Many reasons cause lithium phone battery to cause a fire. You have probably seen lithium phones catching fire on TV now and then. These cases do not happen every day, but once they happen, they come with mixed reactions. So many people are always confused as to why lithium phones are the most vulnerable when it comes to battery fires.
Manufacturers of lithium phones and batteries have been working on making the batteries safe. This has led to the development of so many fireproof functions that help to keep the people safe. For example, some companies have developed solid electrolytes that are safer for lithium batteries.
The main reason why lithium phones catch fire is because of thermal runaway. All lithium batteries are made of tons of cells. These cells have a specific temperature that they can withstand. Take it as their boiling points. Once this critical temperature has been surpassed, the cells tend to release a lot of heat.
The following factors are responsible for causing thermal runaway in a lithium battery.
After one cell releases a lot of heat, then the process of thermal runaway starts. The cell conducts a lot of heat to the neighbouring cells causing them to break their own temperature limits. The speed of this process is what determines if the battery ill explodes, catch fire, or just fizzle out.
Can lithium phone battery cause a fire?
A lithium phone battery can cause a fire if safety measures are not carried out well. So far, lithium phones have been found responsible for causing hundreds of fires across the world every year. These consumer electronics have caused house fires, and even plane crashes.
The phones do not cause fire out of thin air. But they do when they are improperly packaged, damaged, or when exposed to a lot of external heat. A lithium phone battery is tiny and thin, yet it carries a lot of power. They pose a lot of risks, especially when mishandled.
You may have seen the galaxy note seven on the news. Several people reported cases of their phones exploding. All the Samsung galaxy note seven phones were recalled back to the industry. This flagship had a manufacturing glitch that was responsible for causing fires and explosions.
Lithium phone battery can also cause a fire when short-circuited. This makes the cells release a lot of energy hence causing the device to fizzle out or explode. It is essential to take all the precautions so as to avoid such accidents.
Damaging the cells can also cause the lithium phone battery to catch fire. Researchers and manufacturers are still testing several ways to make the batteries safer—the latest breakthrough by researchers for making phones and other consumer electronics harmless lies on the electrolyte.
These companies have been able to produce an electrolyte that hardens on impact. This reduces thermal runaway hence preventing the device from exploding or catching fire.
What happens if you meet lithium phone battery fire?
The first thing to do if you meet lithium phone battery fire is to put it off. Putting the fire off is easy, but you need you to need to be careful. A slight mistake can worsen the situation.
Move away from your device if it starts to overheat. Make sure that it's unplugged from the charger and far from any flammable materials. Remember that removing the phone from the charger alone will not stop the fire, explosion, or harmful gases from coming out.
When one cell has affected, the others become affected because heat is conducted all around the battery. So the best thing to do after disconnecting your charger is taking your device outdoors. It's tough for it to cause damage when its outdoors.
If it's a small lithium fire, you can handle it just like any other fire. Use a foam fire extinguisher if you want to gain the best results. The FAA states that flight attendants should use water or soda pop in case a fire occurs in the plane cabin.
If your phone runs on a Li-ion battery, then you can use water-based products to put off the fire. Water is acceptable for li-on batteries because they contain tiny amounts of lithium. Although lithium is highly reactive with metal, small amounts in a li-on battery will not cause a high reaction.
Water also allows the cooling of adjacent areas hence preventing the fire from spreading. Unlike cargo planes, passenger planes use suppression systems to contain the fire. This is because the crew cannot access the cargo bay.
How is the fireproof function of lithium phone battery?
Researchers and phone manufacturers have come up with different measures to prevent fires and explosions. One of the main reasons causing the lithium phones to catch fire is the reaction between electrolytes and the electrode. These key components are always separated by a thin plastic layer. In case the battery is damaged, the chances are that the plastic sheet will become damaged quickly hence resulting in a fire.
To make the lithium phones safer, some manufacturers are using solid electrolytes that are non-flammable. However, these batteries significantly retooling so as then the trends in other companies. Alternatively, internal fireproof functions are created when the electrolyte is mixed with an additive that slows down the reaction process.
This additive solidifies impact hence preventing the electrolyte from reacting. It's one of the best fireproof measures to prevent a fire from a falling battery. Shear thickening is another innovation being used by some companies to avoid fires.
Another fireproof action used to prevent lithium battery fires is the use of non-removable batteries. Phones using such batteries cause less harm as compared to the removable ones. Non-removable batteries are always firm hence less damaged when the phone falls.
The use of fireproof bags for transportation also prevents a lot of fires from lithium phone batteries. These fireproof bags can contain the fizzling, explosions, and fires up to some certain conditions. Researchers are still working on more ways to prevent fires from lithium batteries. Wireless charging is also addressing the issue of fires caused by faulty chargers.
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