The Battery Battle
Today, the majority of mobile devices rely on either a lithium ion or lithium polymer rechargeable battery to keep on running, including smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks. But…what’s the difference between the two? Let’s begin the lithium ion vs lithium polymer battle, starting with their time of development!
Lithium batteries in general were introduced in the 1970s by M. S. Whittingham while working for Exxon. At first, Whittingham used titanium sulfide and lithium metal as the necessary electrodes. Soon after, it was found that the use of metallic lithium questioned safety concerns. Fortunately, the eventual use of lithium ions for the electrodes solved this problem. Come the 1980s, Rachid Yazami discovered the graphite electrode that is most common in today’s commercial lithium ion batteries. Finally in 1991, Asahi Kasei and Sony released the first commercial lithium ion battery. Lithium polymer batteries, which were evolved from lithium ion batteries, began to appear within consumer electronics near 1995.
Lithium polymer batteries consist of the same chemistry as lithium ion. The major difference is that the lithium polymer cells use a porous separator that turns into a gel substance when exposed to electrolyte. Additionally, the lithium salt electrolyte is not held in an organic solvent but in a solid polymer composite like polyethylene oxide or polyacrylonitrile.
The lithium polymer battery uses a stacking designed architecture. The anode and cathode are developed as a plate stacked upon each other. The polymer batteries use pouch cells with a flexible polymer laminate casing, while the lithium ion batteries use cylindrical cells with a rigid fixed metal casing.
Lithium Polymer – As a result of cell differences, the architecture of lithium polymer batteries is quite a bit lighter. These batteries can also be produced much smaller, as they do not require an active protection circuit that prevents overheating like lithium ion batteries do. Lithium polymer batteries have safety improvements and longer age, too.
Lithium Ion – The major advantage lithium ion has over lithium polymer is a larger energy capacity. It is a trade off of size and weight for more energy power. Furthermore, lithium ion batteries can be produced at a cheaper price.
Depending on a device’s needs, both battery types are suitable for commercial use. The more powerful devices will opt for lithium ion, and the more portable devices will opt for lithium polymer. As technology improves, lithium ion batteries will likely become smaller and lithium polymer batteries will likely become more powerful. Or…a new power generating battery may come into play!
Read through the differences of lithium ion vs lithium polymer? Then check out the latest best battery life smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks below!
Also, browse through some battery life related tips for your device!