There are often questions regarding batteries. One of the more frequently asked is, “Can batteries expire?”
Batteries are small power stations that convert chemical reactions to electrical energy.
Shelf life of batteries depends on the chemicals contained within them, how long it has been idle and storage temperature; its length varies based on brand.
Knowing when a battery’s expiration date arrives is vitally important as it lets you know when it needs replacing. Batteries typically last three to five years with proper usage, though this varies based on type and brand of product you purchase.
Poor battery performance is a serious worry among light electric vehicle owners, as its self-discharge rate causes batteries to gradually lose charge even when not being used.
There are various methods you can use to check the expiration date of a battery, the most straightforward of which is looking at its packaging – usually near chemical composition or type information – where this date will often be highlighted with color text or some other standout feature.
Some batteries also feature an external date code which can be deciphered through strip, engraving or heat stamp with alphanumeric characters. The first two characters indicate when it was manufactured while remaining characters will give month and year information; for instance a seven would signify it was manufactured in 2017.
If you cannot read the date code on your battery case, contact your local auto mechanic or check round stickers attached to its top for help. Additionally, some battery cases are fitted with round stickers displaying their date of manufacture on their top surface.
Most commonly, you will be able to identify whether or not a battery has become expired by its self-discharge rate – the length of time taken for its charge to completely drain when left alone; typically speaking, the higher its self-discharge rate means its status has changed to expired sooner.
Self-discharge rate refers to the rate at which a battery loses energy over time while sitting idle in storage, and can vary based on factors like its chemistry, brand name, environment and temperature.
Self-discharge rates of batteries play a critical role in their lifespan and recharging needs, as they must be recharged more frequently with higher rates. Overcharging can shorten their lifespan significantly.
Self-discharge is a natural process within batteries that affects both anode and cathode materials, ultimately decreasing its charge capacity over time.
Batteries used to store electricity, like those in cars, typically exhibit a higher self-discharge rate compared to batteries designed for other uses such as power tools or cell phones. Luckily, manufacturers monitor production for signs of this issue and can alter design specifications to reduce this rate of discharge.
Lithium-ion batteries’ self-discharge depends on various factors, including its chemistry, voltage, temperature and age.
Lithium-ion cells with bobbin-type chemistry tend to experience lower self-discharge rates than cylindrical cell variants, making them the more suitable choice for applications requiring long battery lives.
However, this can also be detrimental in other applications; if a Li-ion battery’s self-discharge rate falls too low it could increase the risk of becoming damaged or even exploding.
As cell voltage drops too far below its optimal levels, copper dendrites could form and create an electric current path through them, possibly leading to a faulty separator and other protection circuit issues in addition to catastrophic system failure.
Testing for self-discharge is therefore a top priority in battery manufacturing, with two methods used to do so being: delta open-circuit voltage measurement method and potentiostatic method.
Shelf life of batteries refers to their storage ability without charging or discharging, and understanding this information can help ensure you do not purchase batteries that won’t provide adequate useable life spans.
A battery’s lifespan depends on its type, chemistry, brand name, storage environment and temperature conditions; but its self-discharge rate – the amount of charge lost while sitting idle in storage – is the main determining factor.
Alkaline, lead acid and nickel cadmium batteries tend to have shorter shelf lives compared to rechargeables; on the other hand, lithium batteries have proven their longevity over time.
While batteries do not have an expiration date, their rate of self-discharge eventually reaches 80% of their initial charge and when this occurs the battery should be considered expired and no longer effective.
If you are storing batteries at home, it is crucial that they are stored correctly to maximize their shelf life and extend their usefulness. This means avoiding excessive heat or humidity as well as keeping them in their original packaging if possible.
Battery manufacturers advise keeping batteries stored in an area free from direct sunlight to reduce the rate at which they lose their charge. This may help extend their shelf life.
Increase the life of your batteries by placing them in an enclosed container or bag instead of directly on a shelf. This will protect them from becoming damp, thus increasing their lifespan.
Batteries should never come into contact with objects or materials that can short circuit, including paper clips and keys.
For warehouses that store and distribute batteries, utilizing either the FEFO or FIFO system to avoid inventory becoming outdated is vital for keeping batteries safe and functional when they reach consumers.
Though batteries often last a lifetime, some will eventually need replacing – and luckily this process usually doesn’t prove too difficult or costly.
As the first step, locate your battery’s expiration date. Typically printed on its packaging or box in a way that makes it easily distinguishable from all of the information provided by its manufacturer, this date should be easily located and read by you.
Sometimes the date can even be found directly on a battery itself – some models feature small stickers or markings with their production date while others contain decipherable alphanumeric codes which will provide more details of when your battery was made – just dial any number from zero to nine and select any letter between A and L to complete this process.
Ideally, it is wise to replace your battery as soon as possible to avoid performance issues and ensure optimal use. This is particularly important if you own an electric vehicle as an aged battery will significantly decrease range while becoming heavier to ride.
Keep an eye out for the self-discharge rate of each battery brand, as this will vary. Monitor how quickly its charge depletes while sitting unused.
As a rule of thumb, it’s wise to replace your battery before its recommended shelf life has expired; doing so could save money in the long run.
Based on your battery type and usage habits, it may also be wise to purchase replacement cells with higher capacities than their original versions. This will save time and hassle when charging your battery, saving valuable minutes each day. Finally, take care not to overcharge as this can damage and shorten its lifespan significantly – particularly important if using lithium-ion batteries in an electric vehicle.