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Cell Polarization

When current is drawn from a cell, the cell voltage falls due to polarization. The higher the current, the greater the voltage drop, as shown in the polarization plot available here. This can be alleviated by using electrodes with large surface area, e.g. in granular or grid form; by using costly catalysts; by using thin separators; or by discharging the battery intermittently, allowing rest periods for the battery to recover.

Note that the maximum power from the battery, which may be important for engine starting or for powering short flight missiles, is obtained at a considerably reduced voltage, indicating a comparatively low efficiency.