Introduction to Lithium Ion Battery

Bhushan MapariBhushan Mapari wrote 05/20/2020 at 12:38 • 6 min read • Like

A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery (abbreviated as LIB) is a type of rechargeable battery. It is a lightweight, high-power battery used in computers and mobile phone. You might have seen the batteries inside nokia cell phones’ had mentioned li-ion on them. These are lithium ion batteries. Li-ion batteries come in several shapes, although a flat rectangle is most common. 

Nokia BL5C battery
Fig. 1. Nokia BL5C battery

Following figure 2 shows a cylindrical SAMSUNG INR18650-25R 2500mAh Li-Ion Battery. Generally, these battery packs are differentiated with battery capacity (mAh) values. You can view various battery packs here.

  SAMSUNG INR18650-25R 2500mAh Li-Ion Battery with Battery Pack
Fig. 2. Cylindrical Li-Ion Batteries with Battery Pack

And, today’s smartphones also has this lithium ion batteries in them. so, what’s so special about these batteries ? To understand this, let’s go deeper inside to see how it works?

Working of Lithium Ion Battery

  1. A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is made up of 1 or more more power-generating compartments called cells. Each cell has essentially three components: positive electrode, negative electrode, and electrolyte.
  2. A positive electrode connects to the battery’s positive or + terminal. A negative electrode connects to the negative or − terminal. There is a chemical called an electrolyte placed in between them.
  3. The positive electrode is typically made from a chemical compound called Lithium-Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) or Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). The negative electrode is generally made from Carbon (graphite). The electrolyte varies from one type of battery to another. The flow of electrons is from anode to cathode. 
  4. The electrolyte carries positively charged lithium ions from the anode to the cathode. The movement of the lithium ions creates free electrons in the anode. These free electrons produce charges at the positive current collector. An electrical current then starts flowing from the current collector through a device being powered to the negative current collector. The device being powered may be a cell phone, computer, etc. The electrolyte separator blocks the flow of electrons inside the battery.
    Fig. 3. Charging state
  5. While the battery is discharging and providing an electric current, the anode releases lithium ions to the cathode. These lithium ions generate a flow of electrons from one side to the other. When plugging in the device, the opposite reaction happens, the cathode releases lithium ions and anode receives them.
    Fig. 3. Discharge State
  6. In this way, the Lithium-ion battery works. It uses lithium ions as a key component of its electrochemistry. The lithium ions are small enough to be able to move through a micro-permeable separator between the anode and cathode.

To understand this working phenomenon of lithium ion battery through animation, here’s a video for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Li-ion batteries

1. Advantages

2. Disadvantages

Applications of of li-ion batteries

Lithium batteries have a long list of real-world applications. From life-saving medical equipment to luxury yachts, lithium batteries have wide range of applications.

I hope this article is helpful to you.


Working of Lithium-ion Battery - by Priyanka Dixit