Understanding Lithium-Ion Batteries

Where did Lithium-Ion batteries start?

The lithium-ion battery’s invention has revolutionized how we store and use energy in our everyday lives. These batteries power everything from smartphones and laptops to electric vehicles and even the International Space Station. But where did this technology come from, and what makes it unique?

In the 1970s, John Goodenough developed the initial Lithium-ion batteries. Goodenough discovered that lithium cobalt oxide chemistry could be utilized to create a rechargeable battery that was more efficient than previous battery technologies.

Lithium cobalt oxide is a type of cathode material used in lithium-ion batteries. It comprises lithium ions (positively charged particles) and cobalt oxide (a compound of cobalt and oxygen). When a lithium-ion battery is charged, lithium ions move from the anode (negative electrode) to the cathode (positive electrode) through an electrolyte (a substance that conducts electricity). The lithium ions then react with the cobalt oxide in the cathode, causing it to release energy in the form of electrons.

One of the primary advantages of lithium cobalt oxide is its ability to store a lot of energy in a small space. This is why it is commonly used in small, portable electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. However it has its drawbacks, lithium cobalt oxide is relatively expensive and can be prone to overheating if not designed and maintained correctly.

What can make batteries unsafe?

 

Let’s take a closer look at the factors that can make lithium-ion batteries unsafe.

One of the primary causes of battery explosions is high temperature. When exposed to heat, a battery can trigger internal chemical reactions that produce further heat and gas. This can lead to a chain reaction, known as thermal runaway, resulting in a fire or explosion. Keeping your devices away from heat sources, such as direct sunlight or hot surfaces, is essential.

Another factor that can make lithium-ion batteries unsafe is fast charging. While it may be convenient to charge your phone or laptop quickly, doing so can accelerate the “aging” process of the battery. Over time, this can decrease capacity, making the battery more prone to overheating and explosions. Using a charger designed for your device is best to avoid charging it too frequently.

Lastly, vibration can also contribute to battery failure. Vibration alerts can be beneficial and necessary when you need your phone to be silent so as not to cause distraction or when you are in noisy environments and can’t hear sound alerts. However, every time your phone vibrates, it drains a small amount of battery. When you silence your phone and enable vibration alerts, you also drain battery life that could be better used elsewhere. So, while using your phone’s vibration alerts is sometimes necessary, it is best practice to turn them off when not absolutely needed.

 

How to make my batteries last longer?

Do you want to make your batteries last longer? Here are four practices to avoid to help you get the
most out of your battery life:

Don’t charge your battery until it gets below 20 percent.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is charging their batteries too frequently. It’s important to let your battery drain to at least 20 percent before charging it again. This will help prolong the life of your battery and prevent it from losing capacity over time.

Don’t continue charging after your battery has reached 100 percent.
Another common mistake is leaving their device charging overnight or for extended periods. Once your battery has reached 100 percent, it’s time to unplug it. Overcharging your battery can cause it to overheat, leading to a decrease in capacity and even explosions. 

Don’t let your battery drain to zero.
While it can be unavoidable, at times, to allow your device battery to drain to zero, this can harm your battery life overall. Lithium-ion batteries can be damaged if drained entirely because it puts the battery under more strain. These batteries perform best at about 50 percent when the battery can have an equilibrium between the positive and negative charges. That is why charging your device before it reaches zero percent is always best.

Don’t leave WiFi and Bluetooth on, if you’re not using them.
WiFi and Bluetooth can drain your battery quickly, even when you’re not actively using them. To save battery life, it’s best to turn off these features when you’re not using them. This will help prolong the life of your battery and give you more time between charges.

Good charging habits and minimizing unnecessary usage can go a long way in keeping your
battery healthy and your device functioning properly.

While lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our way of living and working, it is vital to be aware of their potential dangers. By adhering to best practices and taking proper precautions, we can safeguard our devices and ourselves while still reaping the benefits of this remarkable technology.

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