C-rate of Battery

An electric battery is essentially a source of DC electrical energy. It converts stored chemical energy into electrical energy through an electrochemical process. This then provides a source of electromotive force to enable currents to flow in electric and electronic circuits. A typical battery consists of one or more voltaic cells. 

The fundamental principle in an electrochemical cell is spontaneous redox reactions in two electrodes separated by an electrolyte, which is a substance that is ionic conductive and electrically insulated.

C-rate of Battery

C-rate is used to express how fast a battery is discharged or charged relative to its maximum capacity. It has the units h−1. The energy contained in a battery can be discharged at different rates, which means that the higher the discharge current is, the shorter the working time of the battery. In the same way, the lower the discharge current, the longer the time to discharge it completely will be needed. High C-rates generate more heat and cause the temperature of the cell to rise invoking the high-temperature degradation mechanisms. C-rate reduces the usable life and capacity of a battery. Manufacturers often publish datasheets with graphs showing capacity versus C-rate curves. A 1C rate means that the discharge current will discharge the entire battery in 1 hour. For a battery with a capacity of 100 Amp-hrs, this equates to a discharge current of 100 Amps. Standards for rechargeable batteries generally rate the capacity and charge cycles over a 4-hour (0.25C), 8 hour (0.125C) or longer discharge time.

  • Alkaline battery. To obtain a reasonably good capacity reading, manufacturers commonly rate alkaline and lead acid batteries at a very low 0.05C, or a 20-hour discharge.
  • According to Energizer, for NiMH batteries, the normal discharge rate is 0.2C. The battery nominal capacity is measured at this rate. At a higher discharge rate, the actual capacity of the battery will be much less than the nominal. The NiMH battery could be discharged at a maximum 3C rate.
  • Most li-ion batteries can only withstand a maximum temperature of 60°C and are recommended to be charged at a maximum of 45°C under a 0.5C charge rate. C rating for a 18650 battery is usually 1C, this means that we can consume a maximum of 2.85A from the battery.

To avoid danger or premature capacity degradation, it is necessary to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Other Characteristics

To compare and understand the capability of each battery, some important parameters are characteristic of each battery, also within a type of battery. These parameters are a reference when a battery is needed, and specific qualities are required since batteries are used in all types of devices and for infinite purposes.

Cell Voltage

The voltage of electric batteries is created by the potential difference of the materials that compose the positive and negative electrodes in the electrochemical reaction.

Cut-off Voltage

The cut-off voltage is the minimum allowable voltage. It is this voltage that generally defines the “empty” state of the battery.


The coulometric capacity is the total Amp-hours available when the battery is discharged at a certain discharge current from 100% SOC to the cut-off voltage.

C-rate of Battery

The cut-off voltage is the minimum allowable voltage. It is this voltage that generally defines the “empty” state of the battery.


Batteries gradually self-discharge even if not connected and delivering current. This is due to non-current-producing “side” chemical reactions that occur within the cell even when no load is applied.


Some degradation of rechargeable batteries occurs on each charge–discharge cycle. Degradation usually occurs because electrolyte migrates away from the electrodes or because active material detaches from the electrodes.

Depth of Discharge

Depth of discharge is a measure of how much energy has been withdrawn from a battery and is expressed as a percentage of full capacity. For example, a 100 Ah battery from which 40 Ah has been withdrawn has undergone a 40% depth of discharge (DOD).

State of Charge

The state of charge refers to the amount of charge in a battery relative to its predefined “full” and “empty” states i.e. the amount of charge in Amp-hours left in the battery.

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