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Lithium-ion Batteries – How do they work?

The Lithium-ion battery is the power source for modern electric vehicles. These days, everyone has heard of lithium-ion batteries. But, what makes them so special? First of all, each battery is made up of many smaller batteries called, cells. Let’s take a closer look at one to see how it works. The electrical current reaches the cells via conductive metal surfaces. In this case, aluminum foil on one side and copper foil on the other. Just as in every other battery, there is a positive and negative electrode called the cathode and the anode.

The cathode or positive electrode, is made of a very pure mixed metal oxide containing lithium. The more uniform its chemical composition and crystal structure, the better the performance, and the longer the battery life is. As you would expect, the anode or negative electrode, is located on the other side. Its made of graphite, a natural form of carbon with a layered structure.

The battery is built with a transport medium, the electrolyte, so that the lithium-ions carrying the battery’s charge can flow freely. This electrolyte must be extremely pure and as free of water as possible, in order to ensure efficient charging and discharging of the battery. To prevent a short circuit, there is an insulating layer placed between the two electrodes, the separator. To the tiny lithium-ions, the separator is actually permeable. The experts call this property, micro-porosity.

Let’s take a look at what happens when a battery is charged. The positively charged lithium-ions pass from the cathode through the separator into the layered graphite structure of the anode where they are stored. Now, the battery is charged. When the battery discharges, that is when energy is removed from the cell that can be used as electrical energy outside the battery. The lithium-ions travel via the electrolyte from the anode, through the separator back to the cathode. The electric motor converts this electrical energy into mechanical energy, making the car go. The total amount of energy available in the battery, the maximum speed of making this energy available but also, how long the batteries last, is closely related to the quality of the materials used.

To sum it all up, higher quality, pure materials, along with customized formulations lead to improved battery performance and longer battery life. Continuous research improves the performance of the batteries and at the same time, help to reduce the cost per kilowatt hour. Making them more affordable and widely available in automotive drive trains. The key for reconciling individual mobility with the global need to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

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We are the leading lithium ion battery suppliers with over two decades of experience with lithium ion cells and countless number of battery pack designs enable us to have the expertise to plan, design and produce a high quality custom pack for our clients.

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Soft packs, hard plastic, optimal size, voltage, capacity, and operating temperature are just the beginning of customizing your rechargeable polymer Lithium battery storage solution.

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To inquire further about our Battery Management Systems & Chargers, please use our contact form, or call our Technical Sales at +1-512-675-3100.

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