What causes a LiPo battery to catch fire?

Safety has long been a crucial factor affecting any industry. To prevent lipo batteries from catching fire, we must first understand the causes to avoid risks and use these batteries properly. So what causes a Lipo battery to catch fire? This article will provide more information about lipo batteries’ safety and precautions.

What causes a LiPo battery to catch fire

What causes a Lipo battery to catch fire?

Incompatible Charger

Charging LiPo batteries is unique and needs a dedicated lipo charger specifically designed for them. The lipo charger has to be of good quality to provide the necessary voltage when it is being charged. A LiPo battery may burst into flames and explode if charged with the incorrect charger or charged to its maximum capacity. If you charge a cell to a higher voltage than 4.2 volts, it has the potential to explode or catch fire.

Overcharging or discharging

The lipo battery pack features a voltage differential. If the lipo charger cannot automatically adjust the voltage difference of each cell and instead charges or discharges the battery directly, the battery will be overcharged or over-discharged. Overcharging the battery causes considerable harm; worst case, it catches fire. Over-discharge will also harm the battery, causing your drone to lose power and crash.

Incorrect Connection of Positive and Negative Terminal

Incorrect positive and negative terminal connections can cause fire or explosion. Loose connections that touch each other might create fires. LiPo explosion intensity varies on charging. Higher charging implies more explosion risk. 

Damage batteries

Drone pilots, particularly those who fly fpv drones, will encounter several crashes that can harm your lithium polymer battery. After crashing your drone, a puncture or damage lipo battery may cause a short circuit between the battery’s positive and negative electrode plates or connectors, causing it to generate smoke or even catch fire.

High Temperature

Lithium battery electrolyte decomposes at high temperatures, damaging the battery membrane. A short circuit is caused by membrane melting, and then electricity enhances heat creation. Damage produces explosion membrane rupture, electrolyte ejection, combustion, and fire.

Production Defects

During the creation of lithium-ion batteries, defects in the manufacturing process could let metallic impurities enter the cell. Battery manufacturers must have cleanrooms with tight environmental controls for battery production. In practice, the thinning of separators could potentially be a shortcoming that proves detrimental. Before sale, cells must undergo stringent quality control and validation procedures.

How to prevent Lipo batteries from catching fire or exploding?

  • We may take a few steps to lessen the likelihood that lithium batteries could cause property damage to our houses or places and personal injury to any individuals.
  • When you make your purchase, ensure you only get lipo batteries from reputable companies.
  • Never put non-rechargeable batteries through the charging process.
  • Lipo batteries should not be exposed to excessive temperatures at any time.
  • After the charging cycle, lipo batteries should no longer be left on a charger.
  • Charge your lipo batteries only while you are at home or when someone else is around to monitor the charging status.
  • Only the lipo charger that came with the battery should be used to charge it, or another lipo charger must be specifically listed as compatible with the battery by the manufacturer.
  • If feasible, you should try to charge a battery inside a lipo fireproof container.
  • When putting something away for storage with a lithium-ion battery, you should take the battery out of the object if possible.
  • If possible, examine the batteries when they have just been placed and after they have been charged. Do not attempt to recharge the battery if you can see that it has been swelling or damaged. 
  • If you sense an excessive amount of heat emanating from the gadget that is being charged, you should disconnect it from the power source and place it somewhere safe and away from flammable objects until it has cooled down. If it is a larger battery fires, call the fire department. It is imperative that you immediately replace the battery.

Why Do Lithium Batteries Catch Fire?

Thermal runaway causes the majority of lithium batteries to catch fire. When conditions are met that cause reaction to proceed that cannot be stopped, a thermal runaway occurs. These reactions are exothermic, producing heat, which may be enough to start a fire.

What makes LiPo batteries work

A LiPo battery, or more specifically, a cell in a LiPo battery, consists of a container that holds a polymer gel electrolyte. One side of the container is the anode, and the other is the cathode. Every terminals has a current collector, and a divider in the middle of the battery cell cuts it in half.

What to do if the Battery Catches Fire

  • Lithium-ion batteries contain a small quantity of lithium metal and may be extinguished with water in the event of a fire. Alternatively, a Class D fire extinguisher is necessary for lithium-metal batteries.
  • You can put out a fire involving lithium-ion the same way you would put out a fire involving any other flammable material by using a foam extinguisher, carbon dioxide (CO2), an ABC dry chemical, powdered graphite, powdered copper, or soda (sodium carbonate).
  • Let it burn in a safe and controlled environment if a lithium-ion battery pack is on fire and cannot be put out.
  • Keep an eye on the spread of cells since they may be eaten at different rates as the temperature rises. Leave a pack that appears to be completely spent outside for a while.
  • If the lithium battery causes a fire, you must use the proper extinguishing chemical to put out the flames. For each distinct kind of fire, it’s crucial to employ a specialized extinguishing method.

Can LiPo batteries catch fire when not in use?

A chemical reaction is what causes a LiPo fire. Keep a fire extinguisher of Class D close to your battery charging/discharging and storage area. The space designated for the charging, discharging, and storing of batteries must be free of combustible items such as wooden tables, carpeting, and fuel containers.

How do you know if a LiPo battery is bad?

When a Lithium polymer battery’s capacity decreases below 20%, it should be discarded. Damaged LiPo batteries should be disposed of at a local recycling facility if they are swollen, split, or torn.

What causes a LiPo battery to catch fire

What happens when a battery gets swollen?

Leaving a swollen lithium-ion battery in your FPV drone poses a significant risk of accident or injury. It may become damaged, allowing harmful gases to escape.

How often should I balance charge LiPo batteries?

If you’re using LiPo batteries, you only need to tweak the charge current. Try to constantly charge in a balanced fashion. A flat charger ensures that each cell receives the same amount of wind and is charged to the same voltage.

What is the lifespan of a LiPo battery?

LiPo batteries usually last between 150 and 250 charging cycles. This is because the batteries get hot during usage and many users discharge them to voltages below 3.0V per cell. Their lifespan may also be shortened by physical harm or by exposure to water.

How common are LiPo battery fires?

Lithium battery fires are incredibly rare, but they can start instantly and wreak a significant amount of damage when they happen.

Is it okay to overcharge the Li-polymer battery?

When a lithium-ion battery is overcharged, the internal conditions of the battery can become unstable, the pressure can rise, and the battery can experience thermal runaway. Battery packs that use li-ion cells are needed to incorporate a protective circuit to avoid the buildup of an unsafe amount of pressure and stop ions’ passage when the temperature gets too high.

Thermal run and catastrophic failure can occur as a result of overcharge, over-discharge, over-temperature, short-circuit, crushing, or sharp objects penetration.

What are the best safety precautions when charging a Lipo battery?

As a general rule, it would be best if you never discharge Lithium ion batteries to a voltage lower than 3.0 volts per cell or charge them to a voltage higher than 4.2 volts per cell. Lipo battery bags are an exceptional kind of safety protection.

In conclusion, a LiPo battery can catch fire for several reasons, including mishandling or overcharging. Always properly charge your batteries before you use them, and be sure to keep an eye on them at all times.

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