This section provides overview, applications, and principles of lithium batteries. Also, please take a look at the list of 36 lithium battery manufacturers and their company rankings.
A lithium battery is a type of chemical battery that produces electricity through a chemical reaction.
Although the name is similar to that of a lithium-ion battery and easily confused, a lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery based on an intercalation reaction that uses a carbon material capable of storing lithium ions as its negative electrode.
Lithium batteries, on the other hand, use metallic lithium or lithium alloys for the negative electrode and are generally non-rechargeable primary batteries. Manganese dioxide, graphite fluoride, and iron disulfide are used for the positive electrode of lithium batteries. Still, those using manganese dioxide are the most common, and the term lithium battery simply refers to lithium manganese dioxide batteries in general.
Lithium has the most significant tendency to be cationized out of all metals and is the lightest metal. For this reason, lithium batteries are characterized by high voltage, lightweight, and high energy density. They are widely used as internal power sources for clocks and memory backup in various household electrical equipment such as Blu-ray/DVD recorders, digital cameras, game consoles, rice cookers, and communication devices.
Some types also have stable discharge characteristics, long-term reliability, and excellent shelf life at high temperatures, making them widely used as power sources for critical equipment such as various meters and smart meters for water, electricity, gas, fire alarms, security equipment, and medical devices.
Lithium batteries use manganese dioxide, graphite fluoride, iron disulfide, etc., for the positive electrode, lithium metal for the negative electrode, and an organic electrolyte made by dissolving a lithium salt in an organic solvent as the electrolyte.
Lithium metal on the negative electrode is ionized from the point where it contacts the electrolyte and dissolves into the electrolyte as lithium ions, and one electron is generated for each lithium atom that is lithiated. The electrons then move to the conductor, and the lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode via the electrolyte, causing a chemical reaction with the cathode material.
Compared to other batteries, such as alkaline batteries, lithium batteries have the following features
While alkaline batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5 V, manganese dioxide batteries, which are widely used, have a higher nominal voltage of 3 V. Lightweight and high-voltage, they have a high energy density and can be used in smaller devices by reducing the number of batteries from two or more to just one.
The cathode of a lithium battery is a chemically stable material that does not deteriorate easily and can maintain more than 90% of its capacity even after 10 years of storage.
In addition, a comparison of battery life in equipment requiring relatively high current (e.g., photographic equipment) shows that lithium batteries can be expected to last about twice as long as alkaline dry batteries. However, lithium batteries are more expensive than dry batteries, and the frequency of battery replacement decreases, which may be advantageous in terms of the total cost for equipment that requires a large current.
However, when used in devices with low current consumption, such as calculators and TV remote control transmitters, the difference in life expectancy between lithium batteries and dry cell batteries is small, and there is no advantage.
Since the electrolyte of alkaline batteries and other batteries widely used in dry cell batteries is an aqueous solution, the reaction activity decreases in low-temperature environments, and if the electrolyte freezes, the battery will not function as a battery. For this reason, the recommended operating temperature range for alkaline batteries is 5°C to 45°C.
On the other hand, lithium batteries use organic electrolyte, which has a very low freezing point. They are also relatively stable at high temperatures so that power can be extracted over a wide temperature range. The operating temperature range for ordinary products is claimed to be -30 to 70°C, and for heat-resistant types, -40 to 125°C.
Because of these characteristics, lithium batteries are used as power sources for equipment in snowy mountaineering, cameras, and other equipment for photography and video recording.
Generally speaking, lithium batteries are primary batteries that cannot be charged or discharged, but there are also rechargeable lithium batteries that can be charged and discharged. The following is an introduction to each type.
Commercially available primary lithium batteries are classified into three types by shape: cylindrical lithium batteries, coin-shaped lithium batteries, and pin-shaped lithium batteries.
While ordinary lithium batteries are primary batteries that cannot be recharged, there are secondary lithium batteries that can be recharged by using a compound such as vanadium or titanium for the positive electrode and lithium metal or a lithium compound or alloy such as aluminum or titanium for the negative electrode, and they are coin-shaped.
Not only do they have the same excellent characteristics as primary lithium batteries, but they also have excellent charge-discharge cycle characteristics. They are suitable for devices that do not want to or cannot replace lithium batteries midway. Examples of use are solar-powered watches and backup power supplies for wristwatches.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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