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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Battery Fires & Explosions

By February 16, 2006

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Lithium batteries can provide an extremely high power output over a long time. This is great news for high-demand devices, like my digital camera, cell phone, and laptop. However, this also means the batteries discharge violently when short-circuited. One type of lithium battery is the lithium ion polymer battery (Li-Poly or LiPo). These are rechargeable batteries. LiPo batteries can be made into almost any shape and they self-discharge less quickly than nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride cells. Like other lithium batteries, they are pretty expensive, but the ability to be recharged helps offset the cost. If you use LiPo batteries you probably recharge them casually in your home, but you may want to consider the hazard recharging batteries may present. The Utah Flyers Organization has a video that documents some of the characteristics of lithium battery fires.

Impressive fires, huh? Ok, I know myself well enough to recognize I'll still charge batteries and leave them unattended, but I'll be a bit more cognizant of the surroundings (like not charging them on a desk of papers). One other note: lithium reacts violently with water, so if you have an accident with a lithium battery, call your local fire department rather than trying to wipe up the mess with a damp paper towel.
Learn about Electrochemical Cells | Why Cold Batteries Discharge Quickly


May 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm
(1) wlfdiver says:

I charge my lipo batteries in a 25 dollar metal safe, locked, with a extinguisher close at hand. I don’t leave lipo’s unattended, while charging. Better build a brick enclosure outside and put the safe inside. Then can be left alone. You see the care I take-too many horror stories!

May 22, 2011 at 10:58 am
(2) Accoureperent says:

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Some in polish: oferujemy dywany oraz wykadziny. Dywany wochacze, dywany do pokoju, dywany na ciany. Nasze Dywany to najtansze dywany. Dywany jakie oferujemy to najlepsze dywany na rynku. Zapraszamy.

January 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm
(3) richy12 says:

Well my rooms a ticking time bomb.

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