Certain aspects of zinc electrode reaction and behavior are investigated in view of their application to batteries. The properties of the zinc electrode in a battery system are discussed, emphasizing porous structure. Shape change is emphasized as the most important factor leading to limited battery cycle life. It is shown that two existing models of shape change based on electroosmosis and current distribution are unable to consistently describe observed phenomena. The first stages of electrocrystallization are studied and the surface reactions between the silver substrate and the deposited zinc layer are investigated. The reaction mechanism of zinc and amalgamated zinc in an alkaline electrolyte is addressed, and the batter system is studied to obtain information on cycling behavior and on the shape change phenomenon. The effect on cycle behavior of diferent amalgamation techniques of the zinc electrode and several additives is addressed. Impedance measurements on zinc electrodes are considered, and battery behavior is correlated with changes in the zinc electrode during cycling. 193 references.