A Security Information To Swollen Lithium Batteries

“I’ve a swollen lithium battery; what ought to I do?”

These days, lithium batteries are the preferred kind of rechargeable battery. That is largely due to their versatility — you’ll discover them in varied purposes, from smartphones and laptops to electrical autos and boats.

Lithium batteries provide a number of benefits over different battery applied sciences, corresponding to:

  • Excessive vitality density
  • Low self-discharge price
  • Light-weight
  • Excessive voltage
  • Low upkeep
  • Lengthy lifespan
  • Security

Though lithium batteries are constructed with chemically secure compounds designed to final a very long time, they’re nonetheless vulnerable to abuse and swelling.

Whereas swollen lithium batteries aren’t that widespread, they will pose critical security dangers. For that reason, it’s essential that you simply perceive how one can deal with a battery in such a situation.

On this article, we offer a security information to swollen lithium batteries. We cowl the explanations behind swelling, what to do within the occasion of swelling, talk about whether or not it’s doable to scale back the dimensions of a swollen battery, and extra.

WARNING: a swollen lithium battery can catch hearth and even explode. We don’t suggest trying to “repair” a swollen lithium battery. As a substitute, we advise that you simply instantly eliminate the broken battery. In the event you determine to take away a swollen battery from an digital gadget, proceed with excessive warning and accomplish that at your personal threat. Ideally, the most effective factor to do is search skilled assist.


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Why Is My Lithium Battery Swollen?

A swollen lithium battery could be brought on by:

  • Design/manufacturing errors, low-quality supplies
  • Getting older
  • Improper care/mishandling of the battery

Design and manufacturing-related are much less widespread as a result of batteries are fastidiously inspected earlier than they depart the manufacturing unit. Nonetheless, errors can nonetheless happen. Keep in mind the Samsung Galaxy Word 7 battery fiasco years in the past?

Getting older also can result in swelling as a result of the supplies (such because the electrolyte or the electrodes) can degrade over time, reacting in a noncontrolled vogue, ensuing within the formation of gases.

The third purpose (harm) is far more widespread. When lithium batteries are broken, they pose critical security dangers. However how do these batteries get broken? 

Batteries normally grow to be broken once they endure abusive situations, like overcharging or storing at excessive temperatures.

Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at battery abuse situations to raised perceive what may cause a battery to swell.

Battery Abuse Circumstances

3 major kinds of battery abuse (or stress):

  • Electrical: overcharge, overvoltage, quick circuit
  • Thermal: excessive temperatures
  • Mechanical: puncturing, denting, and so forth

A lot of these battery abuse can harm a battery’s exterior and inside construction, inflicting it to react unexpectedly and type gases that trigger the battery to swell.

Battery abuse conditions that lead to the failure of lithium-ion batteries.
Battery abuse situations that result in the failure of lithium-ion batteries.
Supply: Article “Questions and Solutions Referring to Lithium-Ion Battery Security Points

Electrical Abuse

The first type of electrical abuse is overcharging.

Aspect reactions can happen when a excessive present is utilized to a battery cell for an prolonged interval (like leaving it charging in a single day).

This consumes lively materials — lowering capability and efficiency — and considerably compromises the battery’s bodily and chemical integrity.

Different examples {of electrical} abuse embrace overvoltageunder-voltageundercharge, and short-circuiting.

Thermal Abuse

The electrolyte degrades when a lithium battery’s inside temperature rises considerably, forming gases contained in the cell.

This electrolyte degradation/formation of gases and excessive inside temperature is a really harmful combo.

The stress contained in the cell can rise a lot it could even harm the battery casing, releasing all that warmth and fuel directly.

Mechanical Abuse

Mechanical abuse is commonly as a consequence of accidents — dropping an digital gadget on the bottom can dent it and due to this fact harm the lithium battery.

Then there’s puncturing; puncturing a battery can rupture the separator that retains the cathode and anode aside. If the electrodes come into contact, it causes a brief circuit, and the battery can catch hearth.

