Maybe you haven’t realized how frequently we use lithium batteries in our daily lives! Today, we’d like to talk about lithium batteries, including their history, advantages and disadvantages, their applications, and how to use them correctly in our everyday lives. So, this is a comprehensive guide to lithium batteries.
- 1 History Of Lithium Battery
- 2 What Are Lithium Batteries Made Of?
- 3 How Does Lithium Battery Work?
- 4 Types Of Lithium Battery
- 5 Advantages Of Lithium Battery
- 6 Disadvantage Of Lithium Battery
- 7 What Application Lithium Battery Can Be Used For?
- 8 How Long Does the Lithium Battery Last?
- 9 The Ways to Charge Lithium Battery
- 10 How Should We Storge Lithium Battery Properly?
- 11 Comparison With Other Battery
- 12 Conclusion
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
- 13.1 Do Lithium Batteries Need Ventilation?
- 13.2 What Makes Lithium Batteries Explode?
- 13.3 Are AA Batteries Lithium?
- 13.4 What Is The Best Lithium Battery On The Market？
- 13.5 What To Do With Old Lithium Batteries？
- 13.6 What Does Amp Hours Mean On A Lithium Battery？
- 13.7 What Will Replace Lithium Batteries In The Future?
History Of Lithium Battery
The history of the development of lithium batteries can be traced back to the Leyden jar in 1745, which was invented by a Dutch scientist as a capacitor device that could store and release electrical charge. This device was very simple but it opened a new era in human use of electricity. Over the next two centuries, human research on electricity progressed from the Leyden jar to the Daniell cell, lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and then to lithium metal batteries, marking the beginning of the lithium battery era, which started in 1960. It wasn’t until 1991 that the first lithium-ion battery was unveiled. With the continuous advancement of battery technology, lithium-ion batteries have been increasingly applied in our daily lives, bringing about many conveniences.
What Are Lithium Batteries Made Of?
Lithium batteries are mainly composed of four parts, namely the cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator. Their compositions are roughly as follows:
Cathode: typically lithium iron phosphate, lithium titanate, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganese oxide, and other lithium oxides.
Anode: usually graphite, with silicon added to increase the battery’s capacity. In addition to carbon, materials such as lithium metal and lithium alloys can also be used for the anode.
Electrolyte: typically a liquid electrolyte composed of lithium salts. There are also solid electrolytes, such as ceramics.
Separator: used to separate the cathode and anode to ensure the safety of the circuit. Electrons cannot pass through, but ions can.
How Does Lithium Battery Work?
So, how do lithium batteries work and supply power to devices? With your curiosity, let’s take a look at its working principle together.
Lithium batteries are rechargeable batteries, with the positive electrode (cathode) having a higher potential than the negative electrode (anode), forming a certain concentration difference. This concentration difference causes lithium ions to move between the positive and negative electrodes, completing the battery’s charging and discharging process.
During battery charging, the cathode continuously generates new lithium ions, which move to the anode and become embedded in the micro-pores of the carbon layer of the anode. The more lithium ions are embedded, the higher the capacity the battery gains during charging.
The lithium ions embedded in the anode’s carbon layer move through the membrane to the cathode. At the same time, electrons, unable to pass through the membrane, move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode through an external circuit, creating an electric current. This process is known as discharging.
Types Of Lithium Battery
Based on their appearance and the positive electrode materials used, lithium batteries can be divided into different types.
Divided By The Shape:
Cylindrical Lithium Battery
This type of battery is cylindrical, for example, the 18650 battery, and is often used in portable devices.
Square Lithium Battery
The outer casing is square and can be used for mobile phone batteries, and so on.
Button Lithium Battery
Similar in shape to the buttons on your clothes, this type of battery is commonly used in watches, calculators, flashlights, and so on.
Divided By Packaging Materials:
Steel Shell Lithium Battery
In the early stage, this material was widely used as the outer packaging for lithium batteries. It is heavy and has slightly lower safety.
Aluminum Shell Lithium Battery
The aluminum shell is lighter than the steel shell, with high safety, but the mold opening cost is also high.
Pouch Lithium Battery
Mostly made of aluminum plastic film, it features light weight, low mold opening cost, and high safety.
Divided By The Positive Electrode Materials:
Uses lithium iron phosphate(lifepo4) as the positive electrode material for lithium batteries.
