Things to Know about Lithium Batteries’ Fire Risk

lithium battery ireAlthough rare in relation to the number of people who use them, there have been instances of lithium batteries overheating, exploding, and causing fire damage. Here are some things that you should know about these batteries and the fire risk that they pose:

Causes

Lithium batteries are small but lithium is highly reactive, similar to sodium, potassium, and other members of the Alkali family. The batteries contain 2 electrodes and electrolyte fluid that allows the ions to flow, producing electricity. The electrodes are separated by a thin layer of polyethylene or polypropylene, both of which are porous. If microscopic metal particles slip through the thin layer and touch parts in the battery cell, it can cause a short circuit known as "thermal runaway." The "thermal runaway" will cause the batteries to overheat, melting or damaging whatever product in which the batteries are located. Scientists are researching various materials that can be used to replace polyethylene or polypropylene. One of these materials that is showing promise is Kevlar. This lightweight material isn't porous, so it would prevent materials from touching one another.

Fire Safety

Mobile phones, laptops, toys, Bluetooth sets, power tools, and many other products rely on lithium batteries. Because you rely on these products so much throughout your day, it's important to understand the risks they may pose, and understand what to do when this happens. If your lithium battery starts a fire, you shouldn't use a fire extinguisher. Try using water to put out the fire. Then, douse the battery with a nonalcoholic beverage, such as a soda, to neutralize the battery. Don't put ice on the battery to cool it off or other products to cover it up, because it could end up isolating the problem for later. Contact a professional fire damage restoration company to help you remove anything in your home that was damaged in the fire and begin repairs immediately so you can get back to normal as soon as possible.
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