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Landline telephones in the 1980s were minimalist gadgets that kept getting slimmer in the 1990s. In contrast, cell phones in the same period were bulky and cumbersome. And once they lost their charge, they turned into a giant paperweight. Then came a revolution in batteries with lithium-ion manufacturing technology. Mobile phones packed more power, recharged faster, and endured more recharge cycles. Above all, they were light and small, making cell phones the inseparable companions they are today. But Lithium-ion batteries power much more than phones.

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Dry and refine lithium before processing the metal

The crucial element in lithium-ion batteries is, of course, lithium. The lightest material on earth is highly reactive, making it a prime candidate for this exchange of electrons.

The metal is obtained either from ore mines or extracted from lithium-rich pools. The former method is quarried and refined; in the latter, the water is removed by evaporators, and the metal is filtered from the remaining deposits.

Stabilize lithium with a metal oxide

Lithium is a chemically unstable material, and it is worked into matrices with other metals to stabilize it. Engineers use multiple compounds to form these metal oxides for the cathode chamber. Nickel, manganese, cobalt, aluminum, and iron are the most widely used metals.

The anode chamber is typically made from graphite, a stable mineral that can hold the lithium ions discharged from the metal oxide.

Enlarge the surface area of lithium particles with fine milling technology

Before starting the formulation process, the raw metals need to be treated with a dryer to remove all moisture content.

Your dry materials are now ready for ultra-fine milling. Grind the metals into a powder to achieve a uniform particle size distribution that allows them to be worked more smoothly. Meanwhile, reducing particle size increases their surface area and produces a higher performance in batteries.

Form the lithium-ion mechanism into a battery cell

The graphite and metal oxides are coded onto current collector sheets, usually made of copper and aluminum. An electrolyte sheet sandwiched between them keeps them from coming into contact. It also serves as a barrier to electrons traveling from cathode to anode and back.

The sheets are pressed together and wound around a steel cylinder, forming a compact cell. A typical battery module for electric vehicles consists of several lithium-ion battery cells packed together. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and this solution generates electricity more efficiently than a large battery would.

Lithium-ion technology is changing electricity distribution methods

Advances in lithium-ion manufacturing technology and materials are fast-tracking electric mobility and promise to remodel electricity grids. The basic principle of the battery is that ions and electrons travel from a positive electrode (anode) to a negative electrode (cathode), creating an electric current on the way.

When the anode discharges all its ions, the current is interrupted, and the battery goes flat. When you plug your battery-operated device into the wall socket, the positive charge pulls the ions to the anode again.

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