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Safety of Lithium Batteries

Posted on 2022-06-14

Lithium-ion batteries have grown in popularity since their creation in the 1970s. With several important advantages, such as being lightweight and able to hold a charge during long storage periods, lithium-based batteries are some of the most popular on the market. 

Lithium batteries, lithium-polymer batteries, and lithium-ion batteries have emerged as popular energy sources in recent times. A regular lithium-ion battery can hold 150 watt-hours of electricity in a 1 kg battery, which is much higher compared to a lead acid battery with a storage capacity of 25 watt-hours per kg and NiMH battery with a storage capacity of 100 watt-hours/kg. With their many advantages, these batteries are now widely used in consumer electronics and battery-operated vehicles.

Despite its popularity, lithium safety has been one of the concerns for users and manufacturers across the world. These safety issues are largely due to instability and extreme sensitivity at high temperatures. Inadequate quality, flawed battery design, physical abuse, and improper discharging and charging are some leading causes of rapid explosion and fire in these batteries. Nowadays, lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries are designed with some safety measures such as pressure-relief devices and positive temperature coefficient (PTC) resistors, which act as a fuse. Although these features help reduce risks to a large extent, it is still recommended to store damaged or end-of-life lithium batteries safely before sending them to the nearest recycling center.