Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Appl Manual Datasheet by Energizer Battery Company

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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
Energizer Brands, LLC. | 800-383-7323 | www.energizer.com
©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 1 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
Introduction
The number of portable battery operated electronic devices has
grown tremendously. Consumers can be confused as to which
battery to buy for these devices. This handbook will provide a better
understanding of rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
batteries, their use, and advantages for the consumer.
Many battery applications are well suited to be powered by NiMH rechargeable batteries. In general, devices
that require large amounts of energy and are used frequently are well matched to the performance
characteristics of NiMH batteries. Examples of these devices would include digital cameras, GPS units, and MP3
players.
Early AA NiCd rechargeable batteries provided approximately 25% of the capacity of alkaline non-rechargeable
batteries. However, the latest AA NiMH batteries provide approximately 75% of the capacity of alkaline AA
batteries at low drain rates and can surpass alkaline performance in high drain applications (i.e. digital
cameras).
The true advantage of NiMH batteries can be found in the cycle life (reuse after charging). Typically NiMH
batteries can be recharged hundreds of times, potentially allowing them to be equivalent to hundreds of alkaline
batteries in total service over their lifetime. However, battery life is limited to 5 years or less. This can make
rechargeable NiMH batteries a cost effective power source for many frequently used battery operated devices
found in the home or office.
Some of the advantages of the nickel-metal hydride battery are:
Energy density which can be translated into either long run times or reduction in the space necessary
for the battery.
Elimination of the constraints on battery manufacture, usage, and disposal imposed because of
concerns over cadmium toxicity.
Simplified incorporation into products currently using nickel cadmium batteries because of the many
design similarities between the two chemistries.
Greater service advantage over other primary battery types at low temperature extremes operating at
-20°C.
Typical Applications
The nickel-metal hydride battery is currently finding widespread application in those high-end portable
electronic products where battery performance parameters, notably run time, are a major consideration in the
purchase decision.
History of NiMH Batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are essentially an extension of the proven sealed nickel-cadmium battery
technology with the substitution of a hydrogen-absorbing negative electrode for the cadmium-based electrode.
While this substitution increases the battery’s electrical capacity (measured in ampere-hours) for a given weight
and volume and eliminates the cadmium which raises toxicity concerns, the remainder of the nickel-metal
hydride battery is quite similar to the nickel-cadmium product. Many application parameters are little changed
between the two battery types. (Table 1) compares key design features between battery chemistries.
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 2 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
Typical Application
Features NiMH vs. Lithium Primary NiMH vs. Alkaline
Rated Voltage 1.25V vs. 1.5V 1.25V vs. 1.5V
Discharge Capacity
NiMH will not last as long as primary
lithium (single cycle) NiMH lasts longer in high drain, less in
light drain devices than alkaline
Recharge Capability Several hundred cycles for NiMH,
N/A for lithium primary Several hundred cycles for NiMH,
N/A for alkaline primary
Discharge Voltage Profile Both relatively flat discharge NiMH is flat vs. sloped
for alkaline
Self Discharge Rate NiMH retains 50-80% @ 12 months
Lithium retains >90% @ 15 years NiMH retains 50-80% @ 12 months
Alkaline retains 80% @ 10 years
Low Temperature
Performance Lithium better than NiMH NiMH better than alkaline
Battery Weight Lithium is lighter Alkaline is lighter
Environmental Issues Recycling options available
for NiMH and lithium Recycling options available
for NiMH and some alkaline
Table 1 - Summary Comparison of AA-AAA Nickel-Metal Hydride, Primary Lithium and Alkaline
General Characteristics
Typically can be recharged hundreds of times.
Efficient at high rate discharges.
Significantly higher capacity than nickel-cadmium batteries.
Typical expectancy life is 2 to 5 years.
