Scary video highlights danger of damaged Lithium Ion batteries

A battery explosion serves as a reminder to replace damaged Lithium Ion batteries

This still image from a video released by Japan's National Institute for Technology and Evaluation shows sparks erupting from a damaged Lithium Ion battery

This still image from a video released by Japan's National Institute for Technology and Evaluation shows sparks erupting from a damaged Lithium Ion battery

A Japanese safety institute has released a video that serves as a graphic reminder of the danger posed by damaged Lithium Ion batteries.

The batteries are extremely common in portable consumer electronics, providing power for smartphones, laptop computers, smartwatches and many other devices, and are typically safe. But if a battery is damaged, the results can quite literally be explosive.

As part of its work testing electronic components, the Japanese National Institute for Technology and Evaluation (NITE) tested batteries about the size of those used in cellphones. They were struck with a hammer then left on a work bench, unconnected from any apparatus.

Later -- the period of time is unclear from the edited footage -- one of the batteries ruptures with a bang, flying across the laboratory. A second clip shows a similar battery erupting in a shower of sparks.

The hammer blow to the battery caused deformations in the internal structure of the battery, which led to an internal short circuit. That created heat which sped up the reaction leading to more heat. It's a vicious circle called a "thermal runaway" that results in fire or explosion.

Thankfully, such explosions are rare. Some are due to manufacturing problems, like those that affected millions of Sony laptop batteries in 2008, while others are due to damaged batteries. The recent fire of a Tesla car, which packs hundreds of Lithium Ion cells, was blamed on damage caused by road debris.

The advice from all battery manufacturers is the same. If your battery sustains any kind of damage, replace it.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Batteries / fuel cellsNational Institute of Technology and EvaluationComponents

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?