We all use portable devices, whether it be in cell phones, laptops, or power tools. It seems perfectly normal for our generation, but the older generation in human history cannot imagine what we are doing. With the speed with which many of these changes are taking place and the rapidly growing demand for electricity, we haven't had time to fully appreciate the technology we take for granted. We also don't understand the dangers associated with some of these new technologies.
The portable rechargeable cylindrical lithium-ion battery is one of the greatest achievements in portable energy in the last decade. Where once black and white phones one day hold the best – our new GPS with full-color smartphones, email, and streaming will last … well, someday! But the amount of energy used that day is extraordinary compared to 10 years ago.
However, these batteries carry the risk that we will all be left alone. The lithium substance used is very reactive. This is one reason it is so useful! However, there are risks involved, and these are:
On contact with water, lithium and H20 form lithium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. For this reason, the battery is tightly closed to prevent water from entering. However, as an owner, you should be aware of the invisible risks that arise if you wash your battery with soapy water for any reason!
Overheating (caused by actual temperature and overcharging) can cause what is called thermal runaway and, in severe circumstances, result in burns. For this reason, all lithium batteries are equipped with a safety system, which largely prevents the cell from exceeding safety limits when charging and using, if possible. What they can't do is control the ambient temperature.