Do you own an alkaline battery, both old or new? You must have noticed a white substance on the batteries time in and time out. This happens in all alkaline batteries, and unfortunately not many know about it. In this article, we shall discuss all there is to know about the “white stuff” on batteries.
The white stuff on the batteries is a common thing that all alkaline battery owners know about. Thus, every person should know about them. This is the main reason we are writing this for you.
If you are curious about the white stuff on the batteries and feel like touching them, you should be warned against them. That white stuff is pretty dangerous, and has a lot of potential hazards for you. We shall discuss the white stuff in a little detail, especially with regards to its dangers.
The white stuff of the battery is actually Potassium Carbonate, which comes from the Potassium Hydroxide that is present in the alkaline batteries. Basically, the Potassium Hydroxide reacts with oxygen in the air to form this white compound, and it begins building up on the external part of the battery. It can also be considered leakage.
What happens if the white stuff gets on you?
There are a lot of potential hazards of the white stuff, i.e., Potassium Carbonate, getting on you. We should be extremely vigilant of them. Here are a few things that can happen if you touch the white stuff directly:
- This is the most important point. If the white stuff gets on you there is a high chance of a chemical burn. This will create a lot of problems for you as it may burn your skin and damage it permanently.
- In extreme cases of skin contact, it can lead to severe problems like skin cancer. Moreover, there are a lot of other diseases that can be caused by the white stuff.
- This stuff can also prove fatal if it goes into your eyes. If you are not careful, i.e., you let Potassium Carbonate go in your eyes and rub them too much, it could lead to permanent blindness. However, there are also lower-level problems that are not blindness, but still are quite severe.
If we look in summary, the severity of the problem will depend on how much the white stuff is present, and how effective the treatment is.
If the batteries are in perfect condition, there would be no problem in touching them by common logic, because the batteries would be fully covered and there would be no passage for the battery to harm you. However, the real question we need to ask ourselves is what happens if the battery is corroded? This is a very interesting question and has an equally interesting answer.
Danger in Corrosion
To see if corrosion of the battery is dangerous, we first have to look into the two basic types of corrosion, it will help us understand the situation better and tell us if it is safe to touch the battery or not.
Internal corrosion is when the battery is corroding from the inside due to the build-up of the white stuff. However, this can only take place if the battery’s cap was left open for it to allow oxygen to enter, or there is a leak somewhere. However, if the corrosion is internal it is quite safe to touch the battery.
If the corrosion is not dealt with for long, it will keep spreading until it comes out, and then the battery would be fundamentally exposed, externally. When it comes to that, it is definitely not safe to touch the battery, as the white stuff will be on it, and touching it would lead to problems.
What happens if we touch the corroded batteries?
Here are some common things that will occur if you touch the corroded batteries:
- Generally, the things that will happen to you are the same that happens if you touch the white stuff. We have already discussed that important part.
- The corroded batteries are exposed, so there is a risk of an electric shock.
Now that the white stuff has built upon the battery, what must be done to cure it? It is a very important question that we should all ask ourselves.
Steps to clean the white stuff
Here are a few steps you need to follow to clean the white build up on the battery. Read as follows:
Ensure a Secure Environment
First, you have to create an environment for yourself that will ensure your protection. That means you need to be completely covered with gloves and preferably with goggles. Moreover, you must keep others away from the place to keep them protected.
Neutralize with the white base with an acid
There is a lot of basic (alkaline) build upon the batteries that are excessive and dangerous. However, the base is not extremely strong, so you will have to neutralize it with light acids like acetic acid. You can drop it on the corroded part.
Rub off the extra-base using a brush or cloth
After the few drops have been put on the corroded part and are neutralized, it is quite safe for you to start the cleaning process. Dip a cloth or a brush in the acidic solution and rub it over the battery. It will remove all the white stuff on the battery and make it safe. After it, you should do something about the corrosion so that the battery is totally safe.
All alkaline batteries will have a white build-up on them at one point or another. Since this is unavoidable regardless of how much care and caution you take, all you can do is keep yourself prepared for it. When the time comes, follow all these steps.
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