THE LITHIUM POLYMER (Li-polymer) BATTERY


The Li-polymer is a rechargeable battery presently under development. Production for the commercial market is expected to commence by year 2000.

The original concept of the Li-polymer battery is based on the use of solid electrolyte. This design offers great potential with respect to fabrication, ruggedness, safety and low cost. It also avoids the high flammability of the liquid electrolyte used in the Li-ion and metallic Lithium batteries, should hazardous leakage occur through cell container rupture. However, limitations in conductivity of the solid polymer have resulted in adding some liquid to the solid electrolyte.

When fully developed, the Li-polymer will provide more than three times the energy density compared to the NiCd and will have a very low self-discharge. In addition, the use of a polymer electrolyte allows for very flexible design, including construction of prismatic cells that measure as little as one millimeter (0.039") in thickness. Batteries that resemble flexible rubber mats that can be rolled or formed to fit tight spaces will also be feasible.

The Load current capability of the Li-polymer is much lower than that of the L-ion. The cycle life varies with design and is fairly low, especially if discharged deeply. Charge and discharge characteristics of the Li-polymer are expected to be similar to those of the SLA with charge time of 8 to 16 hours. Once mass-produced, the manufacturing cost of the Li-polymer is expected to be low.

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