Types Of Lithium-ion

Lithium ions are named according to their active substances, and their names can be written or abbreviated using their chemical symbols.

Abbreviations are commonly used because a pile of letters and numbers is challenging to pronounce, remember, and write.

For example, one of the most common lithium ions, lithium cobalt oxide, is the chemical symbol LICoo2 and the abbreviation LCO.

For simplicity, lithium-ion batteries can also use short lithium-cobalt batteries.

Six of the most common lithium ions are given, which are average estimates.

Lithium Cobalt Oxide(LiCoO2) — LCO

Li-cobalt is the most popular choice for mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras.

The cell consists of a cobalt oxide cathode and graphite carbon anode.

Lithium ions move from anode to cathode during discharge, but vice versa when charged.

Of course, lithium cobalt also has many shortcomings, such as short life, low stability, and limited load capacity.

Figure 1 illustrates this structure.

Figure 1: Lithium cobalt structure, the cathode has a layered structure.

Reasons: The disadvantages of lithium cobalt are short life, low stability, and limited load capacity.

The lithium-cobalt anode uses graphite carbon, limiting the cycle life by altering the solid electrolyte interface, thickening the anode, and rapidly charging and discharging at low temperatures.

The hexagonal spider diagram (Figure 2) illustrates the performance of lithium cobalt, including runtime energy, specific power, safety, performance at high and low temperatures, reflected cycle life, and cost.

Other features not shown on the web are toxicity, fast charging ability, self-discharge, and shelf life.

Figure 2: AN ordinary lithium cobalt battery.

Lithium cobalt batteries have the advantages of high specific energy, but their disadvantages are low performance, low power, low safety, and low life.

Source: codex

Summary Table

Lithium Cobalt Oxide: Licoo2 cathode (~ 60% CO) with Cobalt or lithium cobalt as graphite anode since 1991
Voltages Nominal 3.60 volts, operating range 3.0-4.2 volts/battery
Specific energy (capacity) 150–200Wh/kg. Specialty cells provide up to 240Wh/kg.
Charge (C-rate) 0.7-1C, charge for 3 hours to 4.20V (most batteries).

Using a charging current above 1c will reduce battery life.

Discharge (C-rate) 1c; 2.50V cut-off.Discharging a battery above 1c also reduces battery life.
Cycle life 500-1000, depending on discharge depth, load, temperature
Thermal runaway 150 ° C (302 ° F). Thermal runaway resulting from full load
Applications Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras
2019 Update:
The specific energy is high but finite.

Cobalt can be used as a power cell, but it’s expensive.

Earlier versions no longer work with today’s batteries.

Market share has stabilized.


Table 3: Characteristics of Lithium Cobalt Oxide.

Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) — LMO

Manganese spinel-containing lithium ions were first published in the Bulletin of Materials Research in 1983.

When Moli Energy commercialized lithium-ion batteries in 1996, lithium manganese oxide was used as the cathode material.

The three-dimensional spinel structure reduces internal resistance and improves current handling because of improved ion flow.

Spinel also has the advantage of high thermal stability and safety, but the cycle life is not high.

FIG. 4 illustrates the three-dimensional crystalline skeleton on the cathode of a lithium manganese battery.

The initial formation of this diamond shape connected into a lattice is called the spinel structure.

Figure 4: Lithium manganese structure.

Spinel has more moderate specific energy and low electrical resistance than cobalt.

Source: cadexfigure 5 shows the spider web of a typical lithium manganese battery.

The new design improves battery power, safety, and life.

Pure lithium-manganese batteries are so scarce that lithium ion batteries can only use them for particular purposes.

Figure 5: Pure lithium manganese battery; although the overall performance is not very good, the new design of lithium manganese battery improvement rate specific power, safety, and life.

Source: Boston Consulting Group Most lithium-manganese batteries are mixed with lithium nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide (NMC) to improve specific energy and increase service life.

The LMO (NMC) is the most popular choice for electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and BMW I3.

The LMO portion of the battery accounts for about 30%, while the NMC portion provides a long drive range.

lithium-ion batteries can choose all three active metals to improve specific energy (capacity), specific power (load capacity), or life.

As the battery industry needs higher capacity and longer service life, consumer batteries cannot meet this requirement.

Summary Table

Lithium Manganese Oxide: Graphite anode form since 1996: LMO or Li-manganese (spinel structure)
Voltages 3.70V (3.80V) nominal; Operating range is 3.0-4.2V/battery
Specific energy (capacity) 100–150Wh/kg
Charge (C-rate) 0.7-1C, maximum 3C, maximum battery power 4.20V
Discharge (C-rate) 1c; Some cells may have a 10C, 30C pulse (5s), and 2.50V cutoff
Cycle life 300–700 (related to the depth of discharge, temperature)
Thermal runaway A typical thermal runaway of 250 ° C (482 ° F) is due to the high charge
Applications Power tools, medical equipment, electric power systems
2019 Update:
High power, increased safety but small capacity;

Mixing with NMC is often chosen for improved performance.


