Lithium-ion batteries are incredibly popular these days. You can find them on laptops, PDAs, cell phones and iPods.
They’re so common because, pound for pound, they’re some of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available.
Lithium-ion batteries have also been in the news lately. That’s because these batteries have the ability to burst into flames occasionally.
It’s not very common — just two or three battery packs per million have a problem — but when it happens, it’s extreme.
In some situations, the failure rate can rise, and when that happens you end up with a worldwide battery.
Recall that can cost manufacturers millions of dollars.
Lithium is the lightest of all metals, has the greatest electrochemical potential and provides the largest specific energy per weight.
Rechargeable batteries with lithium metal on the anode (negative electrodes) could provide extraordinarily high energy densities.
However, cycling produced unwanted dendrites on the anode that could penetrate the separator and cause an electrical short.
The cell temperature would rise quickly and approaches the melting point of lithium, causing thermal runaway, also known as “venting with flame.”
The inherent instability of lithium metal, especially during charging, shifted research to a non-metallic solution using lithium ions.
Although lower in specific energy than lithium-metal, Li-ion is safe, provided cell manufacturers.
Battery packers follow safety measures in keeping voltage and currents to secure levels.
In 1991, Sony commercialized the first Li-ion battery, and today this chemistry.
Become the most promising and fastest-growing on the market.
Meanwhile, research continues to develop a safe metallic lithium battery in the hope to make it safe.
Types of Lithium-ion Batteries
Similar to the lead- and nickel-based architecture, lithium-ion uses a cathode (positive electrode).
An anode (negative electrode) and electrolyte as a conductor.
The cathode is a metal oxide and the anode consists of porous carbon.
During discharge, the ions flow from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte.
Separator; charge reverses the direction and the ions flow from the cathode to the anode.