Why do lithium batteries not last forever?

The lithium-ion battery works by moving ions between the positive and negative electrodes. In theory, this mechanism should work forever, but cycling, high temperature and aging decrease performance over time. Lithium-ion batteries, in essence, continuously degrade from the moment they are first used. Lithium-ion batteries power most wireless devices.

Over time, batteries lose their ability to hold a charge. Most of these batteries have a lifespan of about 7,000 charge cycles before running out. Beatrice Browning, a doctoral researcher at the Faraday Institution, explains why lithium-ion batteries degrade over time and describes what is being done to extend their useful life. The development of the lithium-ion battery has helped enable the modern electronic revolution, making everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles and even grid-scale energy storage possible.

In their latest work, Abraham and his team delved even deeper into the phenomenon of decreased capacity and discovered that interference between the two electrodes can cause an increase in the retention of lithium ions in the SEI. The explanation for this comes from the chemical composition of a LiB, since there are a series of chemical mechanisms by which these batteries degrade. Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are rechargeable batteries that are used in a number of portable electronic devices, including phones, laptops, and most importantly, electric vehicles (EVs). It's good to read about battery improvement techniques and the author shared great information about the degradation of lithium batteries.

Abraham is the co-author of an open access article recently published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, entitled “Dissolution of transition metals, ion migration, electrocatalytic reduction and capacity loss in complete lithium-ion cells”, which addresses the question of why batteries don't age well. But while experimenting, the Thais discovered something that could allow lithium-ion batteries to last forever. According to Abraham, unwanted side reactions often occur when ions move between electrodes, causing batteries to lose capacity over time. The negative electrode of a typical lithium-ion battery cell contains graphite, which can be easily damaged by the electrolytic solvent.

During charging and discharging, these lithium ions move through an electrolyte between two electrodes, known as the cathode and anode. Smartphone and laptop owners will know that they require more frequent charging as their batteries age and degrade, but knowing exactly why this is the case requires a basic understanding of how LIBs work. The cathode is generally composed of a layered lithium-rich material in which lithium ions (lithium ions) are found between the layers. In order for the battery to store and release energy, lithium ions move back and forth between the positive and negative electrodes through an electrolyte.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery refers to the process of trying to introduce current into a battery that is fully charged, which can cause it to overheat and potentially catch fire.