How many of the devices you use in your daily life run on batteries? Ever wondered why your smartphone battery doesn’t last as long as it used to? It could be because of constant fast charging.⚡

Most smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles use Lithium Ion batteries which have a limited number of charge-discharge cycles before their capacity and performance start to degrade. This degradation is due to a variety of chemical and mechanical changes in the electrodes some of which occur during storage, some during usage and some, all the time. Temperature and charging rate are some of the factors that impact the overall cycle life.

Charging the battery at a higher rate typically generates more heat within the battery, which can accelerate degradation and reduce its overall cycle life. When Li-ion batteries are charged at higher rates, it leads to increased internal resistance and heat generation. This heat can cause degradation of the battery’s electrodes and electrolyte, reducing the overall cycle life. Battery manufacturers often provide recommendations for optimal charging rates to balance between charging speed and battery longevity. Charging within these recommended rates can prolong the battery’s life.

With advancements in battery technology, fast charging methods involve sophisticated charging algorithms & thermal management systems to mitigate the adverse effects of fast charging on battery life. Even so, fast charging still has an adverse effect on cycle life. Battery management systems (BMS) monitor parameters such as temperature, voltage, and current to regulate charging rates and prevent overcharging, over discharging and overheating.

While faster charging may be convenient, it comes with trade-offs in terms of battery lifespan. To safeguard your battery’s lifespan from excessive degradation, consider enabling the adaptive charging feature on your phone. This feature adjusts the charging rate to a lower level, ensuring that the battery reaches 100% at a time of your choosing (when your alarm goes off in the morning for example, if you plug in your phone for charging at night). Nowadays, most smartphones include this option or a similar functionality. This could help ensure battery longevity.

About the author:

Swetha Varadharajan, Electronics engineer at Avalon Innovation