The feeling of anxiety, the scrambled search for a charger but then… the dreaded lightning symbol fills the screen. This is a feeling that we all feel much too often and they all come down to one main component! Batteries. While the world of batteries is vast and large, there would be far too much information to cover in just one blog post, so the main focus will be on the batteries that power our favourite handheld device.
Old to New: What’s the difference?
When we think about our cell phone batteries today, we commonly think of lithium batteries, but why exactly do we use them?
The first phone battery came under the form of a nickel-cadmium battery, revolutionizing the start of the battery movement. There were some batteries before them; however, they were quickly replaced as they only lasted 30 minutes and required more than 10 hours to charge fully! While still a massive improvement from before they had many setbacks, including being bulky, heavy and limited charging capacities.
Now, fast-forward to today! Lithium-ion batteries power almost every smartphone out there! A very basic explanation of the lithium battery is as follows:
The basic model of a battery contains an anode, cathode and an electrolyte. These each play an important role in the chemical reactions within it. The electrolyte provides electrons, the anode discharges these electrons and the cathode receives them! The lithium-ion battery is much more efficient, powerful and better for the environment than the preceding nickel-cadmium battery and each of these factors contributed to this switch.
The Dangers of Evolution
Smartphone batteries have grown in technological features and quality in the past few years, becoming more efficient and lasting longer. But, like all of science, when we push for new discoveries there are bound to be some roadblocks.
When we try to squeeze too much out of a battery, or try to make it too powerful in a small package, the safety risks only grow. When considering exploding batteries in phones, we can attribute that to trying to fit something that has too high of an energy density in a small package. This causes excessive heating which the battery cannot withstand and can result in an explosion.
Whether you’re in the market for a new phone or wondering what goes on behind your phone, keep this in mind! While maybe its life is a bit too short for your liking, its always better safe than sorry!