What are The Different Types of Batteries?

battery difference

by Alex Gustman

Updated: August 13, 2021

Batteries or even rechargeable batteries are used in various devices that require an independent or self-contained power supply. In particular, due to the fact that they ensure recharging and reuse and ease of operation. This article will let you know about the main types of batteries, their scope of application as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

What is a battery

The battery is a rechargeable type of battery. Such power sources are made of a positive and negative electrode, a cathode and an anode, where ions move during charging and discharging, as well as an electrolyte as a conductor. The capabilities of the battery are affected by the chemical composition and materials. And the service life is determined by the intensity and time of its use. Its correct operation helps to save the battery and extend its service life: the use of a high-quality charger, compliance with operating temperatures, etc. Different types of batteries have different properties and therefore have different applications.

Lithium Batteries

The charge carrier is a lithium-ion. The anode is usually graphite, and the cathode is lithium oxide with various metal compounds, thanks to which various physical and operational properties of the battery are achieved. A liquid solution or a soft polymer material is used as an electrolyte. Therefore, lithium batteries are divided into two types: lithium-ion and lithium-polymer.

lithium battery

Lithium-type batteries are devoid of memory effect, so they do not need strict requirements of the charging mode. Partial recharging and operation in a certain range is allowed.

An important condition for the operation of lithium-type batteries is the availability of a control board with a power controller. The protective board disables the return of energy to prevent a deep discharge because in this state the battery undergoes degradation and becomes unusable. The power controller also turns off the power supply when filling, since overcharging also shortens the service life and can lead to an explosion of the power source.

Lithium-ion Batteries Li-Ion

The availability of a liquid electrolyte ensures the free movement of lithium ions between the electrodes. At the same time, the battery is assembled in a rigid case, for tight fixation of the electrodes. A strong case is also necessary for safety reasons. In the air, a violent chemical reaction occurs with the release of heat, up to ignition or explosion. Therefore, depressurization of the case is unacceptable.

lithium ion battery

Li-Po Lithium Polymer Batteries

The soft polymer material allows producing batteries of different shapes and thicknesses, which allows expanding the scope of application. Also, when the case is depressurized, there is less chance of ignition and explosion of the battery. And for Li-Po batteries, strict requirements for the strength of the case are not set. Therefore, the outer shell is a thin layer of foil.

lithium polymer battery

Scope of Application

Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries are used in cell phones, smartphones, tablets, quadrocopters, wireless headphones, smart watches and bracelets. It is also used in electric vehicles and other devices where high energy density is required with compact dimensions. Moreover, Li-Ion batteries are usually used only in devices with hot-swappable support. And Li-Po batteries are used in non-disassembled type devices.

Advantages

  • The highest specific capacity among other power sources is 250 Wh/kg.
  • Fast charging support.
  • There is no memory effect.
  • The possibility of obtaining batteries of different shapes and sizes of Li-Po type.

Disadvantages

  • The Li-Ion type batteries can explode in the event of their case depressurization.
  • Reduced service life during deep discharge, overcharging and operation beyond the optimal temperature of -10 +30°C.
  • Long-term storage is not allowed in a completely discharged and charged state. The recommended battery capacity is 40-60 %.
  • A protection board is required for the battery to work.
  • The battery is subject to aging and loses capacity annually: 3-5 % under ideal storage conditions.

Nickel-Plated Batteries

The charge carrier is a nickel ion. The most popular compounds in batteries are nickel and cadmium Ni-Cd and nickel-metal hydride Ni-MH ones. The latter type is characterized by an increased capacity of 20 % at the same size. Metal hydride batteries are also less toxic.

An important feature of Ni-Cd batteries is the availability of a so-called memory effect, while Ni-MH ones are practically devoid of this phenomenon. The battery memorizes the remaining capacity, which after recharging leads to the loss of the actual capacity. Therefore, it is important to fully discharge batteries of this type before charging or use chargers with a forced discharge button. This button discharges the power source, and only then charges it.

Scope of Application

Both types of rechargeable batteries are used for household needs to power control panels, as well as other devices as an alternative to non-rechargeable batteries. Due to the toxic compound with cadmium, the use of Ni-Cd batteries is limited.

Advantages of Ni-Cd Batteries

  • Reliability and durability
  • Performance at temperatures below -20°C
  • Resistance to vibration

Disadvantages of Ni-Cd Batteries

  • High toxicity due to the compound with cadmium.
  • Memory Effect Availability
  • High self-discharge is up to 10 % per day.
  • After long-term storage, the performance is restored after 5 full charging cycles.
  • A charger with a discharge button is required.

Advantages of Ni-MH Batteries

  • Non-toxic ones.
  • The capacity is 20% higher with the same case size.
  • There is practically no memory effect.
  • Performance is ensured at low temperatures.

Disadvantages of Ni-MH Batteries

  • The cost is higher in comparison with Ni-Cd ones.
  • Heating is ensured during charging.
  • Capacity reduces after 200-300 charging cycles.
  • Deep discharge reduces the service life.

Lead-acid Batteries

In the batteries of this type, a chemical reaction occurs between lead and sulfuric acid. When discharging, the lead plates are coated with lead sulfite oxide, and when charging, lead sulfite is removed from the plates. At the same time, the plates are not completely cleaned, which leads to a shorter service life with each cycle.

Scope of Application

Due to the low specific capacity of 30–60 Wh/kg, lead-acid batteries are designed only for fixed or stationary use: powering cars, in uninterruptible power supplies, for saving energy in solar and wind power plants, etc.

Main Advantages

  • Affordable price
  • Long service life
  • The depressurization of the case does not lead to flammability.
  • The ability to restore the battery for reuse, which will cost 30 % of the production of a new battery.

Main Disadvantages

  • Low storage capacity per kilogram
  • Some types of batteries last 1-2 years
  • The depressurization of the case is harmful to humans and the environment due to the content of lead and sulfuric acid vapors.

FAQ

What are the different types of car batteries?

In cars with internal combustion engines, acid-alkali batteries are used. Electric cars use lithium-ion batteries.

What are the different types of battery sizes for?

The larger the battery, the greater the stored power. The size and weight of the battery are larger at the same time.

How many types of batteries are there?

Several dozen types. They are mostly single-type batteries with different combinations of materials. The most popular batteries are lithium and acid-alkali batteries.

What are primary batteries?

The main types of batteries are lithium batteries, namely lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries. And then there are the acid-alkali ones.

What are EV batteries?

Batteries for electric cars based on lithium.

How to choose rechargeable batteries?

The appropriate type of battery is used for each device. The type-size and the electrochemical system must be considered.

What are the main types of batteries?

Lithium-based and acid-alkali batteries.

What are AA and AAA in battery?

Battery size. AA batteries are often listed as 14500 and AAA batteries as 10440. The first 2 digits are battery width in millimeters and the last 3 digits are battery length in millimeters.

Conclusion

The article describes in detail the most relevant types of batteries. We have shown what the difference is between the different types of batteries and where they are mostly used. Smartphones and other mobile electronics use only lithium-type elements, due to their compact dimensions and high stored power. Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries are more focused on replacing conventional non-rechargeable batteries. And lead-acid batteries, due to their large size and weight, as well as low stored energy per kilogram, are used exclusively for stationary use.

What questions do you have? Leave messages in the comments below this article.

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About the author 

Alex Gustman


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