Prismatic Type Lithium-Ion Batteries – Definition and Differences

Jan 14, 2020   Pageview:243

What is a prismatic type lithium-ion battery?

In the early '90s, prismatic batteries were introduced into the world to cater to the demands of thin-sized cells that also come at low manufacturing costs. These batteries are wrapped in attractive packages that resemble boxes of chewing gum or the standard chocolate bars that we know and love. The batteries are purposed at maximizing the optimal use of space through the well-known layered approach. This means that they improve the usage of space and also allows the design to be flexible enough with each manufacturer capable of designing their own hence, no standard set format of it.

Prismatic lithium-ion batteries are mostly found in mobile phones or laptops that have lithium-ion. Being of flexible design, the manufacturer can produce a new pack to provide more capacity if the housing space within the electronic device can cater for a few extra millimeters. The batteries are contained in a rectangular can with the electrodes either stacked or in the form of a flattened spiral. They are also packaged in welded aluminum casings with the cells capable of supplying capacities of between 20 - 30 Ah. The cells also require a thicker wall size to compensate for the mechanical stability that had been lowered from the design, which thus, resulted in a decrease in capacity.

These batteries are majorly used for electric powertrains in the manufacture of hybrid and electric vehicles and are designed to contain a very thin profile for their use in small electronic devices like mobile phones. The batteries may also present minor effects such as high manufacturing costs, lower energy densities, and high risks of swelling but these do not define them as significantly flawed. When the prismatic cells are used in portable devices, their capacities can range from about 400mAh to 2000mAh depending n the type of battery used.

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What is the difference between cylindrical and prismatic battery cells?

Cylindrical cells

These are the most commonly used type of lithium-ion cells in this age as their designs pave the way for better automation processes and techniques that tend to raise the consistency of the batteries and lower their cost. As the name suggests, they are cylindrically shaped and are best preferred for consumer electronic devices because they are mechanically stable. All battery companies or manufacturers never miss out on an opportunity to produce these cells because they are easy to make, and most of all, they are safe.

Cylindrical cells offer the following benefits:

1.Easy to manufacture

The batteries are cylindrically shaped and don't require a lot of material nor space hence making it easy for every battery manufacturer to produce them in large quantities for the market. They are not based on complex principles, nor do they require expensive raw materials.

2.They are safe

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When the internal pressure of any typical cell becomes too much, the batteries tend to swell and explode. However, cylindrical lithium-ion cells react differently. They are designed to rapture, thus, reducing the concerned safety hazards that many batteries face making them as safe as can be.

3.Long lifespan

The batteries also tend to have a longer lifespan as compared to other standard battery packs. They are also not affected by the collective memory effect that old rechargeable batteries were prone to hence capable of maintaining the same level of charge for more extended periods, thus live longer lives.


To manufacture the batteries is less costly as compared to other types of lithium-ion batteries because they do not require much expensive raw material. This low manufacture costs ultimately results in a low purchasing price in the market, making them affordable sources of power.

There are however, notable flaws that come with the cylindrical lithium-ion battery despite its advantages and just like any other battery type, no cell is perfect. The cylindrical shape of the cells negatively affects the efficiency of the battery because there is space, which is notable, between the cells. This space tends to increase the struggles of maintaining the battery's efficiency. However, when the battery is designed correctly, it can make good use of the energy-dense nature of the cells. The free space within them can also be utilized by installing the right thermal regulation in the cells to maintain their temperatures and avoid cases or thermal runaways.

The prismatic cell

The prismatic cell also presents a few advantages that include;

1.Effective use of space

These batteries are thin and have a hard exterior that makes them light-weight and capable of effectively using the available space. Their rectangular shapes facilitate improved layering and enhanced flexibility within the products they are used in. They are thus suitable for portable devices such as laptops and mobile phones, laptops, and other electronic equipment that are lightweight.

However, several known disadvantages may exist with this cell:


Firstly, as much as its space efficiency makes it attractive, the cell is expensive to design or manufacture. This is because they require much raw material that may be deemed costly in the end and the final product is also expected to be expensive for consumers to acquire. This makes the battery-less famous among users.

2.Short lifespan

Prismatic lithium-ion batteries have a very short lifespan. This means that they tend to die quicker than other cells because thermal management tends to be less effective, and they are sensitive to deformations in situations of high pressure within the cells.

3.Less safe

The cells are made of many positive and negative electrodes that are squeezed together; thus, increasing the chances of hazards such as short circuits and inconsistency. Since they also have a high capacity, the BMS finds it hard to protect each cell from cases of overcharging or dissipation of heat. The internal cells can also quickly expand and contract, thus putting the battery at risk of swelling up due to short circuits as well.

What is the highest prismatic lithium-ion battery mAh capacity type?

The prismatic lithium-ion batteries can deliver capacities of 800mAH to a maximum of 4000mAh and thus making them famous in many consumer portable devices.

Final words

In conclusion, as much as prismatic batteries have flooded the market due to their space efficiency and high capacities, they are heavily flawed and thus, cylindrical lithium-ion batteries prove to be a better alternative.

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