Your Guide to Lithium-ion Batteries

Where are Li-ion batteries used?

As a rechargeable battery product lithium-ion batteries are used in an array of gadgets throughout the consumer, commercial and industrial sector. Lithium-ion’s lightweight and high energy density make it the perfect accompaniment for portable devices, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, digital cameras, electronic cigarettes, torches and handheld consoles.

In addition to this, lithium-ion batteries are also used in power tools, particularly cordless tools like sanders, drills and hedge trimmers. It’s not just smaller items that take advantage of this technology, electric and hybrid vehicles are also powered using lithium-ion battery packs.

How does lithium-ion technology work

Lithium-ion batteries come in a variety of chemistries, sizes and weights, each of which can be adapted further to suit the purpose of the application. Li-ion cells can be cylindrical or prismatic depending on the application, and contain sensors to monitor battery temperature.

Lithium-ion products are revered for their safety, and the battery itself contains a voltage converter and regulator circuit to maintain safe levels of current and voltage. A voltage tap is also used to monitor the energy capacity of each individual cell. Deeper inside the battery you’ll find a charge state monitor, which is a small computer that implements the charging process to ensure your device reaches full power quickly.

All of these components are encased in a metal body to ensure the overall unit is fully pressurised. Together with a positive electrode, negative electrode and separator, all of these components work together to form a charge mechanism.

The pros and cons of lithium-ion

There are many advantages and disadvantages when it comes to lithium-ion batteries. The low weight of the battery is one of its main plus points, making it a popular power source for portable devices. In comparison with Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, Li-ion products hold their charge more effectively, making the battery last much longer.

Unlike many battery types, lithium-ion batteries have no memory, making them a low maintenance option. Li-ion batteries do not require full discharges before they can be recharged and are tough enough to handle a number of charge and partial discharge cycles.

On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries are prone to breakdown and incorrect storage can cause them to degrade rapidly. Lithium-ion is particularly sensitive to high temperatures and it is recommended that you store at room temperature to keep the battery in optimum condition.

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