When we hear Lithium Batteries, we may think of electric vehicles, manufacturers, power walls etc. However, they are so integrated in our day-to-day lives that we sometimes forget how important they have come to be for our lifestyles in the 21st century.
Lithium-Ion Battery (Li-ion batteries) were first introduced to the marketplace in 1991 but they had a bad reputation for being unstable causing fires and explosions. Thankfully with the swift advancements of technology the root issue was found and resolved. The charging process that was creating electric shortages that lead to thermal runaways to potentially make the battery explode was rectified and now we see Lithium-Ion batteries better and safer than ever. They have become so much more stable that it has gained popularity due to low weight, lower cost of manufacturing and increased power density which results in longer battery life.
What products contain Lithium Ion batteries?
With longer battery life being available to the consumer market, it was not long until the world-wide adoption to lithium-ion batteries in consumer goods took place. From cell phones and laptops to electric vehicles and power storage, now they can be found in nearly everyone's palm. Furthermore, something I find fascinating is its application in the medical field. Hospital Beds, Electric Wheelchairs, portable oxygen concentrators and CPAP battery packs to name a few, these are all examples of newer medical items that have integrated and adapted the lithium-ion battery technology to improve patient experience. Given the timeline since the finding of lithium-ion batteries, this is truly a huge milestone for the medical field and patient experience.
How do they work?
The nominal voltage rating for all lithium cells is 3.6V. This means that you must combine multiple cells to achieve a higher Voltage for different applications. Generally each cell will drain to about 3.2V fully discharged and fully charged can go up to 4.2V. The user must be very careful not to go below the 3.2V threshold for discharge or above the 4.2V threshold for fully charged or else you can damage the battery permanently requiring expensive repairs or a replacement.
How to measure the health of a battery?
The health of a battery can be determined by measuring the Internal Resistance (IR) of a battery. On a datasheet there should be a typical value of IR, so the closer the value is to the datasheet the better health your battery is.
Charging & Storing Lithium-Ion Batteries
When charging or storing Lithium batteries there are four main criteries to consider: ventilation, moisture, sunlight and temperature. Batteries should be stored in a well ventilated & dry area that maintains a relatively steady temperature, ideally 15 degrees Celsius but most room temperatures will suffice. Furthermore, sunlight and humidity have a direct effect on the lifespan of the battery. With that being said in the hot summer months be sure not to leave the batteries outside in the sun for prolonged periods of time or exposed to overly hot areas as that can permanently damage the battery. During the colder winter days when the batteries will not be used be sure to keep the batteries inside the house and charge weekly to prevent damage to the batteries.
CMS Service Team