All about electronic cigarette explosions (and how to avoid them)
By Linky Johnson 2019-05-03 399 0
Any battery can explode
The essential point is that it is never the device itself that explodes, but the battery. A screen, speaker, keyboard or clearomizer has no chance of exploding. It is always the battery that explodes, and it is the only one involved in accidents.
And it's a fact, any battery, whether in an electronic cigarette, a phone, a laptop computer or a cordless drill can explode. Most computers, wireless tools and electronic cigarettes with removable batteries use Li-On batteries, which can explode due to malfunction when their temperature reaches about 100°C. Fixed battery phones, tablets and electronic cigarettes use Li-Po batteries, which are always protected by an electronic circuit because they are much less stable than the previous ones.
In any case, it is sufficient if a failure of the electronics imposes an excessive charge on the battery to heat it, possibly to its point of ignition in which case it catches fire or explodes. This can even happen in standby. A phone is never completely switched off, its battery is always connected to the electronics since the circuit is never switched off.
A tiny minority of batteries explode
All these devices use batteries that can explode, that's a fact, and yet almost none of them do. That's nice of them, but it's mostly because portable device manufacturers realize that an explosion quickly messes up their reputation, Samsung with its S7 has had ample opportunity to measure how much. The protection of the electrical circuit and the battery is largely controlled, and is also inexpensive to install. So this is not where manufacturers save money and explosions are very rare.
What is the difference in electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes use the same batteries and protections as other devices, except for those that use removable batteries.
As we have seen, electronic cigarettes from which the battery cannot be removed use the same Li-Po as mobile phones, for example. The user does not have access to them, they cannot be "badly" manipulated because they are not manipulated at all. If a battery explodes, it is a defect in electronics or battery, there is not much you can do about it whatever the device and it is fortunately very rare. So really exceptional, all devices combined.
This technology is common to all portable devices, and both batteries and protective circuits are the same in electronic cigarettes. They do not explode more often than other devices for the obvious reason that they are identical in this respect... with one exception, removable batteries.
This brings us to the explanation of most electronic cigarette explosions, the removable batteries. As with fixed batteries, it is not the device that explodes, but the battery. But this time the battery can be replaced, charged on an external charger, removed from the device and transported separately.
Electronic cigarettes with removable batteries all use Li-On batteries, most often in 18650 format (18mm diameter and 65mm high). These batteries were not developed specifically for vape, which represents a very small market for them! They power laptops and electric vehicles, wireless tools among countless applications... whose safety is never compromised, and rightly so.
Li-On batteries are much more stable than Li-Po batteries on phones. They are better able to withstand high operating temperatures and are much less sensitive to shocks. However, they are intended to be used in seal packs, i. e. welded together and integrated into a box. The battery of a cordless drill or a laptop computer is several 18650s welded together in a sealed plastic. The user has access to the battery, but not to each battery separately.
Except that with electronic cigarettes with removable batteries, we use the battery alone, as it is, as we use a simple battery. With the exception that an 18650 contains much, much more energy than a simple battery. And that if you carry it in a pocket with keys or change, or a suitcase with a nail clipper or any metal part, you can short circuit it. The metal parts make contact between the two poles of the battery, the discharge is huge and immediately heats the battery, which reaches its ignition point in a few seconds and explodes.
The basic safety rule: never keep batteries near metal parts (keys, coins, etc.)
The electronic cigarette has nothing to do with it, it's not even a bad use of the battery, it's a bad transport. However, the user is not necessarily to blame if he has not been informed. Not everyone will spontaneously think about this risk and see the potential danger of a large battery. As with most domestic accidents, ignorance, inattention or simple forgetfulness have consequences far beyond the anecdotal. And like most domestic accidents, this one is very easy to avoid.
How to avoid battery explosions
Do you want to stay among the 99.9998% of users who will never have battery explosion problems? The first rule concerns the origin of almost all explosions, that of a battery in the pocket or a suitcase.
The golden rules:
● Always store and transport your 18650 batteries in appropriate protection!
● Never have a naked battery in a pocket, bag or suitcase!
The protection in question can be a box or a suitable silicone part. You can find them in all the vape shops and on the internet, for a cost that will not exceed 2 €.
As a result, you can be sure that your battery will not explode. Or at least it's not more likely to explode than your phone. This means that you are statistically more likely to be struck by lightning or to win the Lotto than to see the battery of your electronic cigarette explode.
And infinitely less than a smoker who has a one-in-two chance of dying from smoking.
One could almost limit oneself to this recommendation alone, as the other cases of explosion are such a minority. There are others, however, related as much to the approval of use as to safety itself. For those who want to go further, we have produced a complete guide on batteries, it is just waiting for you.
To go further
The topic of batteries is a vast one, and we have devoted a series of articles to it to give an overview of the issue.
To make it easy and safe for you to choose, we have selected the 5 best 18650 batteries. A simple guide to get straight to the point.
Beyond the choice of a battery reference, there are some brands to recommend and others to avoid. We have therefore established a picture of a market shared between manufacturers and rewrappers to find out which brand of battery to choose.
As simple as it may be, recharging batteries should not be done in any way and deserved a dedicated article to do it efficiently and safely.
Buying the right battery is good, but keeping it for a long time is even better! We have therefore prepared a complete tutorial to extend the life of its batteries.
However, a battery will always end up losing performance, suffering a shock or a snag on its protective plastic. The question is when to replace a battery and how to dispose of it.
For those who want to know more, the article on the essential characteristics of batteries explains everything about what the maximum discharge capacity and current of batteries really are, and how they are determined.
And if you want to understand everything you need to know to optimize the choice and use of your batteries, the article on the technical characteristics of batteries explains the concepts of internal resistance, volt sag, nominal voltage and details the different chemistry.
Finally, if, like many people, you think that the serial / parallel configuration of the batteries or the resistance of the assembly has any importance on the autonomy or the intensity drawn on the batteries in an electronic box, the article on the choice of batteries in an electronic box is for you.
● Never use a battery beyond its specifications, for its longevity as well as for your safety.
● Always carry your batteries in suitable protection, most of the rare accidents are related to the transport of bare batteries.
● Use only batteries in perfect condition, without scratches or impacts.
● A battery is not thrown away, it is deposited in a specific recycling box.
|You may also want to read:|
|Vaper’s guide | learn the secret to atomizer coil heads|
|Newbie guide to E-cig atomizers: 10 things you always wanted to ask|
|Vaper's guide: your essential guide to rebuildable atomizers|
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