By: Harrison McCroskey

Whether in your laptop, camera or cellphone, lithium batteries are a constant in today’s technology; however, recent events have people questioning whether they are safe or not.

 Lithium batteries consist of two electrodes, electrical conductors used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit,  separated by an electrolyte, a liquid or gel that contains ions. Lithium ion batteries, which usually contain flammable lithium ion fluid, are sensitive to punctures. The result of which can cause extreme heat and possibly catch fire or combust.

 An incident of this kind of combustion gave burns to a six-year-old in Brooklyn, New York. The boy’s grandmother, Linda Lewis, gave him her Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The phone ignited and set off the smoke alarms in the home. The boy was quickly taken to Downstate Medical Center to be treated. “He is home now,” Linda Lewis told the press. “He doesn’t want to see or go near any phones. He’s been crying to his mother.”

 After as many as 35 reports the phone was exploding while charging, Samsung issued a recall of all 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s; though, only 24 out of every one million Galaxy Note 7’s were affected.

 Lithium batteries are designed to provide a high output of electricity with a lighter weight than others. Heat, as well as punctures, can cause it to malfunction and damage things around it. Taking certain basic precautions while using lithium batteries can prevent combustion of the device.

lithium-element
A picture of the element Lithium.

 Do not store lithium batteries at high temperatures, or in cars that can get heated over time. Laptops should not be completely covered by a blanket or any kind of cloth. Keeping lithium batteries apart from one another will also help. If one malfunctions, then others far away will not. Do not overcharge phones that use lithium batteries. Car chargers often overcharge phones: avoid charging lithium batteries with them.

 Lithium batteries will not likely combust if treated properly; however, common sense and caution need to be kept in mind while handling them. Matthew Fink, a junior, said,” I would say be careful. The more powerful [the battery] is, the more likely it will explode.”

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