What is thermal runaway?

Thermal runaway is the problem we’re trying to solve. In order to solve this problem, we need to understand it.

Thermal runaway is a phenomenon that affects lithium-ion batteries, which power so many of the devices that people use every day.

Lithium-ion batteries are used for mobile phones, tablets and laptops, and electric bikes, scooters, cars, and hoverboards.

Lithium-ion batteries can store a lot of power in a small space. That energy density is one of the reasons why lithium-ion chemistry is so commonly used for powering portable devices. But it comes with a trade-off: the risk of thermal runaway.

Asset: What is Thermal Runaway?

What is thermal runaway?

It’s an uncontrollable, self-heating state. In thermal runaway, the battery generates heat very quickly. When the battery’s temperature rises at a rate greater than 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit) per minute and the battery’s temperature is above 100° Celsius (212° Fahrenheit), the cell has reached thermal runaway.

As a result of these dangerously high temperatures, thermal runaway can result in:

  • battery swelling
  • battery venting
  • smoke
  • fire

In a confined environment, the gases produced during thermal runaway can cause an explosion.

In this pathway, you’ll be able to explore the science of thermal runaway through the eyes of a safety scientist and engineer. Safety scientists and engineers work to solve the problems related to thermal runaway. In order to solve a problem, you must first understand it.

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How does a lithium-ion battery work?


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