Can Swollen Batteries Explode: Understanding the Risks and Prevention

Scott Daly

Swollen Macbook Batteries

Yes, a swollen battery in a device like a smartphone, iPad, or laptop can pose serious safety concerns and even explode. These batteries swell due to gases building up inside when the battery’s internal structure fails. Recognizing the signs of a swollen battery is critical because it can potentially lead to dangerous situations, including fires or explosions. When a battery swells, it indicates it is compromised and can no longer function safely.

Swelling can occur due to overcharging, damage, or aging. It affects the battery’s ability to hold a charge and can put pressure on the device’s internal structure. This pressure might damage the device further. If a swollen battery is punctured or continues to degrade, it may release harmful chemicals or catch fire. Immediate attention is required to address a swollen battery, and one should not charge or use the affected device to reduce the risk of an explosion or fire.

It is crucial that a swollen battery is handled carefully. Users are advised to power down the device and avoid further use. For safety, the affected device should be kept away from flammable materials. In many cases, professional help is recommended for safely removing and disposing of the swollen battery.

There’s an entire Reddit Community dedicated to swollen batteries you can check out to see pictures & comments on:

Swollen Batteries: Safety Guide and Explosion Risks

A swollen battery isn’t just a minor malfunction; it’s a potential safety hazard. Here’s what you need to know about the causes, dangers, and how to handle a swollen battery.

Why Batteries Swell

  • Overcharging: Leaving your device plugged in even after it reaches 100% can overstress the battery, causing it to swell.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Sometimes, flaws introduced during the production process can lead to batteries swelling unexpectedly.
  • Extreme Temperatures: Excessive heat or cold can damage the internal components of the battery, leading to a dangerous buildup of gases.
  • Physical Damage: Drops, punctures, or crushing can damage the battery’s protective layers and cause it to swell.

The Danger of Swollen Battery Explosions

When a battery swells, it’s filled with flammable gases. In severe cases, these gases can cause the battery to rupture or even explode:

  • Fire Hazard: Battery explosions can ignite surrounding materials, potentially causing a fire.
  • Chemical Burns: If a battery explodes, it can spray harmful chemicals that may cause burns or irritation on contact with skin.
  • Device Damage: The force of an explosion can damage your device, rendering it unusable or even causing further safety risks.

How to Handle a Swollen Battery

Isolate the device immediately.Continue to use, charge, or handle the device with the swollen battery.
Turn the device off if possible.Attempt to puncture or remove the battery yourself.
Place the device in a non-flammable container, such as a metal box or fireproof bag.Store the device near other electronics or flammable materials.
Take the device to a local battery disposal facility or electronics store for safe disposal.Discard the battery in standard household trash.

Prevention is Key

  • Follow Charging Best Practices. Avoid leaving your devices plugged in overnight or for extended periods after they reach a full charge.
  • Temperature Control: Protect your devices from extreme heat or cold.
  • Use Quality Chargers: Opt for reputable chargers compatible with your device to avoid electrical issues.
  • Inspect Regularly: Check your devices’ batteries for any signs of swelling or bulging and act immediately.

Remember: A swollen battery is a ticking time bomb. Treat it with caution and prioritize safety to prevent accidents.

Key Takeaways

  • A swollen battery indicates a failure and is a safety hazard.
  • It’s important not to charge or stress a device with a swollen battery.
  • Professional help should be sought for handling and disposal.

Understanding Swollen Batteries

Swollen batteries are a serious issue that can affect various devices including smartphones and laptops. These changes in a battery’s size may lead to safety hazards.

Causes of Battery Swelling

Chemical Reactions: Inside lithium-ion batteries, charging and discharging involve chemical reactions. If these reactions become unbalanced, possibly due to overcharging or high temperatures, gases can build up, leading to swelling.

  • Overcharging occurs when a device is left on the charger too long, pushing more energy into the battery than it can safely hold.
  • Physical damage, manufacturing flaws, or exposure to water can also breach the battery casing and lead to swelling.

Stress Factors: Everyday use puts stress on batteries. Over time, natural degradation reduces their ability to hold a charge, which may contribute to swelling.

Risks of Swollen Batteries

  • Explosion and Fire: When a battery swells, it indicates that the internal structure is compromised. This can lead to a rupture or explosion if the gases inside ignite.
  • Leaking Hazardous Materials: A swollen battery can also leak, posing risks of chemical burns or environmental harm.

Identification and Symptoms

Look for these signs to spot a swollen battery:

  • Bulging: The device may look puffy or bulging in areas where the battery is located.
  • Operational Issues: A swollen battery may cause the device to malfunction, not charge properly, or even shut down.

Physical Symptoms: If the casing of a device won’t close or appears misshapen, and you feel unusual resistance when pressing on it, the battery may be swollen.