Lithium Polymer Battery Packs are different from other battery systems in the type of battery electrolyte used in their manufacture.
Originally it used a dry solid polymer electrolyte only, which resembled a plastic-like film that did not conduct electricity but allowed an exchange of ions (electrically charged atoms or groups of atoms). The polymer electrolyte replaced the traditional porous separator, which is soaked with electrolyte.
Advantages of Lithium Polymer Batteries.
- Very low profile: Thin and adaptable batteries that resemble the profile of a credit card are feasible.
- Flexible form factor: Manufacturers are not bound by standard cell formats. With high volume, any reasonable size can be produced economically.
- Light weight: Electrolytes are gelled rather than in liquid form and enable simplified packaging, in some cases eliminating the metal outer shell.
- Improved safety: Electrolyte leakage is less likely and the unit is more resistant to overcharge conditions.
However, there are a few considerations that should be taken into account when considering their use as a power source.
Limitations of Lithium Polymer Batteries.
- Lower energy density and decreased cycle count compared to Li-ion - however continual design improvements are slowly addressing this.
- Expensive to manufacture in small volumes: Once mass-produced, the Li-ion polymer has the potential for lower cost. Reduced control circuit offsets
higher manufacturing costs.
Other characteristics of the Lithium Polymer Battery.
The dry polymer design offers simplifications with respect to fabrication, ruggedness, safety and thin-profile geometry. There is no danger of flammability because no liquid or gelled electrolyte is used. With a cell thickness measuring as little as one millimeter (0.039 inches), equipment designers are left to their own imagination in terms of form, shape and size. It is possible to create designs which form part of a protective housing, are in the shape of a mat that can be rolled up, or are even embedded into a carrying case or piece of clothing. Such innovative batteries are still a few years away, especially for the commercial market.
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