Lithium-Ion Battery Handling and Safety 330
This class introduces lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, the hazards they present, and the safety precautions recommended for working with them. Although they are one of the most common types of batteries for high-energy applications like portable electronics and electric vehicles, Li-ion batteries have the potential to cause electric shock and may catch fire or leak dangerous chemicals if they are damaged. For this reason, battery packs are equipped with various safety devices that prevent electrical malfunction and overheating.
After taking this class, users will be familiar with common types of Li-ion batteries, the safety features built into Li-ion battery packs, and the signs of damaged or defective batteries. They will also understand the potential electrical, thermal, and chemical hazards of Li-ion batteries, along with the corresponding safety and emergency response measures.
Number of Lessons 10
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
- Types of Li-Ion Batteries
- Li-Ion Battery Packs
- Battery Pack Safety Devices
- Review: Li-Ion Batteries and Battery Packs
- Li-Ion Battery Safety
- Electrical Safety
- Battery Fire Safety
- Chemical Safety
- Final Review
- Describe lithium-ion batteries.
- Describe common types of lithium-ion batteries.
- Describe the basic components of a lithium-ion battery pack.
- Describe common safety features of lithium-ion battery packs.
- Describe general lithium-ion battery safety precautions.
- Describe electrical safety considerations for lithium-ion battery packs.
- Describe fire safety considerations for lithium-ion battery packs.
- Describe chemical safety considerations for lithium-ion battery packs.
A measurement of the amount of current flowing in a circuit. Amperage is measured in amperes (A).
The negative electrode in a battery. The anode in a lithium-ion battery is usually made of carbon.
battery management system
BMS. A computer that monitors, regulates, and coordinates the operations of a battery pack. The battery management system helps to prevent overheating and thermal runaway.
A group of battery cells connected together to produce large amounts of electrical energy. Battery packs may also include components such as sensors and battery management systems.
Battery management system. A computer that monitors, regulates, and coordinates the operations of a battery pack. The BMS helps to prevent overheating and thermal runaway.
A common nonmetallic element that exists in several forms. Carbon can be conductive in some forms, such as graphite.
A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas made of carbon and oxygen. Carbon monoxide may be released by burning Li-ion batteries.
The positive electrode in a battery. The cathode in a lithium-ion battery is made from a lithium compound.
A single unit of a battery. A cell contains a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte solution.
A sequence of events that occurs when the results of one reaction trigger more reactions of the same type. Chain reactions like thermal runaway in Li-ion batteries can create serious safety hazards.
Able to act as a path for the movement of electricity. Conductive materials include many different types of metals.
A liquid used to decrease the temperature of a battery pack or other system. Liquid coolant lowers temperature more efficiently than air-based cooling mechanisms.
A device that removes heat from an electrical system in order to regulate temperature. Cooling mechanisms in battery packs work by circulating either air or liquid coolant.
Capable of irreparably harming living tissues or damaging material upon contact. Corrosive chemicals include acids and certain organic materials.
Protective clothing that covers the entire body from the wrists to the ankles. Coveralls provide good general protection for the skin against hazards like skin irritants.
The total number of times a secondary cell battery can be discharged and recharged before it must be replaced. Cycle life depends on the battery's design, materials, and operating conditions.
A set of computer instructions that helps users or technicians investigate or analyze the cause or nature of errors or failures. Diagnostics performed by a BMS can help identify the cause of problems such as overheating.
Insulating rubber footwear that protects the feet and lower legs from electric shock. Dielectric boots may be worn by themselves or over other footwear.
The flow of electricity through the body. Severe electric shock can be fatal.
EVs. A vehicle that is propelled by an electric motor that draws its power from a battery. Electric vehicles require high-energy, lightweight, rechargeable batteries.
A conductive solution containing an acid, an alkaline, or a salt. The electrolyte in a battery connects the two electrodes.
The amount of energy that a battery can supply per unit of volume. High energy density allows small batteries to supply large amounts of energy.
