Lithium & Lithium Ion Batteries – Explained in Simple Terms

By now anyone who uses cordless tools has heard at least something about lithium ion batteries. In fact they're currently one of Makita batteries most popular selling types, even with their added cost. So then what is it that makes this one particular type so different from the others?

One Type is Rechargeable and the Other is Not

The first thing you should know is that non lithium ion and disposable lithium batteries are two completely separate types. Of course one can be recharged, and the other can not, but their differences go much further than that. So to understand why this is so, you must know what an ion is.

Lithium is in Fact a Metal

In simple terms, ions come in many forms, and they can best be described as free singular atoms that are free to engage in chemical reactions in solution. Lithium you see, is actually a metal, and if you were to drop a chunk of it in water, it would just sit there.

Lithium Salts are Water Soluble

However; when lithium is paired up with another molecule, such as sulfur, it becomes lithium sulfide which is classified as a salt. Now it's common knowledge that salts dissolve in water, so now if you drop a piece of lithium sulfide in water, it melts and the lithium atoms are freed up in ionic form.

Ionic Chemistry at the Dining Table

You can see this same type of ionic chemistry in use all around you on a day to day basis. For instance, you certainly would not drizzle chlorine on your fries or, grind sodium metal on your burger. However, as sodium chloride or, what you know as common table salt, both of these elements in ionic form taste great.

Do You Have a Clear Picture Now?

So now you can sometimes get some idea how one type of battery that contains lithium in its non ionic metal form can function so different from Makita batteries that contain lithium in an ionic form. One has solid lithium metal in it, and the other has a salt of lithium in it.

Source by Sandy Ferris


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