Lithium primary batteries exist in a number of different chemistries, using many varieties of cathodes and electrolytes. Lithium primary cells are a widely used consumer-grade battery and are used in many portable consumer electronic devices.
Lithium’s negative potential for battery packs is higher than that of any other metal. Batteries and battery packs based on lithium chemistries have the highest specific energy (energy per unit weight) and energy density (energy per unit volume) of all battery types. Lithium cells generally have OCVs (open circuit voltages) of between 1.8 and 3.9 V. Lithium batteries maintain higher voltage for longer periods than alkaline cells in similar applications.
Though they can be more expensive than batteries using different chemistries, lithium batteries offer longer life due to their high charge density, which can offset the higher initial cost. Many lithium cells do, however, have a relatively high internal impedance which can limit them to mostly low drain applications. Special high rate lithium primary cells are available that typically have less capacity or run time than their low drain counterparts in the same size packages.
Lithium primary batteries are found in a range of sizes and formats, from small button cells to AAAs to 9-volts and completely custom battery pack designs. Small lithium cells are commonly used to power small, portable electronic devices like watches, digital cameras, calculators and remote car locks. Larger lithium cells and battery assemblies are found in many medical, defense, and industrial applications.