What happens if you puncture a lithium-ion battery?
When the lithium-ion battery has a reaction with oxygen, it can burst or explode as the result. It also may result in a fire. Any punctured battery should be disposed of properly and safely.
The electrodes inside the battery are made up of thin sheets of metal that are just a few mm away. When a battery is punctured these electrodes get shorted. One electrode is coated with lithium and the other with compounds of oxygen. There is a layer of electrolyte between the two electrodes. It contains positively charged lithium ions that move freely in it. Lithium and oxygen and very reactive elements, lithium ions react with oxygen on the electrode. This reaction draws more lithium-ion through the electrolyte and creates a continuous flow of ions. In this way, the lithium electrode becomes negatively charged while oxygen electrodes become positively charged. Due to this reaction, a potential difference between the electrodes is created. This potential difference repels lithium ions from oxygen electrodes and resists their migration.
In this way, the migration of lithium ions gets slower with time. This is the situation when nothing is connected to the battery. But when the battery is punctured and the electrodes are shorted, the potential difference drops to zero. The migration of lithium-ion gets easier. So an uncontrolled reaction between oxygen and lithium takes place as there is no force to control the migration of the ions. The reactions become rapid and violent. And mistakenly if you put the battery in the water, the metal sheets will get a large surface area that means the reaction will be more dangerous.
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