What is the difference between a nickel metal hydride battery and a lithium-ion battery

Without giving too much about this walkie talkie police piece of writing, but I found it fascinating and relevant to what Im now doing.

two way radio lyrics scars on 45Many batteries are used in ipods/ipad, mobile phones, two Way Radio and lot of our other gadgets, but what batteries do they use? This is a very good question.

In purely scientific terms, Kristen Hall-Geisler of How Stuff Works.com puts it this way:

The most obvious difference between Li-ion and NiMH batteries is the material used to store power. Lithium-ion batteries are made of carbon and highly reactive lithium, which can store a lot of energy. Nickel metal hydride batteries use hydrogen to store energy, with nickel and another metal (such as titanium) keeping a lid on the hydrogen ions.

Each type has its merits and drawbacks. For example, the nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) is the cheaper of the two, but they are far heavier and more cumbersome. However, both types can store similar amounts of charge, although generally Lithium-ion (Li-ion) can hold more.

Overall, NiMH batteries generally last longer than their Li-ion counterparts as well, especially when subjected to extremes of hot or cold. As Hall-Geisler points out:

Some Li-ion batteries don’t last as long in extreme temperatures, particularly in very hot climates. But manufacturers are working to improve the chemistry to make the Li-ion batteries last as long as the vehicles they power.

Having said all that, Li-ion is probably the battery type with the most promising future, at least in terms of consumer electronics. As one expert from the Battery University website writes,

For many years, nickel-cadmium had been the only suitable battery for portable equipment from wireless communications to mobile computing. Nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion emerged In the early 1990s, fighting nose-to-nose to gain customer’s acceptance. Today, lithium-ion is the fastest growing and most promising battery chemistry.

Lithium Ion is a comparatively low maintenance technology and is generally easier to use than NiMH batteries. No special memory or scheduled cycling are needed to keep it going for longer. However, Battery University is quick to note that:

Aging is a concern with most lithium-ion batteries and many manufacturers remain silent about this issue. Some capacity deterioration is noticeable after one year, whether the battery is in use or not. The battery frequently fails after two or three years.

For its part, NiMH is also safer than Li-ion. Battery University has this to say,

The advancements of NiMH are impressive. Since 1991, the specific energy has doubled and the life span extended. The hype of lithium-ion may have dampened the enthusiasm for NiMH a bit but not to the point to turn HEV makers away from this proven technology. Batteries for the electric powertrain in vehicles must meet some of the most demanding challenges, and NiMH has two major advantages over Li-ion here. These are price and safety. Makers of hybrid vehicles claim that NiMH costs one-third of an equivalent Li-ion system, and the relaxation on safety provisions contribute in part to this price reduction.

One thing that always surprised me, is that Durex never took a leaf out of Duracells book with regards to the bunny that keeps going and going advertising motif. If you work in marketing, or if you know anybody in marketing, you should think on that concept. Either way, somebody should pitch it, Im behind you 100%. I need to see that ad in my lifetime.

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