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voltaic pile[vōl′tā·ik ′pīl]
a galvanic battery consisting of several Volta cells connected in series. It was the first practical chemical current source. The electrodes in the units of the pile are disks, with spacers made of a spongy material (cloth or paper) impregnated with electrolyte. The potential difference developed at the output leads of a voltaic pile is equal to the sum of the electromotive forces from all the series-connected cells and may be 100 V or higher. Thus, for example, in 1802 the Russian academician V. V. Petrov constructed a voltaic pile consisting of 2,100 cells in order to obtain an electric arc. The creation of the voltaic pile marked the beginning of developmental work on other chemical current sources that would be more advanced and more convenient to use.