How do lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries work, in detail?

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Offline steviereal

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Hello!

We can read tons of superficial explanations about how Lithium ion batteries work, but some key points are unclear to me.
My problem is I don't understand where the electrons come from and how attraction-repulsion forces are at  the right places at the right time.
Are electrons ripped of from one of the terminals? If there are Li+ ions at the same terminal too, how come they don't happily embrace these free electrons? It looks like there is a positive surplus at the other terminal and that's what is pulling the electrons. So the electrons move to that terminal and so do the positive Lithium ions. How come the Li ions are "welcome" at that terminal and not repulsed, since that terminal has a positive surplus?
(By terminals I mean anode and cathode but if I chose either of them I might also make a mistake which one is which...)
« Last Edit: 02/05/2013 23:51:34 by chris »