Lithium-Ion Battery

What Does Lithium-Ion Battery Mean?

Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) are a family of rechargeable batteries having high energy density and commonly used in consumer electronics. Unlike the disposable lithium primary battery, a LIB uses intercalated lithium compound instead of metallic lithium as its electrode.


Usually, LIBs are significantly lighter than other kinds of rechargeable batteries of similar size. LIBs are heavily used in portable electronics. These batteries can be commonly found in PDAs, iPods, cell phones, laptops, etc.

This term is also known as a LI-ion.

Techopedia Explains Lithium-Ion Battery

When a LIB is discharging, lithium ions move from the negative electrode (anode) to the positive electrode (cathode). When a LIB is charging, lithium ions move in the opposite direction, and the negative electrode becomes the cathode, while the positive electrode becomes the anode.

Some of the advantages of LIBs are:

  • A typical LIB is able to store 150 watt-hours electricity per kg of battery, compared to 100 watt-hours electricity in a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, and only 25 watt-hours electricity in a lead-acid battery.
  • LIBs hold a charge well. They usually lose approximately 5% of their charge each month, against a 20% monthly loss for NiMH batteries.
  • LIBs do not require complete discharge prior to recharging.
  • LIBs are able to handle more charge/discharge cycles.

Some of the disadvantages of LIBs are:

  • LIBs start to degrade the moment they leave the factory. They usually last for only two to three years from the date of manufacture, regardless of whether used or unused.
  • LIBs are highly sensitive to higher temperatures. Higher temperature leads to a much faster degradation rate than normal.
  • If a LIB is fully discharged, it gets totally damaged.
  • LIBs are comparatively expensive.
  • There exists a small possibility that if the LIB pack fails, it may burst open into flame.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.