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Nickel Cadmium Battery (NiCd)


The first Nickel Cadmium Battery was invented by Waldmar Jungner in 1899. At that time, lead-acid was the only direct competitor that was physically and chemically robust. Jungner offered several advantages over the lead-acid battery, but the materials were expensive and use was limited. In 1932, active materials were deposited in a porous, nickel-plated electrode. And after 14 years, the first production in the US began in 1946.

 

 

Fast charging of a nickel cadmium battery 

Because the battery is robust and can be charged ultra-fast with little stress, this chemistry soon gained a high popularity and the battery is still used for its good charging performance; the long shelf life (can be stored in a discharged state) and simple storage and transport. The battery gives good performance at low temperatures and is economically priced. This means that NiCD often has the lowest price in terms of costs per cycle. The battery is available in a wide range of sizes and performance options.

 

Memory effect

Standard NiCd needs proper care to achieve a long life. nickel cadmium batteries can have a "memory effect" when discharged and charged hundreds of times to the same state of charge. The battery seems to remember the previous energy delivered and once a routine is established, it doesn't want to give anymore.

 

Partly banned

As of January 1, 2017, the sale of Nkkel cadmium batteries for small appliances, such as portable power tools, is no longer allowed in Europe. The special exemption issued for this purpose expired on 31 December 2016. The reason why NiCd batteries have been banned for consumer use is because they contain the highly toxic cadmium and therefore the batteries are very harmful to the environment. It is therefore very important that these batteries are recycled properly. NiCd batteries used for the applications listed below fall outside this regulation and may still be sold:

  • Medical uses
  • Safety uses (including alarms and emergency lighting)
  • Batteries for industrial and professional use

 

Upsides of NiCD batteries:

  • Robust, long cycle time with good maintenance
  • Battery that can be charged ultra-fast with little stress
  • Good charging performance
  • Long shelf life; can be stored in a discharged condition
  • Simple storage and transport; not subject to legal audit
  • Good performance at low temperatures
  • Economically priced: NiCD is the cheapest in terms of costs per cycle

 

Downsides of NiCD batteries:

  • Relatively low specific energy as compared to newer systems
  • Memory effect; requires periodical full discharges
  • Cadmium is a toxic metal. Cannot be disposed of on waste dumps
  • High self-discharge; must be recharged after storage

 

 

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