Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lithium ion vs Lithium Polymer mobile batteries - Can they explode or spontaneously combust like this ?

Are mobile batteries safe ? Can they spontaneously combust ?
Looks like batteries can explode into a fireball if provoked !

The above GIF / HTML5 video shows a Lithium Polymer battery being punctured with a knife. The release of the battery's chemicals results in an exothermic reaction that causes a chain reaction that enlarges the hole and quickly results in a fireball and flame shooting out of the damaged battery.

This works on both Lithium Polymer as well as the more common Lithium ion batteries too.

Lithium Polymer mobile batteries swell and explode

Be careful with your mobile phone batteries. Watch out for battery damage and keep them safe when charging.

Don't use swollen batteries like this. They are like ticking time bombs which may explode any minute.

What is the difference between Lithium ion and Lithium Polymer batteries ?

Unlike the Lithium-Ion battery which is usually made up of cylindrical type cells inside of the battery casing; the Li-Po battery cells are small laminated sheets that come in a foil type pouch (similar to a food package). Although the charging and discharging characteristics resemble the Lithium-Ion type batteries, a Li-Po battery should be closely monitored during the charging process. During a charge the foil package may swell due to gas build up – if overcharging occurs this will damage the battery and possibly the device.

Of course there are always dangers with any type of battery. Use common sense when handling batteries. Here are some safeguards to prevent injury or damage to your personal property when using or charging a Li-Po Battery:

  • Use a charger designed for the specific type of Lithium Polymer Battery or device.
  • Do not charge the battery inside a model plane, car, furniture, wood/floor/carpet, or anywhere near flammable material.
  • If the battery becomes hot to touch, switch off immediately
  • Never Charge Lithium Polymer Batteries unattended.
  • Do not overcharge lithium polymer batteries. (Please refer to your manual for overcharge limits).
  • Always store lithium polymer batteries in a safe place, like a nonflammable box. Avoid metal as it can short the contacts.
  • Never charge a lithium polymer battery at a faster rate than recommended.
  • Only charge the batteries on a non-flammable non-conducting surface, such as bare cement floor or countertop

Do you have a Lithium Polymer battery in your device ?

Because of its light weight design, Lithium Polymer batteries are used in Apple iPhones®, iPods®, MacBooks®, Sony PSP, PDAs and many more devices. Manufacturers have been declaring upwards of 500 charge-discharge cycles before the capacity drops to 80%. The thin film rechargeable lithium battery has been shown to provide more than 10,000 discharge cycles.

Last year, Stanford researchers invented a new battery design - a  "smart" lithium-ion battery that gives ample warning before it overheats and bursts into flames. But it probably won't work if the damage is intentional and quick like in the above videos.

"Our goal is to create an early-warning system that saves lives and property," said Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering. "The system can detect problems that occur during the normal operation of a battery, but it does not apply to batteries damaged in a collision or other accident."

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