What makes lithium-ion batteries explode?

February 15, 2022 Dovid Jacob

Thermal Runaway in Lithium-Ion Batteries

Thermal runaway is the leading risk in lithium-ion battery use, and can lead to a catastrophic cascading chain of events.   Often caused by defects or damage to the battery, heat rises, liquid fuel and smoke are released, both flammable, more heat then causes adjacent c ells to also heat up, and escalation is hard to reverse.  There are currently no universal plans for dealing with chemical fires by response teams, but certain companies have already developed innovative solutions for mitigating the risk.Diagram of thermal runaway With the rise in mobile mobility, for sport, leisure and modern urban delivery services, there is also an expected escalation in thermal events.  EV cars and tools add to exponential volume of batteries in the pipeline, so the timing is right to mitigate this risk. In New York City alone in 2021 the fire department responded to 100 calls for batteries in Thermal Runaway.  The NYFD is now leading the charge for a comprehensive battery fire response plan, including drums, PPE and battery fire suppression aggregate for responding HAZMAT teams, and education.