Why It Is Unsafe To Expose Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer Batteries to Extreme Temperatures
As you can see in the below given image, there are some warning signs printed on the mobile phone battery. The same warning signs are found on the battery of a power bank and other battery operated devices. One of the signs (the leftmost) indicates that the battery should not be exposed to fire.
You certainly want to know why. Will the battery explode due to high temperature? However, you should know the battery should not be subjected to extremely low temperature as well. What will happen to the battery when exposed to extremely low temperature? We will answer the questions surfacing in your mind.
Mobile phones, tablets, power banks and most of the other battery-operated devices use lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries. Before learning why the battery should not be exposed to extreme temperature, first of all, learn about signs of the battery that is likely to explode.
Battery Explosion: Warning Signs to Watch Out
When a Smartphone, tablet, power bank or any battery operated device starts generating too much of heat, especially while charging, it is the right time to replace the battery. After that, it will be too late. Lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries generate manageable heat during charging. However, recycled batteries and batteries made from poor quality material produce more heat and this is dangerous.
Batteries bulging out can be easily noticed. However, there is a simple way to test a battery for bulging. Put the battery on a table or any flat surface and then spin it. If it spins easily without any friction between the surface and the battery, the battery is bulging out. Therefore, replace it. The battery bulging out can damage the circuitry. Consequently, this can result in a battery explosion.
If there is a visible physical damage then stop using that battery. The battery is likely to explode when exposed to high temperature. Leakage of the battery chemicals can also damage the circuitry of the phone, power bank, tablet or other devices.
Recycled batteries are always unsafe. Therefore, always buy original and genuine batteries and battery operated devices from authorized stores.
Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer Batteries
These are two most used batteries in battery operated gadgets. Both batteries are using Lithium. There are two reasons for using this metal. First of all, lithium is the lightest metal and second, it has the highest electric potential. Various chemical reactions take place in both batteries depending on the electrolyte. The charging temperature of both batteries should remain between 0°C and 60°C. And, the storage temperature should not be less than -20°C and more than 60°C. Otherwise, the battery will be damaged for good.
The capacity of lithium polymer battery is more than the lithium-ion battery. Since, both batteries recyclable, these are recycled. Sadly, recycled lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries are not as reliable and safe as newly manufactured batteries. This is the reason why recycled batteries should be avoided.
Subjecting Latium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer Battery to Extreme Temperatures
If you have ever seen a broken battery, it consists of rectangular metal plates. All these metal plates in a lithium ion and lithium polymer battery are surrounded by chemicals. Due to the presence of these chemicals, the battery becomes sensitive to extremely high temperatures. When the battery of a Smartphone, power bank or any other battery operated device is getting charged, voltage runs through these metal plates.
This excites electrons inside the battery. Now, these metal plates and chemicals inside the battery interact to create energy. This energy is stored in the battery and depleted when the device is in use. As these chemicals are sensitive to extreme temperatures, these are worn out when the temperature is extreme.
At Extremely High Temperatures
You are always recommended to not to place Smartphone, tablet, power bank or any other battery operated device on a hot object. Electrons excited due to voltage quickly go out of control. Out of control electrons often cause leakage of chemicals. Rupturing of the battery is another consequence of exposing battery to extremely high temperature.
At Extremely Low Temperature
When you are charging the battery at extremely low-temperature, electrons do not get excited. This happens because the maximum voltage a battery can handle is reduced.
Therefore, the performance of the battery is likely to degrade. This degradation is expected to be between 10% and 40%. As we all know, brittleness increases with increasing temperature. Therefore, brittle components of the battery become vulnerable. However, the lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries do not explode at extremely low temperature.
Many individuals have suffered due to a battery explosion. Teeth are broken due to e-cigarette battery explosions. Hands and thighs are burnt. Therefore, first of all, do not expose your battery operated devices to extremely high temperatures to prevent injuries due to blast. Battery at extremely low temperature does not blast and therefore, is not dangerous.
However, the battery life and performance is degraded. Companies manufacturing battery operated device such Smartphone, promotional power bank etc. should not use recycled batteries or batteries made from poor quality material.