Lithium cobalt Oxide battery
Figure 1: Cathode crystalline of lithium cobalt oxide has 'layered' structures. The lithium ions are shown bound to the cobalt oxide. During discharge, the lithium ions move from the cathode to the anode. The flow reverses on charge.
|In 1996, scientists succeeded in using lithium manganese oxide as a cathode material. This substance forms a three-dimensional spinel structure that improves the ion flow between the electrodes. High ion flow lowers the internal resistance and increases loading capability. The resistance stays low with cycling, however, the battery does age and the overall service life is similar to that of cobalt. Spinel has an inherently high thermal stability and needs less safety circuitry than a cobalt system.Low internal cell resistance is the key to high rate capability. This characteristic benefits fast-charging and high-current discharging. A spinel-based lithium-ion in an 18650 cell can be discharged at 20-30A with marginal heat build-up. Short one-second load pulses of twice the specified current are permissible. Some heat build-up cannot be prevented and the cell temperature should not exceed 80°C.|
|Figure 2: Cathode crystalline of
lithium manganese oxide has a
'three-dimensional framework structure'.
This spinel structure, which is usually composed of diamond shapes connected into a lattice, appears after initial formation. This system provides high conductivity but lower energy density.
|The spinel battery also has weaknesses. One of the most significant drawbacks is the lower capacity compared to the cobalt-based system. Spinel provides roughly 1200mAh in an 18650 package, about half that of the cobalt equivalent. In spite of this, spinel still provides an energy density that is about 50% higher than that of a nickel-based equivalent.||Figure 3: Format of 18650 cell.
The dimensionsof this commonly used cell are: 18mm in diameter and 65mm in length.
Types of lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion has not yet reached full maturity and the technology is continually improving. The anode in today's cells is made up of a graphite mixture and the cathode is a combination of lithium and other choice metals. It should be noted that all materials in a battery have a theoretical energy density. With lithium-ion, the anode is well optimized and little improvements can be gained in terms of design changes. The cathode, however, shows promise for further enhancements. Battery research is therefore focusing on the cathode material. Another part that has potential is the electrolyte. The electrolyte serves as a reaction medium between the anode and the cathode.
The battery industry is making incremental capacity gains of 8-10% per year. This trend is expected to continue. This, however, is a far cry from Moore's Law that specifies a doubling of transistors on a chip every 18 to 24 months. Translating this increase to a battery would mean a doubling of capacity every two years. Instead of two years, lithium-ion has doubled its energy capacity in 10 years.
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