Is rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology suitable for medical devices?

May 23, 2020   Pageview:181

Lithium-ion batteries have been successfully developed and integrated into various medical devices around. This battery technology has proven to be an excellent power source that, despite its limitations, as nothing is perfect, it has a diverse range of benefits when applied to a wide variety of fields. Lithium-ion batteries have higher energy densities as compared to older battery technologies as well as their high voltage production, which are just some of the few unique characteristics associated with this battery.

They also provide high energy relative to their small manipulative sizes. This property makes them suitable for many types of medical devices that are not only suitable for serving medical professionals but are also convenient to the patients that use them.

When it comes to medical devices, lithium-ion batteries need to be designed and manufactured in the safest of ways while adhering to the highest quality and reliability standards. The safety of these batteries in different shapes need to be performed under both electrical and mechanical abuse conditions and environments to get the best results and the most suitable choice. The cycling testing is done at a different charge, and discharge rates show that these lithium-ion batteries are capable of functioning as a safe and efficient power source in various medical devices.

Are all lithium-ion batteries rechargeable for medical devices?

A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery commonly used for portable electronics, together with a wide range of other applications. The lithium-ion batteries used in medical devices are also rechargeable since they are all secondary cells. However, because medical devices are used in highly sensitive areas and for essential purposes, pharmaceutical manufacturers advise that in some crucial and significant medical devices, it would be recommended if you were to replace the batteries instead of recharging them.

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Why are lithium-ion batteries rechargeable?

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable because the chemical reactions used in them are reversible. There are different chemicals used in these cells which split apart through entirely different reactions when the cell is put to work. The chemical reactions are capable of occurring very many times in both directions, thus the reason why lithium-ion batteries can give a lifespan of up to 10years. The cost of replacing primary non-rechargeable batteries became too costly even for manufacturers together with other qualifying factors, and this drove the reason for the invention of rechargeable batteries.


How do lithium-ion batteries work in medical devices?

Batteries give use the convenience of having electricity in a portable form wherever we may be. The only downside to these cells is that they tend to run flat or die. For primary batteries that weren’t rechargeable, one would be forced to throw them out and get suitable replacements. However, for the secondary rechargeable cells like lithium-ion batteries, one would need a specialized charger to juice the cells and get them back to top form.

Lithium-ion batteries are a rechargeable battery technology that uses the same working principles in all devices. Even when designed by medical manufacturers, as much as they may serve a different and more sensitive purpose, they tend to work based on the same principles as other lithium-ion types. Therefore, there isn’t much of a difference between the working principles behind ordinary lithium batteries and those used in medical devices. However, this doesn’t mean that you can use an ordinary lithium-ion battery in any medical device because the two sectors and applications are totally different.

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Just like any other battery technology, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery is composed of one or more cells. Each of these cells consists of three basic or essential components that include: a positive electrode at the (+) terminal (anode), a negative electrode at the (-) terminal (cathode), and an electrolyte. The anode is made up of a chemical compound known as lithium-cobalt oxide (LiCoO2), while in new batteries, it is made up of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). On the other hand, the cathode is made up o carbon compounds, mainly graphite.

The electrolyte varies from one type of lithium-ion battery version to another. During the charging process, anode gives off some of its lithium ions, which are then transported through the electrolyte to the cathode. During this process, the battery takes in and stores sufficient energy. However, during the discharging process, the lithium ions move back from the cathode to the anode through the electrolyte, producing energy that is used to power the battery.

In both instances, charging and discharging, the electrons tend to flow in opposite directions towards the ions situated around the outer circle. They, however, do not flow through the electrolyte like the ions, as it is considered an insulating barrier to them. The movement of lithium ions through the electrolyte and electrons around the outer circle in the opposite direction tends to be an interconnected process. This means that if either of the two processes decides to stop, the other one will simultaneously halt as well.

When the battery is completely discharged, the ions won’t be able to move through the electrolyte, and the electrons won’t also move through the outer circle and, thus, the reason why you lose power. For example, if your battery is powering a torch, and you happen to switch it off, both the flow of electrons and ions stops because the circuit is disconnected. The battery also stops discharging at a high rate but will instead do so at a meager rate even with the torch switched off. This process is referred to as self-discharge.

When compared to other types of older battery technologies, lithium-ion batteries have in-built electronic controllers that form a system generally known as a battery management system. This BMS is responsible for monitoring the batteries and preventing it from hazardous cases such as overcharging, overheating, short circuits, and many others that may harm the battery and device.

Final words

The providers of healthcare are drastically vigilant in providing safe and effective care for patients in every health institution. Through careful monitoring, experts are capable of providing consistent feedback on the patient’s vital signs to be able to watch for any unexpected changes in their stability.

Technological development has significantly helped enable the treatment and diagnosis within the many different areas in a hospital, and battery technology has continued to be a significant contributor to this development. The batteries tend to offer healthcare professionals more reliability in the monitoring and treatment of their patients with lithium-ion batteries, increasingly becoming the most preferred choice of medical producers.

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