Lithium batteries are disposable (primary) batteries that have
lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. Depending on the design and
chemical compounds used, lithium cells can produce voltages from 1.5 V to about
3.7 V, over twice the voltage of an ordinary zinc--carbon battery or alkaline
Li batteries are widely used in modern portable consumer electronics, including iPods, iPhone, cameras, camcorders, and cell phones. The diminished battery size versus power aspect of the lithium batteries has been credited with the smaller size of electronics we enjoy today.
Li-MnO2 (Li-Mn, "CR"), has a Cathode of Heat-treated manganese
dioxide and Electrolyte of Lithium perchlorate, is the most common consumer
grade battery, about 80% of the lithium battery market. Uses inexpensive
materials. Suitable for low-drain, long-life, low-cost applications. High energy
density per both mass and volume. Can deliver high pulse currents. Wide
temperature range. With discharge the internal impedance rises and the terminal
voltage decreases. Maximum temperature limited to about 60 °C. High
self-discharge at high temperatures.
Lithium batteries find application in many long-life, critical devices, such as artificial pacemakers and other implantable electronic medical devices. These devices use specialized lithium-iodide batteries designed to last 15 or more years. But for other, less critical applications such as in toys, the lithium battery may actually outlast the device. In such cases, an expensive lithium battery may not be cost-effective.
Lithium batteries can be used in place of ordinary alkaline cells in many devices, such as clocks and cameras. Although they are more costly, lithium cells will provide much longer life, thereby minimizing battery replacement. However, attention must be given to the higher voltage developed by the lithium cells before using them as a drop-in replacement in devices that normally use ordinary zinc cells.
Compared to variety of previous battery compositions, Lithium is the way of the future - leading other elements in size to power density ratio.