Theoretically, a rechargeable battery should last till eternity because we recharge it every time to its 100% capacity. But practically, every battery has a finite life. And at the end of its life cycle the battery meets its death. The factors affecting battery life cycle are time, temperature and cycle life. We will try to understand how these factors, especially cycle life, affect the life cycle of a battery.
Battery Cycle Life
Each round of full discharge and then full recharge is called battery cycle life. A battery’s cycle life can range from 500 to 1200. That means a life cycle of 18 months to 3 years for a typical battery. If your battery is older than that, you are on borrowed time!! The battery doesn’t die suddenly upon reaching its maximum cycle life. It starts deteriorating faster and its capacity to be recharged fully decreases. You will find yourself recharging very frequently.
Repeated charging weakens the battery further due to repeated heating. You can minimize the adverse effects of repeated charging by using correct battery chargers. Your battery could still go a further 700-1000 cycles till it reaches the end of its life.
Time Kills a Battery
Time and tide wait for none. And same is the case with a battery. Whether you use it or not, the battery will deteriorate with time and eventually die. This is due to factors like increased internal resistance, loss of electrolyte, crystallization of electrodes, etc. The time effect was described by Arrhenius and is widely used by battery designers in estimating the life cycle of a battery. You need to remember that a battery will self-discharge itself even when idle.
Temperature affects both performance and life cycle of a battery (Battery and Temperature). Arrhenius Law also describes how a rise temperature speeds up the chemical reactions inside the battery. So whether you are using the battery or not, higher temperature means faster reactions and hence quicker discharge of the battery.
A rechargeable battery has a finite life cycle before it becomes unusable. You can extend this by proper maintenance, correct operating temperature, and regular but correct use.