What Causes Batteries to Fail?

Why do batteries fail? Can there be such a thing as a bad battery? How do I know if my battery is bad? The most effective means of understanding the status of a battery is to test the battery using a battery analyzer. However as this may not be readily available for you let’s examine some of the possibilities that could cause a battery to “fail” and also understand some things you can do to help isolate if a battery is indeed bad.

First of all batteries with different cell chemistries or constructions may fail in different ways. For example:

• Batteries can have faulty cell design
• Batteries can be manufactured under uncontrolled processes
• Batteries can be operated in uncontrolled conditions
• Batteries can be abused
• Batteries can degrade and lose power

Battery Cell Design Faults – include weak mechanical design, inadequate pressure seals and vents, the specification of poor quality materials and improperly specified tolerances can be responsible for many potential failures.

Uncontrolled Manufacturing Processes include – badly run production facilities which lead to cell short circuits, leaks, unreliable connections, sealing quality, mechanical weakness, and contamination. An example of a manufacturing process out of control is variable coating thicknesses of the active chemicals on the electrodes would affect cell capacity, impedance and self discharge.

Uncontrolled Operating Conditions – perfectly good batteries fail when you use operate them in conditions where they shouldn’t be like: using the battery in a device that it was not specifically designed for, charging the battery with an incorrect adapter/charger, extreme environmental conditions (most handheld consumer batteries operate best when ambient temperatures are between 32°F-95°F), and physical damage.

Abuse – Abuse means deliberate physical abuse by the end user as well as accidental abuse which may be unavoidable. This may include dropping, crushing, penetrating, impacts, immersion in fluids, freezing or contact with fire.

Battery Degradation and Power Loss – A battery over time degrades and eventually stops working, this is no surprise, but why this occurs is really a fascinating yet technical process. These reasons are complex issues that are way beyond user control and are wholly contained within your battery and within your device! These reasons for battery degradation and power loss over time is due to declining capacity, increasing internal resistance, elevated self-discharge, and premature voltage cut-off on discharge. For a more detailed analysis of battery degradation and power loss please visits this special report on Battery Degradation and Power Loss.

Until next time Dan Hagopian, BatteryShip.com
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