric acid and kitchen salt. There was a cloth between the plates, which separated them. Through the pillar was constantly passing through the current and therefore the Volt’s electrostatic pillar was the most useful source of electricity.
Napoleon Bonaparta highly appreciated Alessandro Walt and in 1810, he proclaimed it to the Count after Alessandro showed him how his battery works.
Alessandro Volta retired in 1819 and returned to his family estate near the city of Como. He died there in 1827 at the age of eighty.
In Walt’s honor, fellow scientists have given his name to a unit of electromotive force.