Operates well at a wide range of temperatures:
Charging 0° C to 50° C
Discharging 0° C to 50° C
Battery Description
The nickel-metal hydride battery chemistry is a hybrid of the proven positive electrode chemistry of the sealed
nickel-cadmium battery with the energy storage features of metal alloys developed for advanced hydrogen
energy storage concepts. This heritage in a positive-limited battery design results in batteries providing
enhanced capacities while retaining the well-characterized electrical and physical design features of the sealed
nickel-cadmium battery design.
A cutaway (Fig. 1) of a typical cylindrical NiMH battery is illustrated in the following diagram:
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
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(Fig. 1) Typical NiMH Battery
Electrochemistry:
The electrochemistry of the nickel-metal hydride battery is generally represented by the following charge and
discharge reactions:
Charge
At the negative electrode, in the presence of the alloy and with an electrical potential applied, the water in the
electrolyte is decomposed into hydrogen atoms, which are absorbed into the alloy, and hydroxyl ions as
indicated below.
Alloy + H2O + e`‹› Alloy (H) + OH`
At the positive electrode, the charge reaction is based on the oxidation of nickel hydroxide just as it is in the
nickel-cadmium couple.
Ni(OH)2 + OH`‹› NiOOH + H2O + e`
Discharge
At the negative electrode, the hydrogen is desorbed and combines with a hydroxyl ion to form water while also
contributing an electron to the circuit.
Alloy (H) + OH`‹› Alloy + H2O + e`
At the positive electrode, nickel oxyhydroxide is reduced to its lower valence state, nickel hydroxide.
NiOOH + H2O + e`‹› Ni(OH)2 + OH`
Negative Electrode
The basic concept of the nickel-metal hydride battery negative electrode emanated from research on the
storage of hydrogen for use as an alternative energy source in the 1970s. Certain metallic alloys were observed
to form hydrides that could capture (and release) hydrogen in volumes up to nearly a thousand times their own
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
Energizer Brands, LLC. | 800-383-7323 | www.energizer.com
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
volume. By careful selection of the alloy constituents and proportions, the thermodynamics could be balanced to
permit the absorption and release process to proceed at room temperatures. The general result is shown
schematically in (Fig. 2) where the much smaller hydrogen atom is shown absorbed into the interstices of an
alloy crystal structure. The metal hydride electrode has a theoretical capacity >40 percent higher than the
cadmium electrode in a nickel-cadmium couple. As a result, nickel-metal hydride batteries provide energy
densities that are >20 percent higher than the equivalent nickel-cadmium battery.
(Fig. 2) Schematic of Metal-Alloy Structure Within NiMH Negative Electrode
Positive Electrode
The nickel-metal hydride positive electrode design draws heavily on experience with nickel-cadmium electrodes.
These electrodes are economical and rugged exhibiting excellent high-rate performance, long cycle life, and
good capacity. The present standard NiMH positive electrode is pasted and includes a Ni-foam carrier.
The balance between the positive and negative electrodes is adjusted so that the battery is always positive-
limited as illustrated in (Fig. 3). This means that the negative electrode possesses a greater capacity than the
positive. The positive will reach full capacity first as the battery is charged. It then will generate oxygen gas that
diffuses to the negative electrode where it is recombined. This oxygen recombination cycle is an efficient way of
handling low to moderate overcharge currents.
(Fig. 3) Relative Electrode Balances During Discharge/Charge/Overcharge
Electrolyte
The electrolyte used in the nickel-metal hydride battery is alkaline, a 20% to 40% weight % solution of alkaline
hydroxide containing other minor constituents to enhance battery performance.
Separator
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 5 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
The baseline material for the separator, which provides electrical isolation between the electrodes while still
allowing efficient ionic diffusion. Typically this is a non-woven polyolefin.
