WAZIPOINT Engineering Science & Technology: Hope to prevent fires on lithium-ion batteries

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Hope to prevent fires on lithium-ion batteries

Hope to prevent fires on lithium-ion batteries

When multiple Li-ion cells are chained together -- such as in electric vehicles -- thermal runaway can spread from one unit to the next, resulting in a very large, hard-to-fight fire.

In conventional batteries- a Li-ion cell, the electrolyte liquid that separates these electrodes can evaporate when it overheats, causing a short circuit. In certain cases, short circuiting can lead to thermal runaway, a process in which a cell heats itself uncontrollably.

The ScienceDaily reported on their latest updated science news as referred the American Chemical Society.

The volume of fire case on lithium ion batteries

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were more than 25,000 issues involving fires or overheating stemming from lithium ion batteries in a five-year period.

Facts about  lithium-ion batteries

  1. Low maintenance.
  2. No memory effect (they don't have to be completely discharged before recharging as opposed to other batteries).
  3. They can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles.
  4. Generally lighter than other batteries.

What are lithium-ion batteries?

Each of the fires involved lithium batteries that power laptops, cell phones, and e-cigarettes. Battery fires are unlikely and less severe when used in the proper method. 

However, battery punctures, cracks, and overcharging and under heat conditions present an increased probability and severity.

Pressure-sensitive vent holes: Batteries are pressurized and so they need an outer wall made of metal, which has a pressure-sensitive vent hole.

Separator serves as a fuse: Most lithium-ion cells use a separator made of a material known as polyolefin, which boasts of good chemical stability, excellent mechanical properties and is affordable.

Positive Temperature Coefficient: Lithium-ion cells like all chemistries undergo self-discharge. Self-discharge means the batteries lose their stored charge without connecting the electrodes or the external circuit. 

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Why do they cause fires

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are used to power everything from smart watches to electric vehicles, thanks to the large amounts of energy they can store in small spaces. 

When overheated, however, they're prone to catching fire or even exploding. But recent research published in ACS' Nano Letters offers a possible solution with a new technology that can swiftly put the brakes on a Li-ion battery, shutting it down when it gets too hot.

Components of lithium-ion batteries

Components of lithium-ion batteries

Reasons of fire on lithium ion batteries

The main reasons of fire on lithium ion batteries but not limit is as- batteries can present a fire risk when over-charged, short-circuited, submerged in water or if they are damaged. 

When lithium-ion batteries fail they can undergo thermal runaway. This involves violent bursting of one or multiple battery cells, hissing and release of toxic, flammable and explosive gases, and an intense, self-sustaining fire that can be difficult to extinguish.

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