How quickly can you charge a bat­tery?

The Guardian - Journal - - The briefing -

Charg­ing a bat­tery uses elec­tric­ity to force a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion to hap­pen in re­verse. The big­gest is­sue with fast-charg­ing a bat­tery is safety. The more en­ergy you force into the bat­tery, the quicker it will charge, but it also gen­er­ates more heat. The hot­ter the bat­tery gets, the more chance there is of swelling and a fail­ure of one of the many lay­ers within the bat­tery that could cause a short cir­cuit or sim­i­lar fault lead­ing to po­ten­tially fiery con­se­quences. There­fore, the speed of charg­ing is care­fully reg­u­lated by mul­ti­ple smart sys­tems, bal­anc­ing the amount of cur­rent forced into the bat­tery, the heat of the cell and its sur­round­ing com­po­nents. It may ap­pear to be a dumb elec­tric­ity ca­ble, but when you plug in your de­vice a se­ries of checks are made be­fore and dur­ing charg­ing. For in­stance, Huawei’s 40W fast charg­ing for its smart­phones, among the fastest cur­rently avail­able, runs through a five-gate pro­tec­tion sys­tem when you plug the phone in. This in­cludes the charger iden­ti­fy­ing it­self, the ca­ble and con­nec­tion be­ing checked, the phone fig­ur­ing out the max­i­mum power draw, and con­stant mon­i­tor­ing of the ther­mal safety lim­its of the bat­tery and charg­ing cir­cuit. Oth­ers such as OnePlus’s fast charge offload some of the charg­ing con­trol cir­cuitry to the charger to help keep heat away from the bat­tery. Need­less to say, the higher the den­sity of the com­po­nents and bat­tery, the more dif­fi­cult it is to charge it fast and safely.

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