Storing Old Bulging Li-ion Batteries

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,586
Hey there,

Recently i found my cell phone battery was going bad. I did a few input current tests and found some anomalies. Opening the case, i found the battery had bulged slightly. Needless to say, i took it out and replaced it with a new one.

Now the question comes up about what to do with the old battery. it is obviously defective now. The problem is, the e-waste management facilities in this area wont be able to take the battery until something like the middle of April. So i need to store the bad battery for at least three or four months.

Any ideas on how to keep it in a safe manner for that time period?
So far i have taped up the contacts so they cant be shorted by accident.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
885
The bulging is caused because the electrolyte has been vaporized. The battery is quite safe if it is kept cool and there are no connections to the terminals. Put it in a freezer bag and put the bag in a plastic container.Store it in your refrigerator. Put a label on it so no one uses it in a sandwich.
Regards,
Keith
 

oz93666

Joined Sep 7, 2010
737
^^^ I'm not sure putting it in your refrigerator is a good idea ( with your food) ...

There are no really toxic chemicals in these batteries ... Everyone on the planet has these batteries in their pockets ! ... just leave it outside in the open air .
 

AlbertHall

Joined Jun 4, 2014
9,826
^^^ I'm not sure putting it in your refrigerator is a good idea ( with your food) ...

There are no really toxic chemicals in these batteries ... Everyone on the planet has these batteries in their pockets ! ... just leave it outside in the open air .
Mine are in a metal bicuit tin just in case.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
885
^^^ I'm not sure putting it in your refrigerator is a good idea ( with your food) ...
That is why I recommended storing them in freezer bags in a plastic container!

There are no really toxic chemicals in these batteries ... Everyone on the planet has these batteries in their pockets ! ... just leave it outside in the open air .
Lithium toxicity is a potential side effect of lithium-based medications used in the management of bipolar disorder. In addition, people can develop poisoning after exposure to consumer products like batteries that may contain lithium.
 

Thread Starter

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
7,586
Hi again,

Thanks for the ideas.

This is the first time i ever saw an Li-ion battery do this. I am guessing it has something to do with leaving in on charge for too long periods. I have read now that it is best to keep the battery in the phone at a level of 80 percent for best longevity. I would have a problem doing that though because i'd have to constantly check it for more discharge.
The battery is four years old, which i think is a bit old for these kinds, but i did not use it that much for the first three years. It's only this last year that i started keeping it on charge for long periods.

I am just lucky i got a new USB testor the other day and decided to check the phone current draw and that is what revealed that there really was something unusual going on. I thought it was discharging too fast sometimes and maybe getting warm too (not hot though). Lucky i had a new battery on hand too.
Interestingly, when i took the back off the battery came right out on it's own i did not have to exert any force on it. That is because it was too big to fit properly in the space allocated for a good battery.

You know what sucks though? It looks like cell phone manu's are trending to sealed cases where the battery is not removable under normal circumstances. You need a heat gun and new glue to be able to remove the back on some phones now. It looks like a mini nightmare. I know technology changes fast and we might want a new phone anyway, but it should be the owners choice not a mandatory thing. To get a battery changed by a shop is around $100 USD. That's almost the price of a decent new phone.
 

Audioguru again

Joined Oct 21, 2019
1,469
Cheap Chinese Li-PO batteries for RC model airplanes would bulge within one year of using them. Good quality Li-PO batteries last much longer and rarely bulge. Users say that the low cost of the cheap batteries is worth replacing them often.

Battery University website does not mention bulging of a lithium battery but many sites listed in Google say, "Warning and Beware, do not use and do not charge a bulged Lithium battery".
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,433
I am running with KeithWalker on this. I also commend you as most people would just throw them in the garbage. At my job we had a disposal point for all batteries and weekly the disposal company would come around and collect them. Needless to say many a battery from home found its way in that disposal system. :)

Ron
 

oz93666

Joined Sep 7, 2010
737
Lithium toxicity is a potential side effect of lithium-based medications used in the management of bipolar disorder. In addition, people can develop poisoning after exposure to consumer products like batteries that may contain lithium.
There is no danger of the lithium compound escaping , this is solid .... It's the volatile component used in the cell ... this has a very distinctive pungent smell , I have dismantled many lithium cells, and this gas/vapor is released the moment the can or plastic is punctured ... it will find it's way out of most containers ... It's probably not too toxic , but in a fridge the slight amount released could be absorbed by the food ...
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
885
The reason why I recommend that it is stored in the fridge is to reduce the pressure of the gas in the bulging package. That way it will not burst the protective packaging and escape. The gas is oxygen produced by over charging. The volatile electrolyte will remain in liquid form at fridge temperatures.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
9,378
There is no danger of the lithium compound escaping , this is solid .... It's the volatile component used in the cell ... this has a very distinctive pungent smell , I have dismantled many lithium cells, and this gas/vapor is released the moment the can or plastic is punctured ... it will find it's way out of most containers ... It's probably not too toxic , but in a fridge the slight amount released could be absorbed by the food ...
On what facts do you base that opinion?

[quote: https://batteryuniversity.com/index.php/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion]
The gas released by a venting Li-ion cell is mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). Other gases that form through heating are vaporized electrolyte consisting of hydrogen fluoride (HF) from 20–200mg/Wh, and phosphoryl fluoride (POF3) from 15–22mg/Wh. Burning gases also include combustion products and organic solvents. [/quote]
 

oz93666

Joined Sep 7, 2010
737
On what facts do you base that opinion?

[quote: https://batteryuniversity.com/index.php/learn/article/safety_concerns_with_li_ion]
The gas released by a venting Li-ion cell is mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). Other gases that form through heating are vaporized electrolyte consisting of hydrogen fluoride (HF) from 20–200mg/Wh, and phosphoryl fluoride (POF3) from 15–22mg/Wh. Burning gases also include combustion products and organic solvents.
[/QUOTE]

You're quote above concerns LI-ion ... this thread is dealing with Li-Po , there is a difference ...

The way I remember is the Li-polymer comes in a polythene wrapper
Li -ion comes in an Iron cylinder

I base my opinions on a lot of practical experience , good grounding in physics and chemistry ... solid chemical compounds cannot escape a plastic wrapper unless disturbed by some means .... organic solvents can , it is these which can escape if a swollen poly wrapper breaks , the smell is unmistakable , even so , I doubt they are too toxic.


Li-po battery






Li-ion cell
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
6,025
For starters, it must be horrible to be chained by fears of everything. To safely store that battery, yes, put it in a good freezer bag and then put that away from your food storage area. If there is a place outside to set it, that would be the best choice, because battery material is not food, and should not accidentally be eaten. Accidents do happen. And keep it away from little children and pets.
 
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