What can cause a lithium battery to explode?

The good news is that fires and accidents caused by lithium-ion batteries are extremely rare. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions to avoid a catastrophe.


batteries are used in all types of products today, perhaps most commonly in electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones and cameras, but they are also an attractive option for large scale energy storage, such as in power grid systems and electric vehicles. Now that we've established that, under the right conditions, lithium-ion batteries can provide a good environment for a fire, let's see why they occur.

The electrodes are submerged in a liquid called an electrolyte, which allows the movement of ions and consists of lithium salt and organic solvents. Unfortunately, if lithium-ion batteries are exposed to improper conditions, there is a small chance of a violent failure. First of all, it's good practice to ensure that the place where you store your batteries isn't exposed to high temperatures. Lithium-ion batteries are constructed in such a way that the three main conditions of a fire (oxygen, fuel and heat) can be met.

Before wondering why batteries catch fire, it's important to understand how they work. Unlike standard alkaline batteries, lithium-ion batteries can be used over and over again, so they can be found in many household electronics. Today, lithium-ion batteries can be found in a large number of household electronics, including laptops, mobile phones and tablets. A quick search on YouTube or Google will provide several hundred videos and images of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that cause fires and explosions.

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