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The Correct Time to Add Water to a Battery – Best Time, Methods, and Changing
The use of technology and electronic devices has increased to a great extent in the average human life. This increased use has given rise to the use of batteries and powering technologies more than ever. Numerous battery technologies are now available that are used according to their own needs and features.
Using batteries with your devices requires a cautious mind if you want your devices to stay fit and perform well. Batteries require different types of care and maintenances. The most common one of which is watering the batteries. It may seem ironic to an average mind that why do we need to water a device producing electrical energy?
The answer to this very common question is that some of the batteries use fluid electrolytes (chemicals) that helps to perform the function of producing power. These fluid levels are important and keeping them in check requires the users to water them regularly, daily, or monthly depending on the battery’s condition.
The two most popular battery construction types that make use of water are flooded batteries (wet) and VRLA batteries (Valve Regulated Lead Acid). Their electrolyte is a mixture of sulphuric acid and water that decreases with use overtime or maybe spilled if the battery is flipped.
Every battery type has its method of refilling the water inside it, therefore, it is very important to identify the battery type before trying to fill their electrodes with water.
The Best Time to Water a lithium-ion battery
The lithium-ion battery is one of the most common and most used forms of battery in the world. It finds its applications in automobiles, industrial power supplies, mobile phones, and remote systems.
A lithium-ion battery that uses a water/saline solution as its charge carrier i.e. the electrolyte is known as an aqueous lithium-ion battery. The saline solution in the battery is responsible for the transfer of lithium ions from one electrode of the battery to another electrode to produce an electric current. Li-ion batteries with aqueous electrolytes are non-flammable and are protected from the explosive nature of lithium-ion batteries.
The best time to water an aqueous lithium-ion battery is after it is completely charged. The water level of the battery should be checked before starting the charging process to get the accurate levels of the electrolyte. Also, after watering the lithium-ion battery the battery should be discharged by connecting it to a load that it can support. This charge to discharge cycle helps the battery to regain its original capacity.
How Do You Add Water to a Lithium-ion Battery
Lithium-ion batteries offer great power-packed outputs in small sizes and are used in various applications all around the world. They make use of salina water-like electrolytes that are almost like water but contain some salts to increase their conductivity. The process of creating a high-performing water lithium-ion battery is still not completed and requires more research and practical testings.
However, scientists have projected one thing that unlike the traditional lead-acid or similar batteries, aqueous lithium-ion batteries would not require frequent refilling of the electrolyte. Their technology is such that, high quantity of a specific lithium salt allows the formation of a protective solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) in the electrolytes and between the electrodes. This formation of SEI prevents the consumption of electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries to a great extent. Scientists refer to this type as the water-in-salt electrolyte (WiSE).
In 2017, scientists were able to develop an “inhomogeneous additive” that was intended to form a coating around the electrode made from graphite. This additive was able to give the aqueous lithium-ion battery a push of 4 volts and was able to function for 70 cycles or more.
The coating around the graphite electrode produced hydrophobic and highly fluorinated ether (HFE) that release water molecules from the electrode of the battery. This process helped to further stop the decomposition of water-electrolyte with further minimized the need to refill water as an electrolyte in the lithium-ion battery.
When Should You Need to Change a Lithium-ion Battery?
Usually, lithium-ion batteries are suggested to live for about 2 to 3 years or 300 to 500 charge to discharge cycles. One charge cycle is equal to the period of fully charged state to the fully discharged state and then fully recharged again. Batteries that are not under frequent use may complete their 2 to 3 years life expectancy before even completing their charge to discharge cycles.
Lithium-ion batteries are of rechargeable (secondary) nature, therefore, they have a limited life. With each charge cycle and each use, they gradually lose their ability to hold charges. The loss of capacity to hold a charge is an irreversible phenomenon and can not be refurbished by any means. Loss of charge capacity of a battery results in decreased run-time of the device that the battery is powering up. Even second-hand batteries have depleted storage levels.
The reasons that account for the need to change a lithium-ion battery are simple and easy enough to be taken care of. Lithium-ion batteries lose their charge over time and if they are left plugged-in without them being used, the gases inside the cell chamber may cause the battery to leak and cause damage to the device. Therefore, it is the basic duty to not leave lithium-ion batteries unused for longer time spans either inside the product or in the storage. Also, after a new battery has served its 6 months it is a good practice to check the charge condition of the battery and then dispose of it or use it according to the results.
Lithium-ion batteries are an excellent source of energy but they require careful use. They self-discharge which makes it necessary for the users to make a routine check on the battery’s charge capacity condition. Take care of all these factors and you will know always know the best time to change your lithium-ion battery before it starts to pose threats to your devices.