Electrical autos outfitted with massive lithium battery packs are fairly hazardous, particularly in the event that they’re concerned in a collision. Even a single broken battery cell can switch warmth to the adjoining cells, furthering the harm.

That being stated, it isn’t typical for EV battery packs to catch on hearth, but when the pack is bodily broken throughout a automobile collision, loads of vitality could be launched as warmth, burning your entire automobile. Furthermore, as soon as a lithium-battery pack-induced hearth begins, it’s robust to extinguish

A firefighter tries to put out the fire from a burning Tesla after it crashed into a garage in California, in 2017. Firefighters identified the fuel source as the EV's high-voltage battery pack.
A firefighter tries to place out the hearth from a burning Tesla after it crashed right into a storage in California in 2017. Firefighters recognized the gasoline supply because the EV’s high-voltage battery pack.
Supply: nbcnews.com

Associated Studying: Price of Lithium Batteries (15 Photo voltaic Manufacturers In contrast)

Is It Regular For A Lithium Battery To Swell?

No, a “wholesome” lithium battery shouldn’t be speculated to swell.

Swelling signifies that the battery is malfunctioning, most definitely as a consequence of facet reactions inside the battery cell ensuing from abuse.

The image shows two laptop li-ion batteries side by side: the one on the left is in normal conditions and the one on the right is swollen/damaged.
The picture exhibits two laptop computer li-ion batteries facet by facet: the one on the left is in regular situation, and the one on the suitable is swollen/broken.

Normally, a swollen lithium battery is the results of warmth and fuel build-up, which happens when supplies contained in the battery degrade or are subjected to emphasize/bodily harm over time.

Due to this fact, if a battery is swollen, it’s broken and will not be used.

Keep in mind: a wholesome, environment friendly lithium battery is not going to swell.

Can You Cut back A Swollen Lithium Battery’s Measurement?

Sadly, no.

If a lithium battery cell is swollen, it means one thing sudden/undesired occurred contained in the battery cell, forming merchandise from facet reactions, like gases.

Making an attempt to scale back a swollen lithium battery’s measurement entails coping with harmful chemical compounds, which might result in a fireplace or perhaps a small explosion.

As such, it’s not value making an attempt to scale back a swollen battery’s measurement.

Why You Shouldn’t Strive To Cut back The Measurement Of A Swollen Lithium battery

To cut back a swollen lithium battery’s measurement, you would need to break the battery casing to launch the gases (which could be dangerous/poisonous) which are inflicting the battery to puff.

This alone is dangerous enterprise, however there may be additionally the danger of puncturing the battery cell and inflicting it to quick circuit.

A brief circuit happens when a cathode and anode come into contact; it could result in a fireplace and even an explosion, relying on the quantity of vitality launched.

The image shows a punctured swollen lithium battery.
The picture exhibits a punctured swollen lithium battery.
When punctured, a lithium battery starts to release harmful gases and generate a lot of heat, which can cause a fire.
When punctured, a lithium battery begins to launch dangerous gases and generate loads of warmth, which might trigger a fireplace.

Due to this fact, in case you discover that your lithium battery is swollen, the most effective plan of action is to take away it (fastidiously) and correctly eliminate it.

In spite of everything, even when there have been a method to safely cut back a swollen lithium battery’s measurement, you wouldn’t be eliminating the basis trigger.

Give it some thought — if a battery is swollen, it’s not functioning appropriately, which means it’s broken. By lowering its measurement, you’re solely masking the issue (like bandaging a bullet wound).

By this stage, you recognize (with out a shadow of a doubt) that it’s harmful to mess with broken lithium batteries. So, ultimately, the most suitable choice is to exchange a broken battery.

Please be aware: eradicating a swollen battery could be hazardous, however leaving a swollen battery inside a tool is simply as dangerous. In the event you can’t safely take away the swollen lithium battery from a tool — or in case you really feel insecure about it — isolate the gadget (ideally in a fireproof container) and seek the advice of an expert.

Does A Swollen Lithium Battery Nonetheless Carry out Optimally?

