Exploding Lithium-ion Batteries

"A mobile phone exploded in his living room last year, causing up to $100,000 in damages. Ortega and his family had to live in a trailer for a few months while their house in California was fixed" reports the Chicago Tribune….

Fire and insurance investigators find that the cause was due to a phone's lithium-ion battery failure and subsequent spontaneous combustion. Ortega's case is one of 339 battery-related overheating incidents tracked by the Consumer Product Safety Commission since 2003.

Conservatively in excess of 100 million battery related devices have been bought by consumer since 2003. So the 339 incidents report by the Saftey Commission represent .000003 (a very small percent) of all battery related devices on the market. So no major alarm about batteries.

In addition most lithium based batteries have integrated power management circuits that protect against over-voltage and under-voltage conditions which minimizes chemical or mehcanical failure.

However it should be made clear that lithium-ion and or lithium polymer batteries are specifically designed to store a tremendous amount of energy in a small space; and yes it is possible if there is a short circuits or other failure the stored energy may (I emphasize MAY) cause an explosion small or large.

Again let me stress that such explosions and fires are rare considering the hundreds of millions of cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other devices that are powered by lithium-ion batteries.

"The safety record of lithium-ion batteries is very good," said Dan Doughty, a battery expert at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. "But occasionally there are problems."

Lithium batteries contain lithium metal and a break down of lithium (ion and polymer) cna be found here:http://www.batteryeducation.com/2006/04/battery_chemist.html.

Also you can understand the energy potential of lithium here: http://www.batteryeducation.com/2006/04/energy_potentia.html.

The real point of this post is that the liklihood of lithium based batteries actually exploding is minimal.

Until next time – Dan Hagopian, Batteryship.com
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