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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nickel and Lithium based battery technology

I suppose I will conclude my battery series by talking about Nickel based batteries and finally talking about what got all of this started in the first place-- Lithium ion based batteries. As far as nickel is concerned I know you all have heard of Ni-Cad, or nickel cadmium batteries before. The other type of nickel based with which I am familiar is nickel metal hydride.

I am sure you all more than likely have a few of the Ni-Cad batteries in your home, whether or not you are aware of them. See, Ni-Cad batteries were first developed by Waldemar Jungner of Sweden in 1899. Now it goes without saying they have gone under several revisions since that time. The first manufacturing facility set up for Ni-Cad batteries in Sweden in 1906 by Junger himself. Of importance to note that Thomas Edison adapted this technology himself when he introduced the nickel iron based battery in the United States.

The first domestic production facility began in the United States in 1946. The twentieth century can be credited with sintered-plate Ni-Cad batteries, as they became rather popular about mid way through the 20th century. See, production of such batteries was made possible, like everything else was, because the country had come up with advanced manufacturing techniques throughout the war effort. The technique that made all of this possible was the introduction of extremely high pressure, so that the nickel did not have to be heated as high as it was before this breakthrough was reached.

Ni-Cad batteries are at a disadvantage in the way of energy density as far as nickel metal hydride batteries and lithium ion batteries are concerned. But to their credit, they can now be produced as cheaply as alkalines are now.

Nickel metal hydride batteries are of much recent discovery than any of the batteries I have talked about thus far. The first consumer grade nickel metal hydride batteries were first produced in 1989, but it was the work of over two decades of research. Battelle-Geneva Research Center started research on such a battery after its invention in 1967. I will spare you much of the history of nickel metal hydride batteries; but I should tell you that they have a higher energy density and have a lower environmental impact than Ni-Cads do.

Lithium ion based batteries are even newer yet than all the types I have talked about thus far. You see, they began being developed in the 1970's. Now I am going to spare you talking about the construction of such batteries as well as spare you from talking about the chemistry of such bateries. If anyone would like for me to go into depth abt either of these issues, please leave me a reply in the comments section asking for me to do so and I will be happy to do so.

Now the reason Lithium based batteries have been given much more attention in recent years is the possibility of them being used for rechargeable batteries for use in the automotive industries. In fact it seems as if every industrialized nation on planet earth has strived to make advances in just such a battery. But I can say without a doubt Lithium based batteries offer the best energy density of all the rechargeable batteries available today. What will the future bring-- who knows, but for now Lithium looks as if it is the way to go.

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