Want to keep your phone battery in shape? Never charge it to 100%

Your smartphone's battery may survive longer and suffer minimal stress if you keep it charged at less than 100%, says the Battery University.

Charging Lithium Ion batteries to 100% may increase stress to such batteries from high voltage and may affect their longevity.

We always prefer to fully charge our phones before leaving the house or watching movies to ensure that our phones get the maximum runtime. However, in an ideal scenario, this cannot be termed as the best practise as keeping phone batteries fully charged may cause stress, thus making them potentially unsafe.

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"Some Li-ion packs may experience a temperature rise of about 5ºC (9ºF) when reaching full charge. This could be due to the protection circuit and/or elevated internal resistance. Discontinue using the battery or charger if the temperature rises more than 10ºC (18ºF) under moderate charging speeds," said a blog post that appeared in the University's website.

"Li-ion does not need to be fully charged as is the case with lead acid, nor is it desirable to do so. In fact, it is better not to fully charge because a high voltage stresses the battery. Choosing a lower voltage threshold or eliminating the saturation charge altogether, prolongs battery life but this reduces the runtime. Chargers for consumer products go for maximum capacity and cannot be adjusted; extended service life is perceived less important." it added.

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In such a scenario, it is better to charge up your phone to say, 60% or 70% which should keep your phone alive for several hours and then use portable power banks to juice them up whenever required. The University adds that if you continue charging your phone even after the battery has reached 100% capacity, like in the case of charging your phone overnight, it may result in plating of metallic Lithium, the cathode material becomes an oxidizing agent and produces CO2, the current interrupt device disconnects and the safety membrane of the battery bursts open, causing flames and compromising your safety.

At the same time, if you terminate the charge current when a smartphone battery is not fully charged, then the battery's voltage will stabilize quicker than in a case where the battery is totally saturated. A battery charged to 100% will keep simmering for a while and that is not good for its longevity or your safety.

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"Lithium-ion is not the only battery that poses a safety hazard if overcharged. Lead- and nickel-based batteries are also known to melt down and cause fire if improperly handled. Properly designed charging equipment is paramount for all battery systems and temperature sensing is a reliable watchman" said the website.

While Lithium Ion batteries have so far been found to be the most appropriate for smartphones and tablets and safety risks have been few and far between, researchers at Stanford University recently developed an ultrafast rechargeable aluminium-ion battery which contains an aluminium anode and a graphite cathode that produce up to 2 volts of power over thousands of recharge cycles. The new invention, if proven over multiple devices and long life-cycles, will be a boon for smartphone makers and consumers alike. The aluminium-ion is much cheaper as well as combustion proof, meaning that there will be zero chances of the battery blowing up or burning out over heavy usage.

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