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What Makes Lithium Ion Batteries Explode?

The trend of lithium ion batteries exploding is troubling. Despite lithium ion batteries being available for more than 25 years, the batteries continue to pose a threat and more than 1 million units were recently pulled from the market by Samsung. Pioneers of the lithium ion battery have been quick to rally that they are safe, claiming that less than one percent cause fires or randomly explode. However, there are upwards of 1 billion in circulation and battery issues have garnered headlines in connection with hoverboards, laptops, cellular phones and even the electrical system of a Boeing 787.

If you or a loved one sustained personal injuries in a lithium ion batteries accident, you need an experienced California products liability lawyer on your side. Johnson Attorneys Group does not charge any legal fees unless they successfully settle or win your case. For a complimentary case evaluation, call 1-800-208-3538.

The Science of Lithium Ion Battery Explosions

Many battery explosions are caused by common manufacturing defects. Some aspect of production was not quite right and the imperfection boils to a head later. In the lithium ion battery world, that often entails a fire or explosion.These small batteries are more prone to chain reactions because of the tremendous power density they pack. Consider for a moment that the lithium ion batteries used in a variety of devices houses approximately 160-watt-hours for every kilogram. That nearly doubles a new alkaline battery. The high level of energy makes them both industry darlings and a potential disaster.

The lithium ion battery utilizes three primary components to produce this superior energy output. These include a positively charged metal oxide, a graphite anode with a negative charge and an electrolyte comprised of liquid lithium salts. The liquid solvent allows the charge to flow between the poles that must be separated by a polyethylene barrier. In laymen’s terms, that thin plastic separator can become overwhelmed by the increased energy that designers try to crunch into these tiny units.

Once the separator has been compromised, a short circuit occurs that industry people call a “thermal runway.” Basically, the harnessed energy is set loose and the temperature of that little battery skyrockets to over 1,000 degrees. The extreme temperature turns your phone into an incendiary device and if oxygen hits it, boom.

Dos and Don’ts of an Exploding Lithium Ion Battery Incident

One of the first indicators that you are experiencing a battery failure is that your cell phone or device gets hot. If it gets unusually hot, get away from it. Overcome the instinct to move the product or “fix” the problem by taking out the battery. That will neither stop the “thermal runway” reaction nor keep you safe. Warn others and back away. The cost of that piece of metal and computer chips is not worth the risk. Do not try to extinguish the battery fire. Lithium ion fires are different than traditional fires and adding compounds could make things worse. If you are in a combustible environment, call for first-responder assistance.

Contact an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney

We hope this lithium ion battery information proves helpful for our fellow Californians. If you have been injured as a result of a faulty lithium ion battery, call the Johnson Attorneys Group at 1-800-208-3538. We provide a complimentary consultation and won’t charge a legal fee unless we win or successfully settle your case. Don’t delay – contact us today!

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