Why do lithium batteries in electric cars catch fire?

Over the past decade, lithium-ion batteries have become an integral part of almost every aspect of daily life. from smartphones, watches and in general all Consumer electronicsuntil Large high capacity batteries for electric vehicles, it is the most widespread chemical how many are available. Although the development of technology Security is always the most important feature to protectthe risk of short circuit or thermal runaway And so the fire inherent in technology is always present. These are the reasons why lithium batteries can catch fire.

Lithium-ion batteries pose some safety risks if not supported properly, The principle of operation of lithium-ion batteries makes them prone to combustion. It is therefore necessary to put in place safety measures by the manufacturers and to follow certain precautions by their users.

inside lithium battery

Generally speaking, lithium-ion batteries work store energy in chemical form and release it in electrical form through a series of electrochemical reactions. To do this, its interior consists of a series of components. cathode The electrode is made of positively charged particles. anode It is made up of negatively charged particles. between them is placed a liquid electrolyte solution By which lithium ions flow from anode to cathode. It is this movement of ions that creates an electric current in the battery.

One of the main causes of fire inside a lithium-ion battery comes from the separator that separates the anode and cathode from being damaged.

Another important component of the battery, often omitted from the simplest description, is separator, It is a thin porous membrane that separates the anode from the cathode. In this way, the separator allows the movement of ions between the anode and the cathode without the two terminals physically touching, which can lead to a short circuit.

In particular, one of the main causes of fires inside lithium-ion batteries is The separator that separates the anode and the cathode is damaged, In the event of a failure of this component, a short circuit will be created, the anode and the cathode coming into contact. When this happens, the electrolyte solution, which contains a range of organic solvents, is likely to overheat and possibly ignite.

As they move between the electrodes, the lithium ions pass through what are called electrochemical deposits forming dendrites, which are small, hard tree-like structures that grow as needle-like projections. These structures are responsible for perforating the separator.

Beyond punctures and breakages, thermal runaway is another leading cause of battery explosions and fires. This is a phenomenon where high external temperatures can cause exothermic reactions within the battery itself, further increasing its temperature. This self-reinforcing cycle that leads to overheating can eventually lead to an explosion.

Thermal runaway is another major cause of battery explosions and fires.

real risk

Today, lithium batteries power almost all the electronic devices around us and even those that transport us, Safety precautions are a primary goal for its manufacturers, While batteries are largely safe on a small scale because they are manufactured in large quantities, the potential for increased incidents of security breaches increases. The generalization of these batteries in electric vehicles also means that this trend continues to grow.

To ensure a safer future, there is a series of paths That chemists and engineers can take for the technical development of these batteries. One solution may be to explore new ways to ensure your safety, such as Safe loading techniques and wrapping and securing systems,

Although the goal is to achieve batteries with higher energy densities, faster charge rates and minimal degradation, manufacturers know that safety must be a priority in the development and manufacturing process.