Lithium Polymer, lithium-ion polymer or commonly known as Li-Po batteries are lithium-ion batteries that use polymer as an electrolyte instead of liquid electrolyte. These are rechargeable batteries used in many of the electronic devices nowadays.
Li-Po batteries are light-weight batteries and can be made in any shape or size. When compared to NiMH these batteries have limited sizing options and are heavier in weight then Li-Po batteries. NiMH has lower discharge rates whereas Li-Po has higher discharge rates enabling them to pack more punch. They also have higher capacities as compared to NiMH batteries enabling them to hold much more power.
Some of the cons of these batteries should also be discussed. They have much shorter life spans like 150-250 charge cycles whereas NiMH has up to 1000 cycles lifespan. Li-Po batteries need special care while charging, storage, and discharging. Their sensitive chemistry also leads them to catch fire and today we are also going to discuss how these batteries explode. If, yes then why this happens, what are its causes and how can they be protected from exploding.
How long can Li-Po batteries be stored
These batteries can be stored safely for 2-3 years and can become worthless after 203 days. It depends on how you store them. Scared? Well, don’t worry it only means that you must discharge your batteries to 3.8V-3.9V before storing them for a long time. If your batteries are just lying there and not being used then 2-3 days of no activity is fine but after that, your battery can be damaged, you must discharge it at once.
For storing them for a long time the Li-Po batteries should be placed at room temperature or anywhere with a constant temperature and it shouldn’t be too hot or too cold, this will damage your battery. For this, the best place for storing these batteries is your refrigerator (It's the lower part, not the freezer). This is because the refrigerator is the only place where the temperature is constant and also suits the storage for Li-Po batteries. Batteries can be stored in the refrigerator, but they should be properly covered probably with plastic films for keeping it from being wet in there.
These batteries can have a shelf life to 2-3 years. Anywhere they are stored it must be a fireproof place. Some people might like to store them in an ammo box. These can also be stored in a container with a bag of sand on top to keep them from catching fire, it’s also very important that they are placed where there is no direct sunlight reaching the battery.
What causes Li-Po batteries to puff?
Li-Po batteries make a lot of sense when it comes to catching fire or exploding. In all the cases the reason for catching fire is pretty much the same. One of the cells gets punctured and is exposed to air, this is the main reason for catching fire. Another overcharging. When these batteries are being charged, they cannot be left out of sight. When charged if they start to become puffy, smoky, and catch fire, someone must be present there for dealing with this situation.
Storing them in a foam or plastic for a long time can be dangerous as they can catch fire in there, some people like to store them in their travel case for storing them which shouldn’t be done. Instead, they should be stored in an ammo box or a fireproof case.
How do you keep your Li-Po batteries from exploding?
They require much more attention and care than most of the other variants of lithium batteries. When they catch fire it’s a chemical fir so always keep a class D fire extinguisher near these batteries storage area also where they are charged moreover the place where they are charged or discharged must be free from fire catching things like wood etc.
Charging in your home or garage may be very risky as there is fire catching material all over the place and it could become very nasty if it explodes there. There have been several cases reported regarding people burned in their garage or at home while charging Li-Po batteries. Never charge them in these places.
Charging these should always be done when they are in sight. Charging them alone could be an invitation to a disaster because if they catch fire then there would be no one there to cater to the situation. Always charge these batteries in front of you so if any mishap happens it could be dealt with on the spot.
As these batteries are costly so some people tend to use damaged Li-Po batteries. Doing this can be very dangerous as it can catch fire and make a campfire out of it. If you’ve damaged your battery by any means and is now having heat up or voltage problems or one of the cells is punctured and you still try to charge it, then it can turn into a serious fire accident.
Usage of safety Gear for these batteries can reduce their danger of catching fire to a great extinct. These bags are not that expensive and can be used while charging the batteries alone reducing the risk of any damage if the battery catches fire.
Make sure all the settings are properly set while charging a Li-Po battery also a dedicated Li-Po charger is being used to charge the battery.
Today we’ve learned what the Li-Po battery is and the ways to store it and the reasons due to which these batteries catch fire or explode. Also, we have learned some ways to prevent these batteries from catching fire and damaging the surroundings and hurting the people that may be around them. We’ve learned that these batteries are most sensitive when it comes to catching fire, so some extra precautions are needed for keeping them safe and using them with safety as well. By following the mentioned instructions one can keep using a Li-Po battery for a long time without damaging it. Because in the end it’s the user whose negligence sets the battery on fire and he is the one that gets most affected by it.
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