Battery Construction
The nickel-metal hydride couple lends itself to the wound construction shown in (Fig. 1), which is similar to that
used by cylindrical nickel-cadmium, LI ion and primary lithium batteries. The basic components consist of the
positive and negative electrodes insulated by separators. The sandwiched electrodes are wound together and
inserted into a metallic can that is sealed after injection of electrolyte.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are typically sealed designs with metallic cases and tops that are electrically
insulated from each other. The case serves, as the negative terminal for the battery while the top is the positive
terminal. Finished battery designs may use a plastic insulating wrapper shrunk over the case to provide
electrical isolation between cells in typical battery applications. Nickel-metal hydride batteries contain a
resealable safety vent built into the top, as shown in (Fig. 4). The nickel-metal hydride battery is designed so
the oxygen recombination cycle described earlier is capable of recombining gases formed during overcharge
under normal operating conditions, thus maintaining pressure equilibrium within the battery. However, in cases
of extended overcharge or incompatible battery/charger combinations for the operating environment, it is
possible that oxygen, and hydrogen, will be generated faster than it can be recombined. In such cases the
safety vent will open to reduce the pressure and prevent battery rupture. The vent reseals once the pressure is
relieved. The expulsion of gas thru the resealable vent can carry electrolyte, which may form crystals or rust
once outside the can.
(Fig. 4) Picture of Resealable Vent Mechanism
Discharging Characteristics
The discharge behavior of the nickel-metal hydride battery is generally well suited to the needs of today’s
electronic products - especially those requiring a stable voltage for extended periods of operations, or high rate
discharge.
Definitions of Capacity
The principal battery parameter of interest to a product designer is usually the run time available under a
specified equipment use profile. While establishing actual run times in the product is vital prior to final adoption
of a design; battery screening and initial design are often performed using rated capacities. Designers should
thoroughly understand the conditions under which a battery rating is established and the impact of differences
in rating conditions on projected performance. The standard battery rating, often abbreviated as C, is the
capacity obtained from a new, but thoroughly conditioned battery subjected to a constant-current discharge at
room temperature after being optimally charged. Since battery capacity varies inversely with the discharge rate,
capacity ratings depend on the discharge rate used. For nickel-metal hydride batteries, the rated capacity is
normally determined at a discharge rate that fully depletes the battery in five hours. Up to five cycles are
allowed to reach full capacity.
Many charge and discharge parameters are normalized by the C rate since battery performance within a family
of varying battery sizes and capacities is often identical when compared on the C basis.
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
Energizer Brands, LLC. | 800-383-7323 | www.energizer.com
©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 6 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
Internal Resistance
NiMH batteries have a relatively low internal resistance (IR) due to the wound construction, enhanced contacts
and large surface area of the electrodes. The low battery IR allows NiMH batteries to have excellent high rate
performance. The IR of fresh, fully charged NiMH batteries is typically less than 50 milliohms. During discharge,
the battery IR will stay relatively constant until near end of life where it will rise sharply.
The graph below (Fig. 5) shows the calculated IR (change in voltage ÷ change in current) during a 750 mA
discharge with a 10 mA pulse every 6 minutes. The IR of NiMH batteries will increase with age and use. This
would typically be seen in a lower operating voltage as well as a higher voltage during charge. IR is also
increased as you cycle the battery based on age and use.
(Fig. 5) Calculated IR
Voltage During Discharge
The discharge voltage profile, in addition to the transient effects discussed above, is affected by environmental
conditions, notably discharge temperature and discharge rate. However, under most conditions the voltage
curve retains the flat plateau desirable for electronics applications.
Shape of Discharge Curve
A typical discharge profile for a battery discharged at the 5-hour rate (the 0.2C rate) is shown in (Fig. 6). The
initial drop from an open-circuit voltage of approximately 1.4 volts to the 1.2 volt plateau occurs rapidly.
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
020 40 60 80 100 120
Voltage
Capacity Discharged (% of rated Capacity)
Midpoint Voltage (MPV)
Midpoint of Discharge
Knee of Discharge
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
(Fig. 6) Typical Discharge Profile / NiMH Battery
Similar to lithium AA primary batteries, the nickel-metal hydride battery exhibits a sharp "knee" at the end of
the discharge where the voltage drops quickly. As can be seen by the flatness of the plateau and the symmetry
of the curve, the mid-point voltage (MPV - the voltage when 50 percent of the available capacity is discharged)
provides a useful approximation to average voltage throughout the discharge.
