Effect of freezing on Lithium Ion Batteries

  1. A quick google search reveals conflicting opinions on whether or not this will have a negative impact on battery life. I carry my laptop outdoors with me every day on my walk from the train to the hospital, do I need to worry about the cold ruining my battery?
  2. jcsd
  3. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

  4. These links should be reassuring.

    This one shows that the capacity loss of a charged Li-I battery is actually best at 0 C. Of course, this is just barely freezing, but there is no caveat about temps lower than this.

    Another link (a pdf file) shows that they operate as low as -50 to -80 C. NASA requires -80C. I couldn't seem to copy the whole URL, but it can be found at:

    I don't know where you live, but if you still have to worry about it, dress warmly.
  5. The data I've seen says to expect between a 10% and 40% degredation if you freeze a fully-charged lithium battery then bring it back to normal operating temps (room temp). However, the same articles say any permanent damage is slight (1-3%).

    Just make sure you charge it, and use it, when it's at room temperature!
  6. I don't have a laptop. Are the batteries Li-ion, lithium polymer or lithium cobalt oxide chemistry?
  7. Most laptop batteries are Li-ion
  8. My PSP uses a Li-ion battery. It's been in temps lower than 0c for hours multiple times and it lasted over 3 years and i never noticed a change in charge. This battery went through heavy usage too so i'd side with the little/no effect side.
  9. How much lower than 0C? Temperatures of <-40C are not unheard of here.
  10. Li-Ion batteries are a non-aqueous type chemistry (they contain no water) and as far as I know are mostly made of up of solid electrodes and electrolytes, so below freezing temperatures should have no major mechanical effect on performance or life. A lower temperature will decrease performance but it will also decrease the discharge rate of the cell also. While high temperatures can kill a Li-Ion cell pretty fast, I don't think -40C+ temperatures will do any harm to something like a laptop or cellphone battery.
  11. mheslep

    mheslep 3,401
    Gold Member

    Cold temperatures will lower the discharge capacity of Lithium Ion laptop batteries (Co based), about 20% at -10C, when discharged at C/5 (i.e. normal) [1]. If the discharge rate is high (C vs C/5) then the low temperature capacity performance seriously collapses - by 50% and more - but only for the duration of the cold temperature operation. The reason for this is the temperature sensitivity of the electrolyte conductivity. Cold temperature discharge does not notably degrade the long term, cycle lifetime of the battery.

    Hot discharge does degrade the cycle life. Repeated discharge at 45 deg C versus 20C lowers the cycle life by ~30-50%. [2] A major contributor to the loss of capacity life is electrode fatigue brought on by the expansion and contraction of the electrode lattice under charge and discharge; I suspect high temperature extremes accelerate this process.

    [1]Vehicle batteries use a Fe based chemistry and nano structure which is more temperature stable than laptop chemistry, but still exhibits similar temperature behaviour.
    [2]Linden, Battery Handbook
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  12. sr8

    sr8 3

    freezing can cause damage to the batteries in some cases, because the maximum voltage they can handle is reduced at cold temps. dont charge them under 10 degrees to be safe, and dont feeze them below 5 degrees when they are at maximum voltage, like 3.8 or 4.2 per cell, because at freezing they can only handle 3,7 voltage, so maxiumum overcharges them. so if you freeze your batteries, make sure you use them for 5 minutes first, to get to 95 percent recharge.

    if your bms has higher figure for the recharge, say 4.2 instead of 4, its especially important not to freeze them at those levels.

    it reduces their maximum capacity and subsequently they cant recharge as high as they did.
  13. yeah, I agree with you.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?