It is becoming increasingly common to use lithium batteries in a variety of devices due to their high energy density and low self-discharge rate. However, there is one potential disadvantage – lithium batteries may leak.
A battery is essentially a tiny fuel tank in which lithium ions undergo a chemical reaction. It is possible to generate electricity by self-discharge or usage of this tank while its components interact. As the electrolyte breaks down, hydrogen is released, which is a form of pressure that causes the acids in the battery to seep out.
Having a leaking battery can be frustrating. It not only ruins your device, but it can also be dangerous. So, what causes lithium batteries to leak and how can you prevent it?
We will take a closer look at if batteries leak and how to prevent it in this article.
Do Lithium Batteries Leak?
It is important to take precautions to prevent lithium batteries from leaking, even though they rarely leak.
Ensure that your gadget can handle the voltage generated by rechargeable batteries, or that the voltage produced by the battery you’re using is appropriate for your equipment, by checking their capacities.
When you use your devices with a lithium battery, you will not notice any changes in how they work. Even if you leave them plugged in for a long period of time, the batteries won’t deteriorate. Unlike alkaline batteries, lithium batteries don’t vent when subjected to pressure or moisture.
As long as you prevent them from leaking, lithium batteries are safe.
Under natural circumstances, lithium batteries do not leak, but you should store them in a dry, cool environment with about 50% to 70% of their charge still present.
Types of Lithium Batteries Prone to Leakage
Each type of lithium battery faces the risk of leaking if not handled properly.
While lithium-ion batteries are very powerful, they’re also very fragile. A drop or a bump can cause them to break and leak. However, they’re very common in cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles.
As with lithium-ion batteries, lithium-polymer batteries use a different type of electrolyte. Like lithium-ion batteries, they’re fragile and can leak if damaged.
The lithium iron phosphate battery is a newer type of lithium battery made of iron instead of cobalt, which makes them less likely to leak. However, they’re not as powerful and don’t last as long as other types of rechargeable batteries.
A lithium-sulfur battery contains sulfur instead of lithium, making it more environmentally friendly and less likely to leak than other lithium batteries.
What Causes Lithium-ion Batteries to Leak?
It is rare for lithium batteries to leak, but there are a few reasons why they might. These include:
It is possible for lithium batteries to burst open and leak when overcharged. This process causes gasses to escape from the battery and cause it to swell. If the pressure gets too high, the battery may burst open and leak.
As a result, electric vehicles and LEVs have an overcharge protection circuit that stops charging when the battery is full. This prevents the battery from being overcharged, which can cause it to leak.
A damaged lithium-ion battery, for example, by being dropped or punctured, can also leak. The damage can cause the electrolyte to escape and mix with other parts of the battery, leading to a chemical reaction and leaking.
A battery’s structural integrity and the ability to withstand an impact that can lead to battery leakage are determined by a battery drop test conducted by most of the best-rated lithium battery manufacturers. When you buy from Tritek Battery, you will be able to be sure your battery will not leak if it undergoes a drop test.
3. Manufacturing Defects
It is possible for a manufacturing defect to cause leaky batteries. This is usually caused by faulty seals that keep electrolyte inside the battery. If the seals are not made correctly, the electrolyte may leak out.
Some of the best lithium cell battery manufacturers with quality products include CATL, LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung.
When a lithium battery gets too hot, it can also leak. Extreme temperatures can lead to the electrolyte breaking down and escaping from the battery, which is why lithium batteries should always be stored in a cool, dry place. If you want to avoid this type of battery leakage, follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions.
How to Prevent Lithium Batteries from Leaking?
You can prevent your lithium batteries from leaking by following these steps:
1. Store them in a cool and dry place
Lithium batteries should be stored between 32°F and 77°F (0°C and 25°C) to prolong their life and prevent leaks.
2. Don’t overcharge them
If you’re using a lithium-ion battery charger, make sure it has an overcharge protection feature to prevent this from happening. Overcharging your lithium batteries can cause them to leak.
3. Inspect them regularly
You should inspect your lithium batteries regularly for signs of damage or defects in order to prevent leaks. If you notice any damage, such as cracks or punctures, replace the battery immediately.
4. Keep leaking battery from metal objects
You can prevent your lithium batteries from being damaged and leaking by keeping them away from metal objects. This is due to the fact that metal objects can conduct electricity, resulting in a short circuit.
5. Use the right type of battery
The wrong type of battery can cause your device to leak. Make sure you use the correct type of battery for your device. For example, if you’re using a lithium-ion battery, make sure it’s compatible.
7. Do not puncture or drop them
Do not puncture or drop your lithium batteries, as this could cause them to leak or damage your device.
8. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully
You can help prevent your lithium batteries from leaking if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not attempt anything you are not sure about, and if in doubt, consult a professional. Buying cheap batteries from an unknown source is not worth the risk.
Follow these tips to ensure that your lithium batteries last a long time and don’t leak.
How to Handle a Leaking Lithium Battery
To avoid any damage to your devices or injuries to yourself, replace a leaking lithium-ion battery immediately. Here’s how:
1. Remove the battery from the device
Remove batteries from the device immediately. If you are unable to remove the battery, turn off the device and unplug it from the power supply.
2. Dispose of the battery properly
Lithium batteries should be disposed of properly to prevent leaks into the environment or damage to the device.
3. Replace the battery pack
If you have removed the battery pack and disposed of it properly, you will need to replace it.
For Light electric vehicles battery pack:
It is not recommended that you attempt to replace the cells yourself since the pack uses well-soldered 18650 batteries.
The spoiled lithium cell can damage the entire battery pack and other parts of the device. The spoiled battery pack cannot be safely repaired.
4. Prevent future battery leaks
Follow the tips above to prevent your lithium batteries from leaking liquid electrolyte in the future.
While lithium batteries are generally safe and don’t leak often, you should still take precautions to prevent them from leaking. As compared to alkaline batteries, lithium batteries are less likely to leak.
Due to the fact that they produce less hydrogen gas when they’re being used, you can ensure that your lithium batteries last a long time and don’t leak by following the tips above. Clean up any leaking lithium or alkaline batteries immediately and dispose of them properly if they leak.