Environmental Effects
The principal environmental influences on the location and shape of the voltage profile are the discharge
temperature and discharge rate. As indicated in (Fig. 7), small variations from room temperature (± 10oC) do
not appreciably affect the nickel-metal hydride battery voltage profile. However major excursions, especially
lower temperatures, will reduce the mid-point voltage while maintaining the general shape of the voltage
profile.
(Fig. 7) Midpoint Voltage Variation with Temperature
The effect of discharge rate on voltage profile is shown in (Fig. 8). There is no significant effect on the shape of
the discharge curves for rates under 1C; for rates over 1C; both the beginning and ending transients consume a
larger portion of the discharge duration.
(Fig. 8) Voltage Profile Variation with Discharge Rate
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
020 40 60 80
Voltage
Temperature (C)
AA NiMH Battery
Midpoint Voltage Variation with Temperature
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
020 40 60 80 100 120
Voltage
Capacity Discharged (% of rated Capacity)
AA NiMH Battery
Voltage Profile Variation with Discharge Rate
0.2C
1C
2C
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
100
(NiMH) Ellery/m Nickel Metal Hydride www.erlerglzer.com M Disdlatge Capacity semia- |Flg. 9i Variation nf Discharge Capacity wrth Temperature I S A major question for users of portable electronics is the run time left before they need to recharge their batteries. Users want some form of "fuel gauge' to help them determine when they need to charge again. A @2013 Energizer Brands, LLC. - This decument was prepared iar rhiorrnatianal purpeses nnly Do not use this aetument as a legal titatien to authority. Page a oi 14
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
Discharge Capacity Behavior
As with the voltage profile, the capacity available during discharge is dramatically affected by the battery
temperature during discharge and the rate of discharge. The capacity is also heavily influenced by the history of
the battery, i.e. the charge/discharge/storage history of the battery. A battery can only discharge the capacity
which has been returned to it from the previous charge cycle less whatever is lost to self discharge.
Effect of Temperature
The primary effects of battery temperature on dischargeable capacity, assuming adequate charging, are at
lower temperatures (<0oC) as shown in (Fig. 9). Use of nickel metal hydride batteries in cold environments may
force significant capacity derating from room-temperature values.
(Fig. 9) Variation of Discharge Capacity with Temperature
(Fig. 10) illustrates the influence of discharge rate on total capacity available. There is no significant effect on
capacity for discharge rates below 1C. At discharge rates above 1C and below the current maximum discharge
rate of 4C, significant reductions in voltage delivery occur. This voltage reduction may also result in capacity
reduction depending on the choice of discharge termination voltage.
(Fig. 10) Effect of Discharge Rate on Capacity
State-of-Charge Measurement
A major question for users of portable electronics is the run time left before they need to recharge their
batteries. Users want some form of "fuel gauge" to help them determine when they need to charge again. A
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
-20 -10 010 20 30 40 50
Actual Capacity (% Rated Capacity)
Discharge Temperature (C)
AA NiMH Battery
Variation of Discharge Capacity with Temperature
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
0 1 2 3 4 5
Actual Capacity (% Rated Capacity)
Discharge Rate (Multiples of C)
AA NiMH Battery
Effect of Discharge Rate on Capacity
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
variety of schemes for measuring state-of-charge have been suggested. The flatness of the voltage plateau
under normal discharge rates, and due to dependence on cycles and time parameters, voltage sensing cannot
be used to accurately determine state-of-charge.
To date, the only form of state-of-charge sensing found to consistently give reasonable results is coulometry
comparing the electrical flows during charge and discharge with self discharge compensation to indicate the
capacity remaining.
