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Lithium-ion Battery or Lithium Polymer Battery, Which is Better?

Lithium-ion Battery or Lithium Polymer Battery, Which is Better?

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Lithium-ion batteries start to manufacture in 1912. But, they were not famous until these batteries were adopted by the renowned company - Sony in 1991. Li-ion batteries feature high energy density and are less costly as compared to lithium polymer batteries. In addition to that, they don't have to be activated or triggered for the first time and feature a low self-discharge rate. 
 
The history of a lithium polymer battery (LiPo) dates back to the 1970s. The first design of the battery incorporated dry solid polymer electrolyte kindred to a plastic film. Thus, this type of battery can accomplish an extremely thin design while keeping a relatively decent battery life. Moreover, the lithium polymer battery is very light and features a higher level of safety. But, lithium polymer batteries are more costly to manufacture and feature a lower energy density as compared to the lithium-ion batteries. 
 
If you own any type of gizmo - laptop, cell phone, MP3 player, e-book reader, or drill, then you are probably using Li-ion batteries since they are quite common these days. But, have you ever wondered what about lithium-polymer batteries? Are these batteries are really better than Li-ion batteries? So, continue reading the post to find out the truth - which is better?
 

Which Battery is Better Lithium-ion or Lithium Polymer?

Both Li-ion and LiPo batteries have their own advantages and disadvantages. Usually, the pros of a Li-ion battery include high power density, remarkably lower cost, and lack of what is called the memory effect (when a battery becomes harder for charging with time). When it comes to limitations, Li-ion battery is inherently unstable and experience aging and is potentially dangerous. When the barrier separating the negative and positive electrode is ever breaches, the chemical reaction can result in fire. While quality lithium-ion batteries are safe to use for sure, you should always be cautious when purchasing no-name brands. 

On the other side, LiPo batteries are usually flexible and robust, particularly when it comes to the share and size of their build. In addition to that, they are lightweight and feature an extremely low profile and lower possibility of experiencing leaking electrolyte. However, lithium polymer batteries are not perfect either - they are considerably more expensive to manufacture and they have neither the same power density nor lifespan as a Li-ion. 

What is the Difference between Lithium-ion and Lithium Polymer Battery?

The Lithium polymer batteries were designed as an upgrade for Lithium-ion batteries. However, that doesn't imply that both these batteries are the same. There are some significant differences between these types which are explained below:

  • Raw Materials:

The raw material used in a Lithium-ion battery consists of a liquid or colloid electrolyte. Opposite to this, a lithium polymer battery uses a polymer electrolyte, which is in a solid or colloidal state and an organic electrolyte. 

  • Shaping Method:

Till now, you have noticed that the lithium-ion batteries were only designed in particular shapes, mainly cylindrical. The lithium battery is an aluminum shell battery. The electrolyte is liquid and contained, and the outer packaging is made by an aluminum shell. All these things make it harder for the battery to change shapes. 

For Lithium polymer batteries, they can easily be bent or deformed as the electrolyte damage risks are close to none. The polymer batteries have a small thickness, lightweight, and high power, which give a huge advantage over Lithium batteries. The polymer batteries can be arbitrarily aread and shaped according to the requirement. 

  • Manufacturing Process:

As the polymer can be thinned easily, the manufacturing of Lithium polymer batteries becomes much more manageable. They are more expandable due to their ability to be customized and tailored to customer needs. The same can't be said for the Lithium-ion batteries. They are rigid and still have some safety concerns that need to be followed during manufacture. 

  • Capacity:

Compared to Lithium-ion batteries, Polymer batteries have a large capacity with a 10% to 15% higher rate. Due to the features like better heat dissipation, it is possible to create a battery of a capacity of more than 10Ah. Even the batteries of the capacity of 30 Ah don't require special care or maintenance. 

  • Safety:

There have been countless cases of Lithium-ion battery explosion. These batteries tend to lose stability when they are exposed to extreme temperature conditions. They have fire hazards, damaging and overloading issues, voltage limits, and even transport restrictions. 

However, there is an aluminum-plastic film on the case of lithium polymer batteries that eliminates battery leakage issues. Hence, the batteries won't explode, making it safer for use. Still, other safety concerns remain the same with both types. 

  • Battery Voltage:

To achieve high voltage in lithium polymer batteries, multiple layers are used. And the cells are connected with each other in series to form an ideal voltage circuit. It can provide an initial voltage of 3.6 to 7.2V. 

  • Charging Life:

Lithium-ion batteries have a life cycle ranging from 400 to 1200 cycles. But a lithium polymer battery only has a cycle of 300 to 400 cycles. 

As you can see from the differences, the Lithium polymer batteries are essentially the same as that of Lithium-ion. But one major flaw for manufacturing Lithium polymer batteries is that they are costly. Even though polymer batteries are robust and flexible, they have a shorter lifespan, which tends to lower their demand. That's why Lithium-ion batteries are considered a better option, regardless of aging issues and risks. 

What are the Applications of Lithium-ion and Lithium Polymer Battery?

Lithium-ion batteries are available out there on the market in all sizes and shapes. And that makes them be the ideal choice for power requirements regardless of the size of the system. Moreover, Li-ion batteries provide power solutions across the spectrum - from portable energy to energy storage solutions. And some of the common applications of Li-ion batteries include -

  • Portable power packs. 

  • Uninterrupted power supply (UPS)

  • Electric vehicles

  • Marine vehicles 

  • Personal mobility - bikes, wheelchairs, scooters, etc. 

  • Solar energy storage

On the other side, the most common applications of lithium polymer batteries include -

  • Agriculture - animal food device, fertilizer, irrigation, etc

  • Automotive equipment - car alarm, car key, key lights, oil injection, etc. 

  • Communication - mobile phones, Bluetooth headset, modems, satellite phones, handy terminal, cordless phones, etc. 

  • Medical - automatic pipette, body fat monitors, blood sugar indicators, etc. 

  • Industrial - clock modules, portable lighting work lights, etc. 

  • Consumer - CD players, digital camera, electronic database, alarm system, etc. 

  • Metering - electricity meters, GPS terminal, sensors, etc. 

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