To understand why lithium-ion batteries in some cases fall flat, you have to know what’s happening within. Inside each lithium battery, there are two terminals—the positively charged cathode and the negatively charged anode—isolated by a thin sheet of “microperferated” plastic that keeps the two terminals from touching. When you charge a lithium battery, lithium ions are pushed by electricity from the cathode, through the microperferations in the separator and an electrically conductive fluid, and to the anode. When the battery discharges, the reverse occurs with the lithium ions flowing out of the anode toward the cathode.
What Makes a Lithium-Ion Battery Explode?
The very thing that makes lithium-ion batteries so helpful is what also makes them burst into flames or explode. Lithium is extremely great at storing energy. When it is released as a trickle, it powers your device or cart for as long as it is required. When it is released all at once, the battery could explode or burst into flames.
Most lithium battery explosion and flames come down to a problem of short-circuiting. This happens when the plastic separator fails and lets the anode and cathode touch. Also, when those two come in contact, the battery begins to overheat.
There are various reasons that the separator can fail:
- Bad Design or Manufacturing Defects: The battery is ineffectively designed. All things considered, there wasn’t sufficient space for the anodes and separator in the battery. In certain models, when the battery expands a little as it charged, the electrodes bend and caused a short circuit.
- External Factors: Extreme heat is also guaranteed to cause failure. Batteries left for too long near a heat source—or caught in a fire—have been known to explode. Other external factors can cause a lithium battery to explode, as well.
- Charger Problems: A poorly made or inadequately insulated charger can likewise damage a lithium battery and cause it to explode. In the event that the charger shorts or generates heat close to the battery, it can do enough damage to the battery to cause failure. That is why we recommend utilizing only official chargers (or at the very least, high-quality third-party ones from reputable brands or trustworthy brands). Lithium batteries do have built-in protections to stop them from overcharging. While extremely uncommon, if these security safeguards fail, overcharging is a decent method to overheat a battery.
- Thermal Runaway and Multiple Cells: Once one cell overheats, you get a domino impact called “thermal runaway.” For batteries with hundreds of cells, especially that used in golf carts. Thermal runaway can possibly be a huge problem.
Despite the fact that examining why battery at times fall flat paints a frightening picture, lithium batteries are a safe and experienced innovation. The fact that it is always news when a battery explodes out of the blue shows how uncommon an event those enormous failures are. Battery manufacturers set up a ton of safeguards to avoid battery failures, or if nothing else, mitigate the damage a failure can cause.