Lithium Cobalt Oxide Battery
Uses lithium cobalt oxide as the positive electrode material for lithium batteries.
Lithium Manganese Oxide Battery
Uses lithium manganese oxide as the positive electrode material for lithium batteries.
Lithium Titanium Oxide Battery
Its positive electrode material is lithium titanium oxide.
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide Battery
The positive electrode material includes lithium (Li), nickel (Ni), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), and oxygen (O).
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide Battery
The positive electrode material is lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide, which contains lithium (Li), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), and aluminum oxide (Al2O3).
Divided By Application Areas:
These lithium batteries not only have high energy density, but also have small volume, light weight, and can supply power for a long time.
These lithium batteries have instant explosive power, which can provide sufficient power for your electric vehicles.
These lithium batteries can store energy generated by solar energy, wind energy, etc., and convert it into the electrical energy people need.
If you want to understand in detail the classification of lithium batteries, including the advantages, disadvantages, and applications of each type, the article ‘16 Types of Lithium Batteries‘ provides a more detailed introduction.
Advantages Of Lithium Battery
High Energy Density
Lithium batteries have a high energy density. This means that, for the same volume and weight, lithium batteries can store more energy than other types of batteries, such as lead-acid batteries.
Long Cycle Life
In comparison to lead-acid batteries, which usually have a cycle life of only 300 to 500 times, lithium batteries can typically endure several thousand or even tens of thousands of cycles. For example, the 12V lithium batteries from Delong can reach up to 6500 cycles.
Low Self-Discharge Rate
If you use devices infrequently, it is recommended to use lithium batteries because they have a low self-discharge rate. Even after being idle for a period of time, they are still able to maintain a high capacity.
No Memory Effect
You can recharge lithium batteries at any time as they do not have a memory effect.
Lightweight and Compact
As mentioned above, lithium batteries have a high energy density, so they weigh less and have a smaller volume than other batteries with the same energy density.
In comparison to lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and nickel-metal hydride batteries that contain heavy metals, lithium batteries do not generate waste that causes environmental pollution.
Disadvantage Of Lithium Battery
Poor Safety Performance
The internal of lithium batteries is easily affected by external conditions. For example, overcharging and over-discharging can lead to the battery catching fire or exploding.
Poor Low-temperature Performance
Although lithium batteries can function normally within a certain temperature range, excessively high or low temperatures still affect their normal performance.
High Manufacture Cost
The manufacturing cost of lithium batteries has not yet fully decreased. Batteries that use scarce resources as positive electrode materials are especially expensive. This is also reflected in the fields of energy storage and electric vehicles.
Dependence on Rare Resources
Some materials for lithium batteries require scarce metal resources. Extensive mining can affect the environment, leading to relatively tight supply.
What Application Lithium Battery Can Be Used For?
In the above content, we know that lithium batteries have many classifications, from external appearance, internal structure, to materials! This also allows them to be applied in various industrial equipment, including but not limited to the following:
Such as your mobile phone, tablet, video camera, electronic watch, and other electronic products all use lithium batteries as a mobile power source. They not only have high energy density and can store a certain amount of power for the devices, but they also have high charging efficiency and can be fully charged in a short time. Most importantly, they have good safety performance, so you can use them with peace of mind.
Lithium batteries have high energy density and small size, making them suitable for use in portable lighting devices such as mining headlamps and flashlights for night outings.
Rechargeable lithium batteries are used in popular electric vehicles, electric bicycles, and electric scooters to provide high-power output for these power-hungry devices.
Equipment in this field requires highly reliable energy sources. Lithium batteries, with their numerous advantages, meet this demand and have become the power system for various spacecraft.
How Long Does the Lithium Battery Last?
How long can the lithium battery you purchased supply power to your device? In other words, what is its cycle of life? This question needs to be determined from specific situations because the battery’s service life is affected by many factors.
However, the most important thing is to look at the type of battery, that is, the raw materials and manufacturing processes used. Generally, the cycle life of lithium batteries is over 1000 times, which is generally longer than the 300 to 500 cycles of lead-acid batteries. Secondly, the battery’s capacity, daily usage environment, number of charge cycles, and charging methods will have a certain impact on its life. Furthermore, over time, the battery’s capacity and performance will decline to a certain extent.
If you want to make the most of your lithium battery and fully realize its value, it is recommended that you follow its design parameters, use and maintain it correctly, and avoid overcharging and overdischarging.
