Can Batteries Cause Fires?

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Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by ManFromGlass »

If I save dead batteries in a bucket for proper disposal later and some of them aren’t completely dead and say positives touch positives and negatives touch negatives is there the potential for shorting or generating enough heat to cause a fire?
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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by Folderol »

Yes!
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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by MOF »

Potentially yes, in reality highly unlikely. Given that they’re already mostly depleted they’re not able to supply much current/voltage and the likelihood that they would be able to make the necessary connections i.e. positive to negative in series and then to get the end most positive terminal to short with the end most negative terminal and you see how unlikely that is.
When you see how they’re stored at recycling depots i.e. in a plastic bin, then you’ll see that it’s not considered a health and safety issue.
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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by Martin Walker »

MOF wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:02 pm When you see how they’re stored at recycling depots i.e. in a plastic bin, then you’ll see that it’s not considered a health and safety issue.

Having said that, here's an article that includes a video of an explosion at a recycling centre due to 'zombie batteries':

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54634802

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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by ben howes »

Also depends on the chemistry. Lithium based batteries are much more capable of combusting than NiMH or alkaline types. Ask Boeing.
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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by MOF »

Having said that, here's an article that includes a video of an explosion at a recycling centre due to 'zombie batteries':

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54634802


Also depends on the chemistry. Lithium based batteries are much more capable of combusting than NiMH or alkaline types. Ask Boeing.

I was assuming that they were conventional alkaline batteries, the lithium types usually have recessed terminals and it would be a good idea to put insulation tape over them to prevent shorting.
In the recent past we were given plastic bags by the council to put batteries in, to be left on top of the recycling bin.
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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by Folderol »

If I'm disposing of any batteries in the PPx series, I always cut off the clasp shaped terminal. These can very easily short out against any other metal.

Many years ago there was a short film clip with a woman apparently shopping. Among other things she got a PP9 (in those days, this didn't come with the terminals covered), some tins of fruit and a bag of flour. Then walked along quite jauntily until the bag burst into flames. The jostling had punctured the bag of flour, and the PP9 against one of the tins created a spark.

OK this was contrived to make a point, but it's always best to be cautious with any source of energy that is supposedly spent. Lithium batteries are a special case. Any damage can cause them to spontaneously self ignite :(
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Re: Can Batteries Cause Fires?

Post by BWC »

I like to put a small piece of tape over terminals, just for the peace of mind.

A decade or more ago, there was some story about an explosion or something that rattled the electronics industry a bit. The facility I worked in at that time did a lot of repair work, and had a high daily volume of button cells tossed into scrap bins, along with all manner of other components and bits of metal. They made it a part of all their documented processes to wrap a layer of tape around each cell before tossing it into the bin. One tech got smart, and saved them over the course of each day. Then, at the end of the day, laid out a long strip of tape, sticky side up, and placed the cells, spaced so she could just roll 'em up and toss into the bin, quick and tidy, and safe.
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