Memory/Voltage Depression
Again, this is no longer a concern. The issue of "memory" or voltage depression was a concern for many
designers of devices, using nickel-cadmium batteries. In some applications where nickel-cadmium batteries are
routinely partially discharged, a depression in the discharge voltage profile of approximately 150 mV per battery
has been reported when the discharge extends from the routinely discharged to rarely discharged zones. While
the severity of this problem in nickel-cadmium batteries is open to differing interpretations, the source of the
effect is generally agreed to be in the structure of the cadmium electrode. With the elimination of cadmium in
the nickel-metal hydride battery, memory is no longer a concern.
Discharge Termination
To prevent the potential for irreversible harm to the battery caused by battery reversal in discharge, removal of
the load from the battery prior to total discharge is highly recommended. The typical voltage profile for a
battery carried through a total discharge involves a dual plateau voltage profile as indicated in (Fig. 11). The
voltage plateaus are caused by the discharge of first the positive electrode and then the residual capacity in the
negative. At the point both electrodes are reversed, substantial hydrogen gas evolution occurs, which may
result in battery venting as well as irreversible damage.
(Fig. 11) Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery Polarity Reversal Voltage Profile
A key to avoiding harm to the battery is to terminate prior to reaching the second plateau where damage may
occur. Two issues complicate the selection of the proper voltage for discharge termination: high-rate discharges
and multiple-cell applications.
Voltage Cutoff at High Rates
Normally discharge cutoff is based on voltage drops with a value of 0.9 volts per battery (75 percent of the 1.2
volt per battery nominal mid-point voltage) often being used. 0.9 volts is an excellent value for most medium to
long-term discharge for individual battery applications (<1C). However, with high drain-rate usage (1-4C), the
change in shape in the voltage curve with the more rounded "knee" to the curve means that an arbitrary
0.9V/battery cutoff may be premature, leaving a significant fraction of the battery capacity untapped. For this
reason, a better choice for voltage cutoff in high-rate applications is 75 percent of the mid-point voltage at that
discharge rate. Note, however, that this choice of end-of-discharge voltage (EODV) is dictated only by
considerations of preventing damage to the battery.
-2.0
-1.0
0.0
1.0
2.0
050 100 150 200
Voltage
% of Nominal Capacity Removed
AA NiMH Battery
Midpoint Voltage Variation with Temperature
Normal Discharge
Cell Capacity
Overdischarge
One Electrode
Reversed
Both
Electrodes
Reversed
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
There may be end-application justification for selection of a higher voltage cutoff with the resulting sacrifice of
some potential additional capacity.
Cycle Life
Many factors can affect NiMH (charge / discharge) cycle life. Some of these factors do include battery capacity,
temperature, depth of discharge, design materials, charge and discharge current, exposure to overcharge and
over discharge, storage conditions, and age. Some of these factors can cause gas generation within the battery
which can lead to activation of the safety vent and subsequent permanent deterioration of the battery. Under
ideal controlled conditions, up to one thousand cycles can be obtained with NiMH batteries. However, in real
world use, the factors mentioned above can have a negative impact on the number of total cycles that may be
experienced.
Charging Characteristics
Proper charging of nickel-metal hydride batteries is a key factor to satisfaction with performance. Successful
charging balances the need for quick, thorough charging with the need to minimize overcharging, a key factor
in prolonging life. In addition, a selected charger should be economical and reliable in use. See charger manual
for additional information on charging techniques and termination.
In general, the nickel-metal hydride battery is more sensitive to charging conditions than the nickel-cadmium
battery. Under charging can cause low service where overcharging can cause loss of cycle life.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries operate on an exothermic, hydrogen-based charging and oxygen recombination
process. Precautions should be taken to avoid venting. Should venting occur, the vent gases must be properly
managed.
(Fig. 12) sketches typical behavior of a nickel-metal hydride battery being charged at the C rate. These curves
both indicate why charge control is important and illustrate some of the battery characteristics used to
determine when charge control should be applied.
