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I was thinking about my phone (Sony Xperia Z2) and when I put it to charge and remove it, the phone says "Please remove the charger, to save battery life," which is very intuitive question for a middle school student because of my lack of scientific knowledge

Why do batteries become weaker as I use it more and charge it more?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean unintuitive? $\endgroup$ – BMS Jul 4 '14 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ This might be helpful. $\endgroup$ – 299792458 Jul 5 '14 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ I think your title question would benefit from asking specifically about batteries becoming weaker over a lifetime of recharging. $\endgroup$ – farrenthorpe Jul 5 '14 at 13:35
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As I recall some models of Samsung phones display the same message but many phones don't. My Nexus 5 does not and my LG tablet does not.

Modern phones use lithium batteries. It is important that these are not overcharged because this degrades the batteries by forming deposits of metallic lithium. However all modern phones will automatically stop charging as soon as the battery reaches 100%. So there is no danger associated with leaving the charger connected.

If you leave the charger connected the phone will go into a cycle of:

  1. stop charging at 100%
  2. run on the phone battery till the level drops to 9x% (the value of x depends on the phone)
  3. start charging again
  4. go back to step 1

However with modern batteries this won't have any effect on the battery life. I suspect the warning is just a throwback to the days when this sort of incremental charging could reduce battery life. Lithium batteries generally shouldn't be stored for long periods at 100% - that's why when you get a new phone the manufacturer will have charged the battery to around 50%. So I suppose you would reduce battery life if you left it on the charger for weeks at a time.

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    $\begingroup$ It would be nice if you could further explain why deposits of metallic lithium develop and how they degrade performance. Would also be nice if you could expand your answer to more than just lithium batteries... as this phenomena was asked in general, with cell phone batteries used as the example. $\endgroup$ – farrenthorpe Jul 5 '14 at 13:39
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Every action performed by a battery is as a result of a series of chemical reactions.Inside a battery there might be a setup for electrolytic or electrochemical cell reactions.So the durability of a battery depends on the type of electrodes and electrolytes used and their longevity.Mobile phones in general use Lithium ion batteries.

You may consult the following websites for further details:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/battery3.htm

http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~cchieh/cact/c123/battery.html

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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't really answer the question. Anyway, wouldn't no charge flow through the battery when its terminal potential matches the output voltage of the charger? $\endgroup$ – shortstheory Jul 5 '14 at 7:28

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