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Lithium Ion Batteries

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Everybody is familiar today with lithium batteries and lithium ion accumulators, but only a few people are aware of the small but decisive difference: whereas lithium batteries are a disposable product that supplies small electronic appliances such as quartz clocks, miniature radios or cameras with power, rechargeable lithium ion accumulator batteries have made a decisive contribution to the mobile revolution. Rechargeability does not play a decisive role in this respect. Lithium ion accumulator batteries have a considerably higher capacity and power density and a longer service life and are less vulnerable to temperature fluctuations. Only these three factors together have made the rapid development of mobile electronic systems such as laptops, digital cameras or mobile phones possible. Figures support this. The most recent annual production figures for these mobile power sources were 1.8 thousand million units. The growth rate lies at 10% per annum. A critical factor with regard to lithium ion accumulator batteries is the risk of overcharging, as this can destroy the accumulators. A charging and discharging monitoring system is therefore integrated in the respective appliances.

The anode material of lithium ion batteries consists of different lithium metal oxides (e.g. LiCoO2 or LiNiO2). Graphite is primarily used as a cathode, reversibly interposing lithium in its grid (intercalation). Carbon nanotubes can also be utilised as an additive. The electrolytes used consist of lithium salts such as LiPF6 in aprotic solvents (mainly organic carbonate compounds) or polymers such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF).

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