The voltage spikes up on initial charging then continues to rise gradually through charging until full charge is
achieved. Then as the battery reaches full charge, the voltage peaks and then gradually trends down.
Since the charge process is exothermic, heat is being released throughout charging giving a positive slope to
the temperature curve. When the battery reaches overcharge where the bulk of the electrical energy input to
the battery is converted to heat, the battery temperature increases dramatically. Battery pressure, which
increases somewhat during the charge process, also rises dramatically in overcharge as greater quantities of
gas are generated at the C rate than the battery can recombine. Without a safety vent, uncontrolled charging at
this rate could result in physical damage to the battery.
(Fig. 12) Increasing Battery Pressure
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120%
Voltage
Charge Input (% rated capacity)
NiMH NH15 AA Battery
Charge Characteristics
Voltage
Pressure
Temperature
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
(NiMH) Energizer Nickel Metal Hydride www energlzer com IF Typi prot hatt at: 14 (C Essen tyric is a tam re d 0 Ba ca P NiMH batteries will self discharge due to slow internal electrochemical rea within patteries. These reactions gradually drain the hattery over time. Ni approximately 50% to 80% oi their capacity after 12 months oi storage. temperatures will self discharge iaster due to the increased reaction rate Recommended storage Conditions for Maximum flattery Perfamlance store at the lowest reasiole temperatures (-20"C to 30°C being the generally recommended mum Energizer Brands, LLC. , This document was piepared lar ihiormatlanal purposes only Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 11 oi 14
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
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Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
Charge acceptance in the nickel-metal hydride battery decreases with rising temperature beginning below 20°C
and continuing through the upper limits of normal battery operation (Fig. 13).
(Fig. 13) Effect of Charge Rate on Charge Acceptance
Recommended Charging Rates
Typically a moderate rate (2 to 3 hour) smart charger is preferred for NiMH batteries. The batteries are
protected from overcharge by the smart charger circuitry. Extremely fast charging (less than 1 hour) can impact
battery cycle life and should be limited to an as needed basis. Slow overnight timer based chargers are also
acceptable and can be an economical alternative to smart chargers. A charger that applies a 0.1 C rate for 12 to
14 hours is well suited for NiMH batteries. Finally a maintenance (or trickle) charge rate of less than 0.025 C
(C/40) is recommended. The use of very small trickle charges is preferred to reduce the negative effects of
overcharging.
Storage
This guidance is not intended for bulk transportation or bulk storage of NiMH batteries.
Essentially all batteries gradually discharge over time whether they are used or not. This capacity loss is
typically due to slow parasitic reactions occurring within the battery. As such, the loss rate (self-discharge rate)
is a function of the battery chemistry and the temperature environment experienced by the battery. Due to the
temperature sensitivity of the self-discharge reactions, relatively small differences in storage temperature may
result in large differences in self-discharging rate. Extended storage with a load connected not only speeds the
discharge process, but may also cause chemical changes after the battery is discharged, which may be difficult
or impossible to reverse.
Battery storage issues of concern to most consumers relate either to the speed with which the cells lose their
capacity after being charged or the ability of the cells to charge and discharge "normally" after storage for some
period of time
Self Discharge
NiMH batteries will self discharge due to slow internal electrochemical reactions that continually take place
within batteries. These reactions gradually drain the battery over time. NiMH batteries will typically retain
approximately 50% to 80% of their capacity after 12 months of storage. NiMH batteries that are stored at high
temperatures will self discharge faster due to the increased reaction rates caused by the elevated temperature.
Recommended Storage Conditions for Maximum Battery Performance
Store at the lowest feasible temperatures (-20°C to 30°C being the generally recommended
storage temperatures).
Store batteries open-circuit to eliminate loaded storage effects (see next page).
Store in a charged condition (except for large bulk volumes).
Store in a clean, dry, protected environment to minimize physical damage to batteries.
Use good inventory practices (first in, first out) to reduce time batteries spend in storage.