The Ways to Charge Lithium Battery
Just like we charge our phones, lithium batteries can be charged in two ways: regular charging and fast charging. The differences between the two are as follows:
Slow current, requires longer waiting time to fully charge the battery.
Faster current, significantly shortens the time needed to fully charge the battery.
However, it’s important to note that in both cases, it’s best to use the original manufacturer’s charger to avoid any compatibility issues. Additionally, you should monitor the battery charging process, and once the battery is fully charged, promptly disconnect the power source to avoid overcharging. It’s also important to maintain ventilation in the surrounding area at all times. Developing good charging habits can help extend the life of the battery.
How Should We Storge Lithium Battery Properly?
Hello, please kindly note the following points during the lithium battery storage process, which not only ensures the safety of the battery but also contributes to the battery’s performance normally during your subsequent use.
Try to keep lithium batteries in an environment that is far from a heat source and has a suitable temperature. Because excessive heat can pose safety hazards to the battery. Both excessively high or low temperatures can affect its performance and lifespan.
The place where lithium batteries are stored should be kept as dry as possible and avoid exposure to rain. A humid environment can easily corrode the battery and cause short circuits.
Provide sufficient space around the placed lithium batteries to prevent damage from compression.
Regular Charging and Discharging:
When lithium batteries are idle for a long time, you need to recharge them every three or six months.
The instructions for use provided by most manufacturers will include precautions, such as specific temperature or battery storage capacity. It is recommended that you review and follow these instructions.
Comparison With Other Battery
Lithium Battery VS. Lithium Ion Battery
Lithium batteries refer to batteries with lithium metal or lithium oxide as the positive electrode material. The concept is very broad and includes two major categories: lithium metal batteries and lithium-ion batteries.
As one classification of lithium batteries, lithium-ion batteries use the movement of lithium ions to complete the charging and discharging process, and they are rechargeable batteries.
Lithium Battery VS. Lifepo4 Battery
Lithium iron phosphate batteries, with lithium iron phosphate as the cathode material, are one of the categories of lithium-ion batteries, also belonging to lithium batteries. They have a more stable safety performance and higher energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Battery VS. Lead Acid Battery
The positive electrode material of lithium batteries is lithium metal or lithium oxide, and graphite is used as the negative electrode material.
Lead-acid batteries use lead metal and its oxides as the negative electrode.
The energy density, lifespan, memory effect, and safety performance of lithium batteries are all superior to lead-acid batteries, and they are gradually replacing lead-acid batteries in the market.
Lithium Battery VS. 18650 Battery
Lithium batteries come in various forms and specifications. The 18650 battery is just a small category like lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Battery VS. Regular Battery
Lithium batteries and regular batteries are quite different. From chemical materials to energy density, cycle life, self-discharge rate, and charging speed, there are many aspects to discuss, but it all depends on specific circumstances for a detailed analysis.
Through the above content, I believe you have gained a certain understanding of lithium batteries. Next, we will provide more in-depth updates on each part. Please continue to stay tuned.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Lithium Batteries Need Ventilation?
Yes, lithium batteries are quite sensitive to temperature and can pose safety risks under prolonged high-temperature conditions.
What Makes Lithium Batteries Explode?
Lithium batteries may explode in the event of a short circuit, overcharging or discharging, impact, or puncture.
Are AA Batteries Lithium?
AA batteries are not lithium batteries, they are alkaline batteries. Here is an article comparing 18650 batteries with AA batteries.
What Is The Best Lithium Battery On The Market？
The lithium iron phosphate battery in lithium batteries is currently widely used, and its energy density and lifespan are at a good level. In addition, lithium cobalt oxide batteries are also good. The comparison depends on specific application scenarios.
What To Do With Old Lithium Batteries？
You can take the old lithium batteries to a specialized battery recycling organization, where they will properly handle the old batteries to reduce environmental pollution.
What Does Amp Hours Mean On A Lithium Battery？
Amp is the abbreviation of Ampere, representing the magnitude of electric current. In lithium batteries, Amp will affect the charging and discharging speed as well as the performance of the battery. Hour stands for the unit of time. Amp Hours is abbreviated as Ah, representing the capacity of the battery.
What Will Replace Lithium Batteries In The Future?
Although lithium batteries have a history of more than 200 years, with the advancement of technology, solid-state batteries, and sodium-ion batteries, which are still in the research and development stage, may surpass them and replace lithium batteries.