The short answer: No. The chances of having a lithium-ion battery explode on you are less than your chances of having a coconut fall on your head or falling prey to a shark-attack. However, as we’ve seen in several instances around the world, every once in a great while there is the case of a lithium-ion battery spontaneously combusting and causing damage. In extremely rare instances, as was the case last month in China, the explosions have been deadly.
Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more and more common by the day. Their efficiency, performance, and durability have led them to become the battery of choice for many electronics; everything from laptops, cameras, ipods, and even automobiles are being designed with lithium-ion batteries as their source of energy. Interestingly enough, the risk involved with lithium-ion lies within the same chemicals that make them so popular.
What Causes a Battery to Explode?
“Lithium-ion batteries contain lithium and carbon. Lithium is highly reactive which is partly what makes it a good choice for power; it packs a lot of energy inside a small space and is capable of holding that charge. Lithium is heat-sensitive and can degrade if it is kept in an environment with a high temperature. A tiny on-board computer is necessary to manage a Lithium battery; if it fails to work properly, there is a risk that the battery will explode.”
Again, the risk is so minute that hopefully no one is staying up at night wondering if their laptop is going to explode the next time they hop online. A simple recommendation would be to do a small bit of research on the batteries you are using, pay attention to recalls as they are announced, and find yourself a reliable source for purchasing your batteries and stick with them. A little precaution can go a long way, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.