60
70
80
90
100
110
-10 010 20 30 40 50
Actual Capacity (% Rated Capacity)
Charge Temperature (C)
AA NiMH Battery
Effect of Charge Temperature on Discharge Capacity
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
Energizer Brands, LLC. | 800-383-7323 | www.energizer.com
©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 12 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
Capacity Recovery After Storage
In normal practice, stored batteries will provide full capacity on the first discharge after removal from storage
and charging with standard methods. Batteries stored for an extended period or at elevated temperatures may
require more than one cycle to attain pre-storage capacities. Consultation with the manufacturer is
recommended if prolonged storage and rapid restoration of capacity is planned.
Consumer usage batteries intended for storage for extended periods of time (past the point where they are fully
discharged) should be removed from the device. In particular, many portable electronic devices place a very
low-level drain requirement on their batteries even when in the "off" position. These micro-current loads may
be sustaining volatile memory, powering sense circuits or even maintaining switch positions. Such loads should
be eliminated when storing batteries for protracted periods. When nickel-metal hydride batteries are stored
under load, small quantities of electrolyte can ultimately begin to seep around the seals or through the vent.
This creep leakage may result in the formation of crystals of potassium carbonate, which detract cosmetically
from the appearance of the battery. In extreme cases, creep leakage can result in corrosion of batteries, or the
device components. Although such occurrences are rare, positive methods of electrically isolating the battery,
such as an insulating tape over the positive terminal or removal from the device are suggested for applications
requiring extended storage of batteries.
Factors Affecting Life
The way the nickel-metal hydride battery is used by consumers can have dramatic effects on the life of the
battery. This is especially true of the choice of the charger to ensure adequate return of charge while
minimizing overcharge. In fact, effective control of overcharge exposure, time and charge rate is the way of
enhancing battery life. Expected battery life is two to five years.
Degree of Overcharge
Establishing the appropriate degree of overcharge for a battery-powered application is dependent on the usage
scenario. Some overcharge of the battery is vital to ensure that all batteries are fully charged and balanced, but
maintenance of full charge currents for extended periods once the battery has reached full charge can reduce
life.
Exposure to High Temperatures
In general, higher temperatures accelerate chemical reactions including those, which contribute, to the aging
process within the battery. High temperatures are a particular concern in the charging process as charge
acceptance is reduced. Sensing the transition from charge to overcharge is also more difficult at higher
temperatures.
Battery Reversal
Discharge of nickel-metal hydride batteries to the degree that some or all of the batteries go into reverse can
shorten battery life, especially if this over discharge is repeated routinely.
Prolonged Storage under Load
Maintaining a load on a battery past the point of full discharge may cause irreversible changes in the battery
chemistry and promote life-limiting phenomena such as creep leakage.
Limiting Mechanisms
The life of any battery is determined by a combination of abrupt failure events and gradual battery
deterioration. With the nickel-metal hydride battery, abrupt failures, typically mechanical events resulting in the
battery either shorting or going open-circuit, are relatively rare and randomly distributed. Battery deterioration
can take two forms:
Oxidation of the negative active material that increases battery internal resistance resulting in
reduction of available voltage from the battery (mid-point voltage
depression). This also affects the
balance between electrodes within the battery and may possibly result in reduced gas
recombination, increased pressure, and ultimately, battery venting.
Deterioration of the positive active material results in less active material being available for
reaction with the consequent loss of capacity.
Both phenomena result in a loss of usable capacity, but pose differing design issues. Mid-point voltage
depression requires that the application design be able to adapt to variations in supply voltage from cycle to
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
Energizer Brands, LLC. | 800-383-7323 | www.energizer.com
©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 13 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
cycle. Capacity reduction simply requires that initial battery selection be sized to provide adequate capacity at
end-of-life for the desired number of batteries.
The actual mechanism that will determine battery life may vary depending on application parameters and the
battery characteristics. Development work has reduced oxidation in the negative electrode reducing the
depression in mid-point voltage as the battery ages.
