Swollen battery – cause, fixation, and FAQs
- What causes the battery to swell?
- Is it safe to touch a swollen battery?
- Can a swollen battery shrink?
- Can a swollen battery be fixed by ourselves or itself?
- Where can I throw a swollen battery?
- Where can we store a swollen battery?
- How should I dispose of a swollen lithium-ion battery?
- What should be the next course of action if you are unable to remove a swollen battery?
- What can we do to avoid swollen battery?
Swollen battery needs specific attention because the health of your electronic device depends on it. It’s a serious topic to be covered, as swollen batteries come with a bundle of questions, confusion, and complications. For that, this article covers every possible aspect of swollen batteries for your comprehension, and handling. So, let’s cut to the chase!
What causes the battery to swell?
The answer is “gases.” But there’s a detailed process behind this gas production, causing the batteries to swell. It’s all hidden in the charging and discharging of a battery. When a battery is charged, the lithium ions flow from one terminal of the battery to the other, and when we consume that stored chemical energy, it gets discharged, and the ions move in the opposite direction. This process is mainly between the battery terminal.
There are two common reasons that cause battery swelling.
Overcharging will cause all the lithium atoms in the positive electrode material to run into the negative electrode material, causing the original full grid of the positive electrode to deform and collapse, which is one of the main reasons for the decrease in the power of the lithium battery pack.
- Over discharge
The SEI film has a protective effect on the negative electrode material, making the material structure less prone to collapse, and can increase the cycle life of the electrode material. After the battery is over-discharged, the SEI film is reversibly broken, and the SEI protecting the negative electrode material is destroyed, causing the negative electrode material to collapse, thereby forming the bulging phenomenon of the lithium battery.
If the charger used does not meet the requirements, it will also cause the battery to bulge.
Is it safe to touch a swollen battery?
A swollen battery is like an overfilled balloon that is likely to break. Therefore, touching the battery forcefully or in any other way can be dangerous. Once it is punctured, crushed, or bent, gases will escape in your hands while catching fire due to friction leading to serious injury.
Moreover, don’t try to squeeze the material out by pricking it, as the results can be seriously harmful and do harm to the environment.
Can a swollen battery shrink?
No, a swollen battery can’t shrink. And it is useless to make the swollen battery shrink. It is because no matter how long you wait for it to happen, it will stay the same size.
The other situation may shrink it by escaping the gases, but it comes with harmful outcomes leading to flames and explosion. So that’s not at all a wise way forward. Generally, it is not recommended to use the battery after the bulge, it is best to replace the battery directly
Can a swollen battery be fixed by ourselves or itself?
Neither a swollen battery can be fixed by itself nor you. So what would be the workable options for a swollen battery fixation? Obviously, opening it up and looking for the defect. While you need to pay attention to this, because It will explode the battery.
The best options to cover this mess up are to replace the battery or the entire device with a new one. But someone may think that replacing the battery is an excellent option because if you keep using the device with the defective battery, you will have to throw the intact device.
Some people also recommend putting the battery in a fridge or freezer, but it’s not a worthy practice. Because It is useless. Other than that, freezing temperature also causes the internal constituents of the battery to constrict and get damaged, which can also cause short-circuiting and fire.
Where can I throw a swollen battery?
Swollen battery issues can come across any person using an electronic device. So, keep in mind that swollen batteries should only be thrown away with precautious measures.
- Firstly, you have to practice safe disposal.
- You need to carefully remove the battery and then take it to the electronic waste center or battery factory for its proper disposal.
- But you need to be extra careful while handling the battery, as there’s a proper procedure for removing it.
For the removal of the battery:
- Handle the battery slowly, and don’t use force to remove it as it may puncture it.
- Before handling, wear gloves made up of non-flammable material and goggles. If you can’t remove it, take assistance from a professional.
- After removal of the battery, keep it in a cool and dry container until disposal.
Where can we store a swollen battery?
The best place to store a swollen battery must exhibit the following features:
- The place must be dry and safe.
- It must be cool and away from heat sources or ignition points.
- The container must be of a suitable plastic, steel, holding the swollen batteries and must have a danger sign telling people about the hazardous material.
- After that, the safest way is to take your batteries to an authorized battery disposal facility, and other professional swollen battery disposal place.
How should I dispose of a swollen lithium-ion battery?
The lithium-ion battery needs proper methods to deal with. A major contributor to flames is the electrolytic fluid containing lithium ions, oxygen-rich metallic cathode, and other flammable gases.
However, in general, a lithium battery with good quality and good function will have a built-in battery management system, which can prevent abnormal conditions such as overheating and overcurrent of the battery, and can cut off the power supply in time when abnormal conditions occur to ensure safety.
To a large extent It reduces the risk of fire and explosion of lithium-ion batteries, so when we use a functioning lithium-ion battery, it is still very safe. However, when the lithium-ion battery is bulging, it means that there is damage inside the battery. We are not sure whether the battery management system is enough or there is a problem, so we have to handle the bulging battery with care.
Considering these reasons, the disposal of such batteries is really a demanding process. These batteries shouldn’t be thrown into household garbage and public recycling bins. There must be a separate recycling or waste bin in the household.
What should be the next course of action if you are unable to remove a swollen battery?
The battery can be in your fish finder, power tool,electric motorcycle, or any other electrical device. It needs to be correctly disposed of once it is swollen. But sometimes, the battery can get stuck inside the device and is unable to be removed. Therefore, to remove and dispose of such batteries, we should be very cautious.
So, if the battery is stuck inside the device and swollen too, the details below guide you thoroughly about the next course of action.
- If the swollen battery is irremovable, the other option for you is to replace the entire device.
- Another way is to go for a technical professional to remove it safely, as forced removal can puncture, bend or pressurize the battery, causing it to burst and catch fire.
What can we do to avoid swollen battery?
It’s the ultimate destination for a battery to get damaged or non-functional over time. Still, wrong practices and other defects like manufacturing and physical damage may shorten the functioning time.
For a lithium-ion or lithium polymer battery to survive healthily for a more extended period, the following precautions should be attempted:
- Keep your battery-containing device away from heat, such as under the sun, inside the car, or leaving the device with the functioning processor in sleep mode. Don’t overuse your device, as it also causes overheat of battery. Don’t put it on charge near a heat source, and also, don’t leave it plugged in all the time.
- If you don’t need to use your device for an extended period, store it with the safety instructions mentioned in the device manual in a cool and dry place.
- Use a charger of high quality, such as the charger that has come with it. If it’s no longer operational, use another one of the same models which has similar voltage to cope with the incompatibility between the charger and the device’s battery. Lithium batteries must use a special lithium battery charger.
- If your battery performance isn’t that good all the time, it’s good to replace it with a new one.