Batteries Going Dead in Cold Weather: Explained

It’s winter. And with that comes heavy coats, icy winds, and occasionally, below freezing temperatures: conditions not favorable for batteries.

Car batteries

Temperature extremes, in general, are not favorable to batteries. According to Lifewire, lead-acid batteries drop in capacity by about 20 percent in normal to freezing weather, and down to about 50 percent in temperatures that reach about -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a result, you may find your car battery giving out on any given winter morning. This is due to reduced capacity and increased draw from starter motors and accessories. This is because starter motors require a tremendous amount of amperage to get going: knocking out the capacity of even the newest batteries.

Read the full article here. 

Cell phones

In frigid temperatures, even a fully charged phone can plummet to zero in no time.

Why? According to LiveScience, batteries rely on chemical reactions to work, and freezing temperatures slow or stop those reactions. Lithium-ion batteries work by discharging their electric currents as individual lithium ions that move through solution from one end of the battery (the anode) to the other end (the cathode). The cold slows or may even stop those reactions down, although it’s still not exactly understood why.

“The exact mechanisms leading to poor performance of lithium-ion batteries at cold temperatures are still not well understood,” a team of battery engineers wrote in a paper, A Critical Review of Thermal Issues in Lithium-Ion Batteries, published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.

The solution? Bring your phone to warm enough temperatures to enable reactions once again, and it should bring your cell back to its original charge.

Read the full article here.

The 235th ECS Meeting, taking place May 26-30, 2019, in Dallas, Texas, offers an excellent space to investigate the questions of the battery world further. Scientists, engineers, and industry leaders from around the world come together to share their research, discuss new ideas, and discover new opportunities. Don’t miss this opportunity!


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