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How Does a Lithium-Ion Battery Work?

Today, millions of people across the world use lithium-ion batteries on a regular basis. These batteries are so popular that they are used in thousands of different types of electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, and electric cars. Since these batteries offer a lot of advantages, they are quite popular among the masses. They are lightweight, offer a higher energy density, and can be recharged thousands of times. In this article, we are going to get a deeper insight into how these units work. Read on to find out more.

The Basics

Basically, this type of battery consists of a pair of current collectors, electrolyte, separator, cathode and anode. The Lithium is stored in the anode and cathode. The electrolyte is the carrier of the positively charged lithium ions to the cathode and anode via the separator.

What happens is that the movement of lithium ions is responsible for generating free electrons. These electrons are found in the anode that generates power at the positive current collector. Afterwards, the current flows through a device that is receiving the power. It is it can be a computer or cellphone for instance. It is known as the negative current collector. Inside the battery, the flow of electrons is blocked by the separator blocks.

Charge/Discharge

During the process of discharging, the battery transmits current to the attached device. The anode sends lithium ions to the other unit called cathode. In this process, the electrons are flown from one side to the other. On the other hand, when the device is plugged in, the opposite happens. In other words, the cathode releases lithium ions. The anode receives them.

This is how the process continues during the charge/discharge cycle. After this discharge/charge cycle, the life of the battery continues to drop. However, high-end batteries retain 80% of their capacity even after 1000 cycles.

Power Density vs Energy Density

There are a lot of concepts linked with lithium ion batteries, but the most common of these are known as power density and energy density. Basically, the energy density is usually measured in watt hours per kilogram.

On the other hand, power density is calculated based on watts per kilogram as well as the amount of power generated by the battery in terms of the mass. In other words, it is like a draining pool. The size of the pole refers to the energy density, while power density is like draining the pool. So, this concept is quite easy to understand. If a battery comes with a higher capacity, it can provide an electric charge for a longer period of time.

Long story short, if you are trying to understand how lithium ion batteries work, you are on the right page. The description of the functionality of lithium-ion batteries given in this article will help you get a deeper insight into how these units work. Hopefully, now you have a much better understanding of how this technology works.