You should learn how to avoid this scenario because lead-acid batteries can explode for a variety of reasons.
In most cases, lead acid batteries perform admirably as starting and house batteries in cars, boats, and other vehicles. On rare occasions, they do, however, detonate when charged. When the volume of hydrogen gas evolved exceeds 4%, lead-acid batteries can explode due to overcharging, gassing, and other conditions.
You can find out more about the causes of lead-acid battery explosions and how to avoid them by reading this blog. Learn Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled?
Can Lead-acid Batteries Explode?
Yes, an overcharged lead-acid battery will release hydrogen gas as water in the battery breaks down into oxygen and hydrogen. Gas may dissipate through vents in the battery’s cell walls if the rate of overcharging is not great. However, if the overcharge is severe, a flammable concentration of hydrogen may accumulate in the cell or the battery enclosure, where an open flame or a spark may set off an explosion.
When batteries are charged, hydrogen and oxygen gases are released, both of which are extremely explosive and flammable. Many lead acid explosions are believed to occur when the electrolyte level gets below the level of the plates, which would allow for hydrogen/oxygen to accumulate. The accumulated gases may ignite when the battery is activated by producing a spark.
Causes of Lead-acid Batteries Explosion
A lead battery can explode due to either or a combination of the following reasons:
The battery can explode if it is subject to an overcharge i.e. charged continuously though it is fully charged. A battery is said to be fully charged when the active material on the negative plates and lead dioxide on the positive plates have both changed. There is no lead sulfate active material to be chemically converted in such a situation on both positive and negative plates. Learn How to Desulfate a Lead Acid Battery.
Heat energy is produced when the charger’s electrical energy, which is intended to be converted to chemical energy, is used. The vent plugs pop up when the electrolyte is heated, and the evolving explosive hydrogen gas can also build up pressure high enough to cause the battery to explode.
If a bad charger is used to charge the battery, it could explode. When a battery is connected to a charger intended for a battery with a bigger capacity, the charger begins charging the battery at a higher current than is advised.
In such situations, the battery life is compromised and an internal short is caused by the plates’ active material starting to shed. Heat and an explosion are brought on by the internal short. In this instance, the internal short was caused by the wrong charger choice rather than a manufacturing flaw. So, you need to choose a good charger.
Static Electricity Causes Spark
If static electricity sources in the area of the batteries spark, the battery may explode. Furthermore, a fire or explosion can be started by unattended flames, welding sparks, or any other sparks close to batteries while the batteries are charging. Hydrogen gases are evolved while batteries are charging.
Since hydrogen gas is highly flammable, it frequently forms explosive mixtures with oxygen and air. Since hydrogen gas is flammable, a spark combined with oxygen from the atmosphere can cause a fire and battery explosion. Therefore, it is not advised to even smoke in spaces where batteries are charging.
Charging in a Room With Improper Ventilation
If the batteries are charged in an area with poor ventilation, the battery may explode. Both hydrogen and oxygen are gases that are evolved when batteries are charging. There is some partial recombination to create water. A battery explosion could occur if the hydrogen gas is evolved to the point where its concentration is greater than 4%.
Batteries must therefore be charged in an atmosphere where the gases can escape. Battery manufacturers typically advise battery charging areas or rooms to have adequate ventilation with at least six air changes per hour.
Smaller Or Lower Ah Capacity
If batteries with a lower Ah capacity or smaller size than recommended are used, the battery may blow up. Batteries of lower capacity are occasionally installed in equipment or vehicles due to a lack of the proper capacity batteries or cost considerations.
When this happens, the battery tends to be overcharged, which heats it up, causes bubbling and gassing, and may even explode as a result of pressure buildup inside the battery container.
Battery Terminals Are Shorted
If a battery terminal is externally shorted with a metal object or conductive material, the battery may explode.
If there is an electrical short between the battery plates, it is possible—though less likely—that ignition will occur inside the battery. This can occur when there are:
- An old, neglected, or continuously overcharged battery. An internal ignition source can be created when plates touch damaged batteries.
- Impact damage to the battery.
- Excessive vibration over time e.g. the battery of a tracked dozer used for ripping.
Vent Holes of Vent Plugs Are Clogged
If the vent holes or vent plugs become blocked due to the battery being stored or used in a dusty or dirty environment, the battery may explode. Because the gases cannot escape, pressure will build up, which may result in an explosion.
Other ways to deal with lead acid batteries:
- Can You Mix Lead-acid and Lithium Batteries?
- How to Fill Lead Acid Battery? Lead Acid Battery Watering Tips
- How Long to Charge the Lead Acid Battery?
How to Prevent Lead Acid Battery Explosion?
- Nevertheless, charge lead acid batteries to lower gas emissions while controlling the amount charged. The charging room is ventilated and open fire is strictly forbidden.
- The connection point needs to be secure during charging because a loose connection will not produce a spark.
- Less gas is produced due to the adoption of low voltage constant pressure charging. Check the Lead Acid Battery Voltage.
- halt the electrolyte from penetrating the battery’s shell and cracking.
- Keep the battery cover dry and spotless.
- For the battery plug’s vents to remain open, check them frequently.
- Control the battery’s liquid level to make sure it stays within the allowed range and that the electrolyte does not overflow.
- Vaseline must be applied to the connection to isolate it from the surrounding environment, and the connection wire for the battery terminal must have low contact resistance and high contact pressure. This is necessary to prevent sparks from entering the battery and lighting the combustible gas.
Conclusion: Lead Acid Batteries Can Explode
When being charged, lead-acid batteries have the potential to release explosive mixtures of oxygen and hydrogen gases. To prevent unintentional sparks, stay away from metallic tools near batteries. Use insulated tools, such as covering the spanner’s handles with electrical insulation tape.
Is It OK to Leave a Lead Acid Battery on Charge?
Continuous charging can: cause corrosion of the positive battery plates. cause increased water consumption, and even allow for excessive temperatures causing damage inside the battery.
How Long Can You Leave a Lead Acid Battery?
Sealed lead acid batteries can have a design life of anywhere from 3 – 5 years all the way up to 12+ years depending on the manufacturing process of the battery.