No, a swollen lithium battery is a broken battery; this harm will drastically cut back the battery’s efficiency/output. Furthermore, the battery itself poses critical security dangers.

Causes Behind It

lithium battery is a kind of rechargeable battery. Its expertise relies on the precept of reversible chemical reactions, which — within the case of batteries — convert chemical vitality into electrical vitality (and vice-versa). 

An illustration showing the basic components of a lithium-ion battery and the direction in which lithium moves during charge and discharge.
The essential elements of a lithium-ion battery and the route through which lithium strikes throughout cost and discharge.
Supply: borregaard.com

A swollen lithium battery signifies an sudden malfunction, impacting its chemical integrity.

This harm can result in undesirable/nonreversible reactions, which devour lively supplies, lowering the battery’s efficiency and capability.

As an example, overcharging a battery can result in electrolyte degradation, which kinds gaseous merchandise that construct up contained in the battery cell, leading to a swollen battery.

Lithium Plating

One other instance of battery harm that impacts efficiency is lithium plating.

Lithium plating happens when a battery is overcharged or uncovered to low temperatures.

Throughout cost, lithium ions transfer from the cathode to the anode, intercalating inside the carbon sheets. If the speed of lithium ions transferring to the anode is just too excessive (quick charging situations), lithium metals can start to build up on the floor of the anode (as an alternative of transferring to the intercalation websites). This consumes lithium, lowering battery capability.

As well as, lithium steel can grow to be remoted from the anode floor, leaving conductive steel accumulating within the separator. Finally, lithium plating can rupture the separator, inflicting a brief circuit.

This harm results in the build-up of warmth and gases, finally “killing” the battery.

In abstract, a swollen battery is not going to carry out optimally as a result of the swelling outcomes from battery harm; thus, efficiency decay is carefully associated to battery swelling.

What Ought to You Do With A Swollen Lithium Battery?

Your solely possibility is to eliminate the lithium battery.

As mentioned earlier, lithium batteries shouldn’t swell beneath regular situations. Swelling means the battery suffered some harm and is not working appropriately.

The chance related to a swollen lithium battery is determined by the kind and extent of the harm it has sustained.

As an example, its inside temperature can improve dramatically inside a brief interval. When this occurs, the battery begins to smoke, finally catching hearth.

In a “worst-case situation,” unstable inside situations can improve the interior stress and temperature a lot that the battery explodes.

Although this isn’t a standard incidence, it occurs. In truth, not too long ago, a surge of lithium battery explosion instances was related to the electrical scooter model Ola Electrical. 

Due to this fact, by no means underestimate the hazards of a swollen lithium battery. 

In the event you suspect certainly one of your lithium-powered units has a swollen battery, flip off the gadget instantly and search skilled assist to change the broken lithium battery.

When you have a deeper data of batteries and digital units, you’ll be able to try and take away the swollen battery from the gadget and eliminate it. Keep in mind, there’s a correct method to do that — don’t throw a battery within the trash.

Please be aware: we don’t suggest dealing with a swollen lithium battery by yourself. In the event you do, don’t use any steel instruments or attempt to bend/deflate a swollen battery. A steel device can pierce the battery casing and begin an undesirable chemical response. Furthermore, swollen batteries might comprise dangerous gases you don’t want to inhale.

Remaining Ideas

Regardless of their many benefits — together with their superior chemical stability — lithium batteries can pose critical security dangers if mishandled.

Below abusive situations, facet reactions can happen inside a lithium-ion battery, considerably compromising its efficiency and security — abusive situations embrace electrical, thermal, and mechanical abuse.

One of the vital widespread types of electrical abuse is overcharging; it could harm a lithium-ion battery by creating unstable inside situations, which result in over-pressurization, adopted by an increase in temperature and consequent thermal runaway.

In excessive instances, a swollen lithium battery can result in a fireplace or an explosion. So be very cautious when coping with such a battery.

Ought to you will have any additional questions concerning swollen lithium batteries or battery security, please be at liberty to achieve out to us by way of the remark part or our group web page!

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