The trend of battery-powered laptops and other portable equipment becoming smaller and more power hungry led to the creation of lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries. The electrodes used in these batteries are made of lightweight lithium and carbon, making them compact and lightweight. They offer a far better performance when compared to the more traditional rechargeable batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries often used in laptops are different from primary lithium batteries used in cameras. Li-ion technology was introduced in 1990 and has over the years emerged as a superior source of power for a variety of applications. With the demand and growth of the electronic consumer market, Li-ion batteries have witnessed unprecedented popularity, and are used in laptops, iPhones, iPods, PDAs and other electronic equipment.
It is energy density that determines the size and weight of batteries. The idea is to minimize both the weight and size of the portable equipment for today’s market, and Li-ion batteries give designers this ability, with their significantly better volumetric energy density. These batteries are not only used in consumer electronics, but also in aerospace, defense and automotive applications were high energy density is used.
Since Li-ion cells have a much higher operating voltage than others, fewer cells are needed to build a pack, thus reducing the battery assembly costs and increasing reliability.
There is no one reason for their huge acceptance in the rapidly growing market. The numerous benefits include higher energy density, better cycle life, higher voltage per cell, great low temperature performance, simple battery management, slower self discharge when not in use – about 5% in a month, easy to charge as well as being environmental friendly too.
One of the main benefits of lithium-ion batteries is the fact that they have no “memory effect,” which means they do not have to be completely discharged before they are recharged, like so many other batteries. The batteries also stay new for a long time and can take hundreds of charge and discharge cycles.
Li-ion batteries are also easy to use in all sorts of devices because they can be created in different shapes and sizes.
Having talked about all the positive features about Li-ion batteries, one cannot help but wonder if anything can be so perfect. Well, the only flaw that has been found is their ability to burst into flames – very rarely, perhaps a couple of battery packs in a million.
Li-ion batteries are the most energetic and powerful batteries around, and one cannot go wrong using them, and the lack of memory effect makes them all the more attractive to consumers.