Electric vehicles. A vehicle that is propelled by an electric motor that draws its power from a battery. EVs require high-energy, lightweight, rechargeable batteries.
A rigid, transparent plastic sheet worn over the face to protect against dust, sparks, or splashes. Face shields do not protect against impacts, so they are often worn with safety goggles.
Short-term medical treatment that is administered immediately after an injury or health event. First aid, such as bandaging small cuts or treating minor burns, requires little technology or training to administer.
A specially trained professional who is typically one of the first people to arrive and provide assistance in an emergency. First responders include firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers.
Capable of easily igniting and starting a fire. Flammable liquids are often used as electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries.
A soft, black form of carbon. Graphite is highly conductive.
A lightweight, protective head covering used to protect the head from impacts. Hard hats may also be insulated to protect against electric shock.
A type of personal protective equipment specifically designed to prevent hearing damage. Earplugs are the most common form of hearing protection.
high-voltage interlock loop
HVIL. A low-voltage circuit that runs in parallel through a system of high-voltage connections and becomes disconnected if any of those connections are loosened or damaged. High-voltage interlock loops trigger an alert when disconnected and are used in devices such as EVs.
A colorless liquid made of hydrogen and fluorine that is highly toxic and highly corrosive. Exposure to hydrofluoric acid should be treated as a serious medical emergency.
International Electrotechnical Commission. An international organization that prepares and publishes standards for electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The IEC develops standards that are applied in the European Union and many other countries.
Covered in a material that prevents the passage of electricity. Insulated gloves, boots, and hard hats are common PPE for electrical work.
International Electrotechnical Commission
IEC. An international organization that prepares and publishes standards for electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The International Electrotechnical Commission develops standards that are applied in the European Union and many other countries.
A charged atom or molecule. An ion can be either positive or negative depending on whether it has a shortage or surplus of electrons.
A meeting during which supervisors and employees prepare for an upcoming task by reviewing job duties, risks, safety measures, and other important information. Job briefings are a required part of preparing for energized electrical work.
A small, portable personal computer with an attached keyboard. Laptops typically use lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.
Lithium cobalt oxide batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with a cathode made of lithium cobalt oxide. LCO batteries have high specific energy but low specific power.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with a cathode made of lithium iron phosphate. LFP batteries have high thermal stability but low specific energy.
Lithium-ion batteries. A type of secondary cell battery that uses a lithium compound as a cathode and usually graphite as an anode. Li-ion batteries are widely used in portable electronics and electric vehicles.
A lightweight, silver-white metal that is highly reactive. Lithium is often used in batteries because it is extremely energy-dense.
lithium cobalt oxide batteries
LCO batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with a cathode made of lithium cobalt oxide. Lithium cobalt oxide batteries have high specific energy but low specific power and are commonly used in portable electronics.
lithium iron phosphate batteries
LFP batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with a cathode made of lithium iron phosphate. Lithium iron phosphate batteries have high thermal stability but low specific energy.
lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide batteries
NCA batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with a cathode made of lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide. Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide batteries have high specific energy and higher specific power than LCO batteries.
lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries
NMC batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with a cathode made of lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide. Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries have high specific energy and higher specific power than LCO batteries.
lithium titanate batteries
LTO batteries. A type of lithium-ion battery with lithium titanate as an anode. Lithium titanate batteries have high thermal stability but low specific energy.
Li-ion batteries. A type of secondary cell battery that uses a lithium compound as a cathode and usually graphite as an anode. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in portable electronics and electric vehicles.
manual service disconnect
A plug or switch that electrically isolates the battery pack from the rest of a an EV's electrical systems when activated. The manual service disconnect, also called the service disconnect, should be activated before beginning maintenance or repair work.
A unit that contains several battery cells connected in either series or parallel. Modules are usually surrounded by a hard plastic case.
National Fire Protection Association
NFPA. An organization devoted to eliminating deaths, injuries, and damage caused by fires. The National Fire Protection Association also publishes standards for electrical safety.
