Do you vape? Check Your Charger NOW: Shocking Video Shows E-Cigarette’s Lithium Battery EXPLODING During Charging Test
- Video Shows Vape Exploding When Powered With Wrong Charger
- Experts say vapers should only use the charger that comes with the vaping device
- Vapes, or e-cigarettes, contain lithium-ion batteries just like our smartphones
Shocking new images suggest you might want to make sure you’re using the correct charger for your e-cigarette.
Video by experts from London charity Electrical Safety First shows a powerful explosion of a small lithium-ion battery inside an e-cigarette.
Also called vapes, e-cigarettes are electronic devices that allow you to inhale nicotine in the form of vapor rather than smoking.
But just like smartphones and electric cars, e-cigarettes contain lithium-ion batteries that can ignite or explode if punctured, damaged or overheated.
Just like your mobile phone, your e-cigarette battery needs to be recharged – but only using the charger that comes with it (file photo)
WHAT ARE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES?
A lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery that is charged and discharged by lithium ions moving between the negative (anode) and positive (cathode) electrodes.
Lithium-ion batteries contain lithium which is only present in ionic form in the electrolyte.
Because lithium-ion batteries are suitable for high capacity energy storage, they are used in a wide range of applications, including consumer electronics such as smartphones and PCs, industrial robots, production equipment and automobiles.
Source: IATA/Green Batteries/Toshiba
In the video, the little silver vape is overcharged to a higher voltage than it should be by using the wrong USB connector.
The battery inside the vape cannot handle the higher voltage, so it enters a state of “thermal runaway” and explodes wildly inside a protective plexiglass container.
The thin wire in the video is a thermocouple that measures vape temperature, which is monitored on a yellow thermometer.
According to the charity, the e-cigarette device in the video is unbranded and may have been purchased from a local market or online.
In the meantime, the charger in the video is a USB connector, but not the one that came with the vape when it was purchased.
This therefore highlights the dangers of not using the charger that comes with a vape, perhaps after it is lost or broken.
The UK government also stresses the importance of using the right vape charger.
It says on its website: “Only use the charger that comes with the vape to charge it. Don’t charge your vape overnight and check your device regularly while it’s charging. Unplug your vape when fully charged.’
In the video, the vape is overcharged to a higher voltage using an incorrect USB connector. The battery inside the vape can’t handle the higher voltage, so it enters a state of thermal runaway and explodes wildly inside a protective plexiglass container.
The thin wire in the video is a thermocouple that measures vape temperature, which is monitored on a yellow thermometer. The charger is black and the e-cigarette is the small silver object on the right
Britons may already be considering keeping their vape in their pocket after the devices exploded and caused horrific burns.
In 2020, British photographer Graham Tooby was suddenly engulfed in blue flames and left permanently scarred when his vape’s lithium battery exploded.
Mr Tooby said he was lucky he missed his genitals and feared what would have happened if his pocket had been an inch to the right.
He told local media: ‘My brother-in-law threw water on me, but since lithium batteries don’t stop until they run out of power, they kept burning. .
“There was instant pain and panic and I didn’t really know what to do because it all happened so suddenly, it wasn’t like the device had heated up beforehand, it literally went from zero to blue flames and a loud hiss within seconds.
“Without warning, fireworks were coming out of my pocket and we were all trying to stop it.”
Last year, two Australian men also suffered horrific injuries after lithium-ion batteries in their vaping devices exploded.
As a precautionary measure, vapers are encouraged not to overcharge the batteries of their e-cigarettes and to ensure that they use a protective case for the battery.
People are also warned not to leave the vape in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces, as this could also trigger a reaction.
Lithium-ion batteries are also found in electric bicycles, as well as in smartphones, robots, electric vehicles, etc.
Electrical Safety First also warns that e-bike chargers on online marketplaces are faulty and therefore at risk of starting ‘devastating fires’.
The charity found e-bike chargers on Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Wish.com and AliExpress which failed to meet “safety standards necessary for sale to UK consumers”.
HOW DO LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES WORK?
Batteries store and release energy by moving electrons from one “end” of the battery to the other.
We can use the energy of these moving electrons to do work for us, like powering a drill.
These two battery “ends” are called electrodes. One is called the anode and the other the cathode.
Typically, the anode is carbon and the cathode is a chemical compound called a metal oxide, such as cobalt oxide.
The final ingredient in the battery is known as the electrolyte and sits between the two electrodes.
In the case of lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte is a saline solution containing lithium ions, hence its name.
When you place the battery in a device, the positively charged lithium ions are attracted and move towards the cathode.
When bombarded with these ions, the cathode becomes more positively charged than the anode, which attracts negatively charged electrons.
When the electrons start moving towards the cathode, we force them to pass through our device and use the energy of the electrons “flowing” towards the cathode to generate power.
You can think of it like a water wheel, except instead of water flowing, electrons are flowing.
Lithium-ion batteries are particularly useful because they are rechargeable.
When the battery is connected to a charger, the lithium ions move in the opposite direction as before.
As they pass from cathode to anode, the battery is returned for another use.
Lithium-ion batteries can also produce significantly more electrical energy per unit weight than other batteries.
This means lithium-ion batteries can store the same amount of energy as other batteries, but do so in a lighter, smaller package.