Table 6: Characteristics of Lithium Manganese Oxide

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) — NMC

The cathode combination of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) is one of the most successful lithium ion systems.

These systems can be customized as energy or power batteries similar to lithium-manganese batteries.

For example, under moderate load conditions, the CAPACITY of the NMC in the 18650 battery is about 2,800 mA, which can be transmitted from 4A to 5A;

The NMC has an optimized capacity of only about 2,000 ma in the same battery but can provide a continuous discharge current of 20a.

Silicon-based anodes have a low load capacity and a short cycle life but have 4000 mA.

When silicon is added to graphite, the disadvantage is that the anode charge and discharge increase and shrink, which leads to mechanical instability of the battery.

Lithium ion batteries can charge up the battery to 4.4V/battery due to new electrolytes and additives. The increase in battery capacity is also due to the rise in voltage.

Figure 7 shows the characteristics of an NMC.

Figure 7: NMC. NMC, excellent overall performance, excellent unit energy.

This battery is preferred in electric cars because it has the lowest self-heating rate.

Source: Boston Consulting Group.

The system has achieved good results, so it is developing in the direction of the NMC hybrid lithium ion battery.

The three active materials, nickel, manganese, and cobalt, are blended to fit many automotive cycle batteries and energy storage systems.

The diversity of the Nmc family is growing all the time.

Summary Table

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide: LiNiMnCoO2. cathode, graphite anode
Short form: NMC (NCM, CMN, CNM, MNC, MCN similar with different metal combinations) Since 2008
Voltages 3.60V, 3.70V nominal value, operating range 3.0-4.2V/battery or higher
Specific energy (capacity) 150–220Wh/kg
Charge (C-rate) 0.7-1C, charge for 3 hours to 4.20V, some up to 4.30V.

The current exceeds 1c when charging to shorten battery life.

Discharge (C-rate) 1C; 2C possible on some cells; 2.50V cut-off
Cycle life 1000–2000 (related to the depth of discharge, temperature)
Thermal runaway A high charge causes a typical thermal runaway at 210 ° C (410 ° F)
Cost ~$420 per kWh[1]
Applications Electric bikes, medical equipment, electric cars
Comments 2019 Update: As hybrid cells provide high capacity and high power.

The most popular chemicals;

Market share is increasing;

Dominant system;

Major cathode chemicals.


Table 8: Characteristics of Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC)

Lithium Iron Phosphate(LiFePO4) — LFP

In 1996, the University of Texas (and other researchers) discovered phosphate as a cathode material for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

The advantages of lithium phosphate are good electrochemical performance and low resistance.

The advantages of lead-acid batteries are good thermal stability, safety, tolerance, high current rating, and long cycle life.

Four batteries in series produce the same voltage as six 2-volt lead-acid batteries in series, 12.80 volts.

A single charge is used to maintain charge levels and the availability of lead-acid batteries.

Figure 9: Typical lithium phosphate battery.

Lithium phosphate has good safety and long life, but its energy is moderate, and self-discharge is high.

Source: codex

Summary Table

Lithium Iron Phosphate: Since 1996, LifePO4 cathode, anodized graphite type: LFP or lithium phosphate
Voltages 3.20, 3.30V nominal; typical operating range 2.5–3.65V/cell
Specific energy (capacity) 90–120Wh/kg
Charge (C-rate) 1C typical tasks to 3.65V; 3h charge time typical
Discharge (C-rate) In some cells 1c, 25C;

40A pulse (2s);

2.50V cutoff (lower value of damage due to 2V)

Cycle life 2000 and higher (related to the depth of discharge, temperature)
Thermal runaway 270 ° C (518 ° F) is also safe when fully charged
Cost ~$580 per kWh[1]
Applications The need for portable fixed equipment requires it to have high load current and durability characteristics
2019 Update:
The voltage discharge curve is flat, but the capacity is low.

One of the safest ionospheres.

For specific markets.

They are mainly used for energy storage and moderate growth.

Table 10: Characteristics of Lithium Iron Phosphate

Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) — NCA

Lithium nickel cobalt alumina batteries, or NCA, have been used for particular purposes since 1999.

It is similar to NMC in that it has the advantages of higher specific energy, moderate specific power, and longer life.

The disadvantage is that it is not very safe and costly.

Figure 11 summarizes six key features.

Nca is lithium nickel oxide added to aluminum to develop the chemistry further. It becomes more stable.

Figure 11: the NCAA.

Nca is chosen for its high energy and power density and long life.

But the disadvantage is high cost and low safety performance.

Source: codex

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