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How do batteries explode?

How do batteries explode?

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Typically, lithium-ion batteries are reliable. Cases of explosions are relatively rare, and we heard about it most in 2017 because many Samsung smartphones caught fire or even exploded. But it can happen with any lithium-ion battery. So here we are going to talk about more in the same subject.

How often do lithium batteries explode?

Batteries explosion is extremely rare and it happens 1 in 10 to 40 million. Now let's come to the main topic of this article: the reasons lithium batteries explode easily. Well, that's simple, it's because Samsung's batteries were radicalized and playing video games.?

More seriously, this is usually due to a short circuit. Inside a lithium-ion battery, there are two electrodes, the anode and the cathode immersed in a conductive liquid called an electrolyte.

Between these two electrodes, there is a separator. When you charge or discharge a battery, lithium ions pass from one electrode to another through this barrier.

When this flow of ions is too fast or too unstable, too much energy is delivered too quickly, causing an exothermic reaction (i.e. release of heat) and the electrolyte can ignite. As the flaming liquid tries to spread, the pressure inside the battery increases, causing it to swell or even explode.

We then speak of “thermal runaway”. This is why lithium-ion batteries mustn't charge (and discharge) too quickly. Batteries of this type can also ignite if they are overcharged, for example, due to the wrong voltage. This is why it is best to always use the recommended type of charger.

Certain manufacturing defects can also cause abnormal behavior of the battery. Poor quality welds can, for example, cause an electrical resistance phenomenon.

If you have ever done a few electronics, or if you have just used an electric heater, you know that an electrical resistance that has current flowing through it heats up.

In a battery, if a resistance phenomenon occurs, the temperature rises, and this can lead to ignition of the electrolyte and the consequences we talked about just before.

How do vape batteries explode?

The batteries of the electronic cigarette or vaper and lithium, in general, do not explode but due to overheating they discharge completely spontaneously, producing an energy leak similar to that of pyrotechnic fires, which may cause burns, but not explicit explosions.

What causes the battery to explode?

To fully understand how to prevent the risk of battery explosion, it is first necessary to know the reasons for such a reaction. If the cases are rare, it is because several factors must come together to cause the explosion, it is not all due to the battery itself.

First, in the majority of cases identified, there are two reasons for such an event: either the charger used is not the original one or the battery itself is not the original.

Another important point is that the lithium batteries in our devices suffer from what is called “thermal runaway”. To put it simply, the battery overheats exponentially until it explodes.

Apple has suffered from this on several occasions, with the explosion of two iPhones in Apple Stores, as well as that of an iPad. But to counter this effect, manufacturers have implemented a system to prevent overloading. The battery, as soon as it is fully recharged, is supposed to stop accumulating energy and therefore heating up.

The problem is that the batteries are getting thinner and thinner and what separates the positive plate and the negative plate of the battery is getting thinner and thinner as well.

There is less space for chemical components to flow between these two plates, and it only takes a little bit to create an unexpected reaction. Overloading can therefore cause this type of reaction. This is what seems to have happened in the case of the latest smartphone devices.

Normally, large manufacturers take care to insert some kind of fuse to prevent overheating. It cuts off the loading of the device and thus avoids any danger. But sometimes, to save money, they do not hesitate not to insert this fuse in the batteries, which causes the kind of explosion that we find in the news.

How to prevent explosions?

It is advisable to take some precautions yourself to avoid being surprised by a fire in the middle of the night. It may seem restrictive, especially when you have acquired certain habits. We all unknowingly make many mistakes with the batteries of our smartphones.

The majority of users charge their smartphone overnight while they sleep peacefully, to make sure they have a smartphone with enough battery life for a full day. Here are some recommendations to avoid seeing your battery explode:

- Do not use a battery that is not that of the manufacturer or a product approved by the mark in question. It is certainly a little more expensive than products manufactured by third-party brands, admittedly compatible but which do not have safety standards. A cheaper battery is also the risk of a battery that overheats, and we know where that leads. It is better to spend a few tens of dollars more and keep your smartphone, and incidentally your apartment or house intact.

- When your phone is charging, be sure to put it in a ventilated place. For those lucky enough to live where temperatures are rather high, place it near a draft or fan. Avoid: near a mattress, for example, overheating is possible. And as for those who are used to slipping it under their pillow, let's not talk about it. It is prohibited.

- Do not wait until your battery is at its lowest to recharge your smartphone. Below 50% of lithium batteries suffer. While above 50%, this type of battery recharges quickly and without overheating.

You are now almost battery explosion experts. By following these tips well, you should not find yourself in a difficult situation. Otherwise, it is because you are unlucky and at this level, there is nothing more, we can do for you.

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