Principles and applications of lithium batteries

What are lithium batteries?

Lithium battery is a chemical power source that uses lithium element as the positive or negative electrode material and realizes charge and discharge through the migration of lithium ions in the electrolyte. Lithium batteries have the advantages of high energy density, low self-discharge rate, long cycle life, no memory effect, and environmental friendliness. They are widely used in electric vehicles, mobile communications, portable electronic devices, energy storage systems and other fields.

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Classification of lithium batteries

According to the structure and working mode of lithium batteries, lithium batteries can be divided into two major categories: primary batteries and secondary batteries.

  • Primary battery: A primary battery is a non-rechargeable lithium battery, also known as a primary battery. The electrochemical reaction of the original battery is irreversible. Once discharged, it cannot be recharged. The advantages of primary batteries are stable voltage, large capacity, and long storage life. They are suitable for low-power devices, such as remote controls, flashlights, smoke alarms, etc. The disadvantages of primary batteries are that they are expensive, cannot be reused, and will cause environmental pollution after being discarded. Common primary batteries include lithium manganese batteries, lithium sulfur batteries, lithium oxygen batteries, etc.
  • Secondary battery: A secondary battery is a rechargeable lithium battery, also known as a rechargeable battery or lithium-ion battery. The electrochemical reaction of the secondary battery is reversible, and the charge and discharge cycle can be achieved by applying an external voltage. The advantages of secondary batteries are high energy density, long cycle life, no memory effect, and environmental friendliness. They are suitable for high-power-consuming devices such as electric vehicles, mobile phones, laptops, etc. The disadvantages of secondary batteries are unstable voltage, easy aging, and potential safety hazards. Common secondary batteries include lithium cobalt acid batteries, lithium nickel cobalt manganese acid batteries, lithium iron phosphorus batteries, lithium titanate batteries, etc.
Principles of lithium batteries

The basic principle of lithium batteries is to utilize the migration of lithium ions between the positive and negative electrodes to achieve the conversion of electrical energy. The main components of lithium batteries are positive electrode, negative electrode, separator and electrolyte.

  • Cathode: The cathode is the positive electrode material of lithium batteries, usually a metal oxide or phosphate containing lithium. The function of the positive electrode is to release lithium ions during discharge, provide electrons, and form a current; during charging, it absorbs lithium ions, receives electrons, and restores the charge.
  • Negative electrode: The negative electrode is the negative electrode material of lithium battery. It is usually a metal or carbon material that can insert and extract lithium ions, such as Li, C, Si, Sn, etc. The function of the negative electrode is to embed lithium ions during discharge, release electrons, and form a current; to remove lithium ions during charging, receive electrons, and restore the charge.
  • Separator: The separator is the isolation layer of the lithium battery. It is usually a polymer film with a microporous structure, such as polypropylene, polyethylene, etc. The function of the separator is to isolate the positive and negative electrodes to prevent short circuits; at the same time, it allows lithium ions to pass through to ensure the connectivity of the electrolyte.
  • Electrolyte: The electrolyte is the conductive medium of lithium batteries, usually an organic solution or solid material containing lithium salts, such as LiPF6 lithium hexafluorophosphate, LiClO4 lithium perchlorate, etc. The role of the electrolyte is to provide a carrier for lithium ions and realize the migration of lithium ions between the positive electrode and the negative electrode.
Applications of lithium batteries

Lithium batteries have a wide range of applications, mainly including the following aspects:

  • Electric vehicle: Electric vehicle refers to a vehicle powered by electric energy and driven by an electric motor. It is a clean, efficient and energy-saving means of transportation. The core component of an electric vehicle is the power battery, which directly determines the cruising range, charging time, safety performance and other indicators of the electric vehicle. Lithium battery is currently the most mainstream power battery technology because it has the advantages of high energy density, long cycle life, no memory effect, and environmental friendliness. Currently, most electric vehicles on the market use lithium batteries such as lithium nickel cobalt manganate batteries, lithium iron phosphorus batteries, and lithium titanate batteries.
  • Mobile communication: Mobile communication refers to a communication method that uses radio waves to transmit information. It is an indispensable means of communication in modern society. The main devices for mobile communications include mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, wireless headsets, etc., all of which rely on batteries to provide power. Lithium battery is currently the most suitable battery technology for mobile communication equipment because it has the advantages of small size, light weight, stable voltage, fast charging, and long life.
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