The Batteries have experienced exponential growth over the last thirty years. Proving to be a cornerstone for the existence of some of the innovative and radical technological innovations. These innovations are making a very huge impact on our lifestyle daily without us even knowing!
Let us take some time out to answer some of the basics about these battery systems.
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How did it all begin?
In the late 17th century, the experiments on electricity usage and storage started gaining momentum. Alessandro Volta, the Italian physicist broke the ice with his Voltaic Pile. The pile was made of up of zinc and copper plates with brine-dampened pieces of leather or pasteboard placed in between each plate. Pile resembled a stack of coins and could control the flow of current in better ways.
This development was later used to develop power packs. Lithium-ion power packs were pioneered at Oxford University in the 1970s by chemist John Goodenough and his colleagues Koichi Mizushima, Phil Wiseman, and Phil Jones. Their research was published in 1980 and turned into a commercial technology by Sony, who produced the first lithium-ion batteries in the early 1990s.
What is it made of?
Batteries store and releases energy by moving electrons from one end of the battery to the other. Then we can use the energy from those moving electrons to do work. These two battery ends are known as electrodes. One is called the anode and the other is called the cathode. Generally, the anode is made from carbon and the cathode from a chemical compound known as a metal oxide. The electrodes are separated by a gap in which sits the electrolyte and a separator. An electrolyte acts as the transport medium and needs to be very pure. It is generally a lithium salt in an organic solvent. A separator is placed between the electrodes to prevent a short circuit. It is a semi-permeable membrane that allows the ions to pass, this property is known as microporosity.
How does it work?
When the battery is connected to a device, the positively charged lithium ions get attracted and move towards the cathode. Once it is bombarded with these ions, the cathode becomes more positively charged than the anode, and this attracts negatively charged electrons. As the electrons start moving toward the cathode, we force them to go through our device and use the energy of the electrons flowing toward the cathode to generate power.
When the battery is connected to a charger, the lithium ions move in the opposite direction as before. As they move from the cathode to the anode, the battery is restored for another use.
How to make battery efficient?
- Dimension Reduction– Small size improves the transportation of ions. The mechanical stability also increases with the relief of stresses. Decreasing the size in nanometers can drastically improve the battery performance. The increase in size gives more places for lithium to make contact. The recharging also becomes faster and recharge time decreases.
- Composite Formation- The composites are rigid and exhibit high electrical conductivity. They are stable in organic solvents for prolonged periods. The uncompensated resistance of electrochemical cells where the composites act as working electrodes is significantly larger than that expected on the basis of solution resistance alone.
- Doping and Functionalization- doping refers to the addition of foreign particles in the pure crystal of an element. It helps to improve the ion transport by speeding it up. The chemical and thermal stability are also aided by doping.
- Encapsulation and Coating- It plays an important role in the protection of the electrolyte. It is also helpful in the stabilization of surface reactions. Stabilization is done by providing conductive media.
What is wrong?
The life of the batteries is very short due to less energy density. The sensitivity to temperature is also a major challenge. The performance of the battery is highly affected by temperature. There have been several cases of batteries catching fire. One reason can be overcharging, but with the recent developments in the current interrupt device( CID) these cases have been reduced. The CID act as a circuit breaker when the voltage reaches maximum or if the battery gets too hot. The battery can also burst into flames if the separator gets damaged.
Why Battery Management?
Good battery life and improved reliability of the battery can be ensure by using a Battery Management System(BMS) with the battery. It monitors
- State of charge– the fuel gauge of the battery.
- Total useful capacity– the amount of power that can be stored in the battery.
- Power capability– the amount of power that can be delivered at any instant of time.
All these factors are not exact in values but are estimated by battery usage. Various factors that contribute to battery degradation are battery chemistry, fabrication, operating conditions, and usage history.
I hope the post gives you an idea about the Batteries. You can check also out more blogs on Opinion, technical, and Formula One. Also, Let me know what you think about it in the comments.
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