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Attention! These four components of a lithium-ion battery are indispensable!

by:dcfpower     2021-03-12

Lithium-ion batteries are mainly composed of four main components: cathode, anode, electrolyte and protective plate. Every component of a lithium battery pack is essential because it cannot work properly when one of the components is missing.

The four components of lithium-ion batteries ▶The cathode determines the capacity and voltage of the lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries generate electricity through the chemical reaction of lithium. This is why lithium is inserted into the battery and the space for lithium is called the 'cathode'. However, since lithium is unstable in elemental form, a combination of lithium and oxygen, lithium oxide is used for the cathode. The material that intervenes in the electrode reaction of the actual battery like lithium oxide is called 'active material'. In other words, in the cathode of a lithium ion battery, lithium oxide is used as an active material. If you look closely at the cathode, you will find a thin aluminum foil used to fix the frame of the cathode coating, using a compound composed of active materials, conductive additives and binders. The active material contains lithium ions, and conductive additives are added to increase conductivity; the adhesive acts as a bonding agent and helps the active material and conductive additives to be well fixed on the aluminum substrate. The cathode plays an important role in determining the characteristics of the battery, because the capacity and voltage of the battery are determined by the type of active material used for the cathode. The higher the lithium content, the greater the capacity; the greater the potential difference between the cathode and the anode, the higher the voltage. The potential difference of anodes is small, depending on their type, but for cathodes, the potential difference is usually relatively high. Therefore, the cathode plays an important role in determining the battery voltage.

▶The anode sends electrons through wires

Like the cathode, the anode substrate is also coated with an active material. The active material of the anode functions to allow current to flow through the external circuit while allowing reversible absorption/emission of lithium ions released from the cathode. When the battery is charging, lithium ions are stored in the anode instead of the cathode. At this time, when the wire connects the cathode to the anode (discharged state), lithium ions naturally flow back to the cathode through the electrolyte, and electrons (e-) separated from the lithium ions generate electricity along the wire. For the use of anode graphite with a stable structure, and the anode substrate is coated with active materials, conductive additives and binders. Due to the best qualities of graphite, such as structural stability, low electrochemical reactivity, under the conditions of storing large amounts of lithium ions and price, this material is considered suitable for anodes.

▶The electrolyte only allows ions to move.

When explaining about the cathode and anode, it is mentioned that lithium ions pass through the electrolyte and electrons pass through the wires. This is the key to using electricity in batteries. If ions flow through the electrolyte, not only will we not be able to use electricity, but we will also endanger safety. Electrolyte is an important component. It is used as a medium capable of moving lithium ions only between the cathode and anode. For the electrolyte, materials with high ion conductivity are mainly used, which makes it easy for lithium ions to move back and forth. The electrolyte is composed of salt, solvent and additives. Dissolved salt is the channel through which lithium ions move, and the solvent is an organic liquid used to dissolve the salt, and a small amount of additives are added for specific purposes. The electrolyte produced in this way only allows ions to move to the electrode and does not allow electrons to pass through. In addition, the moving speed of lithium ions depends on the type of electrolyte. Therefore, only electrolytes that meet stringent conditions can be used.

▶Protection board, absolute barrier between cathode and anode

Although the cathode and anode determine the basic performance of the battery, the electrolyte and protection board determine the safety of the battery. The separator serves as a physical barrier to keep the cathode and anode separate. It can prevent the direct flow of electrons, and can only let ions pass through the internal micropores. Therefore, it must meet all physical and electrochemical conditions.

So far, we have studied the four main components that determine the performance of lithium-ion batteries. At present, the industry has been strengthening the research and development of new materials to improve battery performance, while continuing to work hard to improve the performance of existing materials and core technologies. Through the innovation of high-capacity/high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries, it is believed that this will enrich the lives of people all over the world.

Related information: Detailed explanation of the charging algorithm for lithium-ion batteries! About Li-ion batteries have advantages and disadvantages! About new battery charging solutions suitable for lithium-ion batteries
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