We all share the pain of our smartphone dying when we need it the most, which leaves us thinking “why did I play that extra game of Candy Crush?!”. Ten years ago, phone batteries lasted for days without needing a charge but now, the battery indicator drops even quicker.
So, what is happening with your smart phone to make it go flat?
So, What’s Going On?
When you charge your phone battery, lithium ions move from the cathode, made of lithium cobalt oxide, to the anode, which is made of graphite, a form of carbon. The lithium ions move back the other way when your phone needs power.
The problem is that this process is not 100% efficient. Each time the battery is discharged some lithium remains behind on the anode. Over time they clog up the anode and effectively become lost to the system. This reduces the amount of energy the battery is able to hold. At the other end of the reaction the cathode can develop cracks, and it too can pick up a layer of immovable atoms. On top of that, unwanted chemical reactions cause general battery deterioration.
Why Can’t We Get Better Batteries?
The fact is, we are getting better batteries all the time. In the last few years the amount of energy that can be stored in a lithium ion battery of a given size has increased by over 30%. In addition, lots of research is going on to find better electrode materials, ones that resist the build up of lithium and don’t crack up.
Four Tips To Help Your Phone Battery
The good news is that there are things you can do to look after your phone battery to ensure it has the longest life.
Here’s four ways you can keep your phone battery working for longer:
- Never let your battery go 100% flat.
- Avoid charging your battery to 100%. Unlike older types of rechargeable batteries, partially charging lithium ion batteries is fine.
- Try to keep the charge in the range of 20-80%.
- Keep your phone cool, but not too cold. Comfortable room temperature is ideal. You can help to keep the phone cool during recharging by removing it from its case, if you have one.
Time For A New Phone? Recycle Your Old One
Even with the best of care the battery is still going to get to a point where it no longer holds sufficient charge to be of practical use. In reality, most people get rid of their entire phone before this happens, but whether you are replacing the battery or getting rid of the whole phone, make sure you properly recycle batteries and the phone itself.
Find out about how you can setup a battery and phone collection scheme at your workplace.