National Fire Protection Association. An organization devoted to eliminating deaths, injuries, and damage caused by fires. The NFPA also publishes standards for electrical safety.
The standard for electrical safety in the workplace. NFPA 70E is used by OSHA to provide work safety guidelines for those working with electricity.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA. A government agency under the U.S. Dept. of Labor that sets the standards for working conditions in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ensures that employees work in safe and healthy environments.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A government agency under the U.S. Dept. of Labor that sets the standards for working conditions in the United States. OSHA ensures that employees work in safe and healthy environments.
personal protective equipment
PPE. Any article of clothing or device worn to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injury. Common personal protective equipment includes safety glasses, hard hats, and gloves.
portable fire extinguishers
A tank of extinguishing agent that sprays out of a hose, horn, or nozzle when a lever is squeezed. Portable fire extinguishers should be visually inspected once a month and given a full inspection once a year.
Personal protective equipment. Any article of clothing or device worn to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injury. Common PPE includes safety glasses, hard hats, and gloves.
Concerning the organs involved in breathing air. Respiratory organs include the nose, esophagus, and lungs.
A documented process that an organization uses to evaluate and plan for possible risks. Risk assessments for electrical work include evaluations of the risks of electric shock and arc flash.
A machine that can be programmed to automatically perform complicated and repetitive tasks. Robots often perform work more precisely and consistently than humans.
safety data sheet
SDS. A document of mandatory information that must accompany almost every chemical in the workplace. Safety data sheets include details such as the hazards, precautions, and first aid procedures associated with a chemical.
Tight-fitting eye protection that completely covers the eyes and the area surrounding the eyes. Safety goggles protect against sparks and flying debris.
secondary cell batteries
A battery that can be recharged. Secondary cell batteries are charged by running electrical current back through them to restore their chemical energy.
A device that detects a change in physical or environmental conditions and sends or stores data about that change. Sensors inside battery packs track conditions such as temperature and voltage.
A plug or switch that electrically isolates the battery pack from the rest of an EV's electrical systems when activated. The service disconnect, also called the manual service disconnect, should be activated before beginning maintenance or repair work.
The length of time a battery is expected to operate before it must be replaced. The service life of a rechargeable battery is determined by its materials and operating conditions.
A mobile device able to connect to and send data across the internet. Smartphones are used for phone calls, texting, internet browsing, and many other functions.
State of charge. The charge level of a battery. SoC is usually given as a percentage, with 100% indicating a fully charged battery and 0% indicating a completely discharged battery.
The amount of energy that a battery can supply per unit of weight. High specific energy allows lightweight batteries to supply large amounts of energy.
The amount of power that a battery can supply per unit of weight. High specific power allows lightweight batteries to produce large amounts of power.
state of charge
SoC. The charge level of a battery. State of charge is usually given as a percentage, with 100% indicating a fully charged battery and 0% indicating a completely discharged battery.
An injury caused by contact with fire, heated objects, or hot liquids or gases. Thermal burns can range from minor to potentially fatal burns.
The process of a defective or damaged battery cell overheating and damaging nearby cells, causing them to also overheat. Thermal runaway can cause fires or explosions.
The ability of a material to resist changes in physical shape or size as its temperature changes. Batteries with low thermal stability can malfunction or catch fire as their materials warp at high temperatures.
Poisonous or harmful. Toxic substances can cause a range of illnesses and must be handled carefully.
Underwriters Laboratories. A private company that is certified to perform product safety testing and certification for OSHA and other government agencies. UL publishes safety testing standards for Li-ion batteries.
UL. A private company that is certified to perform product safety testing and certification for OSHA and other government agencies. Underwriters Laboratories publishes safety testing standards for Li-ion batteries.
A means of providing fresh air. Ventilation helps prevent employees from inhaling chemicals.
The electrical force or pressure that causes current to flow in a circuit. Voltage is measured in volts (V).
V. A unit of measurement that indicates the amount of electrical force or pressure in a circuit. Volts measure voltage, which is also known as electromotive force.