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Can Lead Acid Batteries Explode? 

 September 19, 2021

By  Phil Borges

Lead-acid batteries are the most common kind of rechargeable battery. They can produce a lot of power and last for decades with proper care. However, they're not without their drawbacks. One issue that some people have is whether or not lead-acid batteries can explode? This blog post will provide you with information on why this is likely to happen, including things we need to be aware of the possibility in case there is an accident.

Can Lead Acid Batteries Explode?

Lead-acid batteries are a type of rechargeable battery that can be found in cars, motorcycles, and boats. The battery is made up of cells that use lead plates, an electrolyte fluid, and grids as the active components for generating power. As you might have guessed, one thing people often wonder is if they can explode-the answer is yes. Let's identify the reasons why lead-acid batteries can explode and what to do if it occurs.

1. Overcharging the battery

There are many reasons why a lead-acid battery could explode. The most common reason is overcharging the battery, which causes gasses to build up inside that cannot escape fast enough because of poor ventilation or restricted access. The result is an explosion.

2. Incorrect charger being used

Another reason why a lead-acid battery could explode is if an incorrect charger was being used. If the wrong charger is connected to a battery, you're going to cause it harm. 

A battery's life can be shortened if it is charged using the wrong charger. If you charge a smaller capacity battery with the incorrect charger, then that could damage the battery and shorten its lifespan in general.

3. If placed near where static electricity is present

It's important to have your lead acid battery properly secured in a location where it will not be exposed to any unnecessary vibrations. If you place the battery near where static electricity is present, then that could cause a spark and an explosion as a result of electrolyte fluid-caused arcing or thermal runaway.

4. If the batteries are charging in a room with insufficient ventilation.

It's also essential to ensure your lead-acid batteries are charging in a room with sufficient ventilation. If not, then it could cause an explosion when hydrogen gas builds up and cannot escape quickly enough because of poor ventilation or restricted access.

When your batteries do get charged, make sure that there is proper ventilation and keep an eye out for any excessive heat or strange odors coming off of the batteries. If you notice any of these things, it's best to stop charging the lead-acid battery and take a look at your charger to make sure everything is in working order.

5. Smaller size or Ah capacity are used

There are dangers if the wrong size battery is used. Sometimes, because of availability or cost concerns, people use smaller batteries in their equipment or vehicle than recommended by manufacturers. This can lead to the charger charging a larger capacity battery which overcharges it and causes bubbling gas that could explode with too much pressure inside its container, making it dangerous for you.

6. If battery terminals are shorted externally with any metallic item or conductive substance, the battery can erupt.

7. Clogged vent holes with corrosion may cause an explosion

If the battery's vent holes are clogged with corrosion, it can impede gas escape and make two things happen:

The gases will build up inside the lead-acid batteries, which could possibly explode or catch on fire if they become too pressurized. The electrolyte fluid level will drop because of evaporation which will cause a loss of battery power and ultimately damage the battery.

How to prevent the explosion in a lead-acid battery?

Lead-acid battery explosions are a rare occurrence, but it is possible. Exploding batteries can be avoided by:

  • The batteries must be kept in a cool area with a moderate temperature.
  • Avoid using a battery if it is too old or has been exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Don't try to charge a battery for a long period of time without taking it off the charger.
  • Use an appropriate charger that is matched with the needs of the battery.
  • Never swap the positive and negative terminals from each other when connecting it to a charger.

What to do if the battery explodes?

If the battery explodes, you should douse the flames with a fire extinguisher. Once the fire is out, try to determine why the lead-acid battery exploded-if it's due to a manufacturing defect or external influence. 

Is a leaking lead-acid battery terrible?

Yes, a leaking lead-acid battery is bad. Leaking batteries can either fill the area with corrosive gas or leak acid, which can cause the battery to short out and become really dangerous. The leaks from a lead-acid battery can also contaminate the environment if it is not disposed of properly.

Conclusion

The use of lead-acid batteries is increasing because they are a cheaper alternative to other types. However, if you want to keep your investment safe and avoid the risk of an explosion, you should take extra precautions and practice safety when working with them. Reasons or causes for possible explosions are detailed in the article above, which we hope you find informative and helpful.

About the author

Hi, I'm Phil Borges.. thanks for reading.. My wife says I can't shut up about batteries so to save my marriage I've started this blog .. where I'd be ranting about batteries! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

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