Device Design Considerations
Materials of Construction
The materials of construction for the nickel-metal hydride battery external surfaces are largely comprised of
nickel-plated steel, and therefore, are resistant to attack by most environmental agents.
Orientation
The device can be designed with nickel-metal hydride batteries in any orientation as long as proper polarity is
observed.
Temperature
Like most other batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries operate optimally in a near-room-temperature
environment (25°C); however, with careful attention to design parameters, they remain functional even when
exposed to a much wider range of temperatures.
Operating
Nickel-metal hydride batteries can be used in temperatures from 0 to 50°C with appropriate derating of capacity
at both the high and low ends of the range. Design charging systems to return capacity in high or low
temperature environments without damaging the battery. Overcharge requires special attention.
Household Storage
Consumer use household batteries are best stored in temperatures from 0 to 30°C although storage for limited
periods of time at higher temperatures is feasible. (Not for bulk transportation or storage)
Shock and Vibration
Nickel-metal hydride batteries can withstand the normal shock and vibration loads experienced by portable
electronic equipment in day-to-day handling and shipping.
Battery Cavity Design (Not for bulk transportation and storage)
The primary gases emitted from the nickel-metal hydride battery when subjected to excessive overcharge or
over-discharge is hydrogen and oxygen. Although venting of gas to the outside environment should not occur
during typical use, isolation of the battery compartment from other electronics (especially mechanical switches
that might generate sparks) and provision of adequate ventilation to the compartment are required to eliminate
concerns regarding possible hydrogen ignition. Battery compartment should not be air tight. Isolation of the
battery from heat-generating components and ventilation around the battery will also reduce thermal stress on
the battery and ease design of appropriate charging systems.
Care and Handling
This guidance is not intended for bulk transportation or bulk storage of NiMH batteries.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries for consumer use and device designs should be handled with care.
General Safety Precautions for Device Design
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are safe; however, like any battery, they should be treated with care. Issues in
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Handbook and Application Manual
Nickel Metal Hydride
Energizer Brands, LLC. | 800-383-7323 | www.energizer.com
©2018 Energizer Brands, LLC. This document was prepared for informational purposes only. Do not use this document as a legal citation to authority. Page 14 of 14
Contents herein do not constitute a warranty of service, features or performance
dealing with nickel-metal hydride batteries include the following:
For devices with tightly sealed or water proof battery compartments, hydrogen gas generation
under normal or abusive conditions needs to be addressed as a potential safety issue to prevent
the accumulation of dangerous levels of hydrogen gas within the device.
Nickel metal hydride batteries can generate high currents if shorted. These currents are sufficient
to cause burns or ignition of flammable materials.
The active materials in the negative electrode can ignite on exposure to air. They electrolyte is also
corrosive and capable of causing chemical burns. For these reasons, the battery should be
maintained intact.
Disposal and Recycling
This guidance is not intended for bulk transportation or bulk storage of NiMH batteries.
Contact your local waste disposal management authority for guidelines concerning NiMH disposal. Each
community can have their own procedures which need to be followed. A few basic Energizer guidelines are:
Discharge fully prior to disposal.
Do not incinerate.
Do not open or puncture batteries.
Observe all national, state, and local rules and regulations for disposal of rechargeable batteries.
Recycling
Through a national program, Call2Recycle™, the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) can
help you recycle your used portable rechargeable batteries and old cell phones. RBRC can be contacted at 1-
800-8-BATTERY or at http://www.rbrc.org/call2recycle
Shipping/Transportation Guidelines
This guidance is not intended for bulk transportation or bulk storage of NiMH batteries.
Please contact Energizer for further details and recent guidelines at
1-800-383-7323 USA/CAN - http://www.energizer.com/pages/enr-contact.aspx
Contents
Introduction
Battery
Description
Discharging
Characteristics
Charging
Characteristics
Storage
Device Design
Considerations
Care and Handling
Disposal and
Recycling

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