Is That "New Lithium Battery Smell" Dangerous? + Storage Safety?
What is the deal with the new lithium battery smell? I know what lithium smells like, sweet like grape Gatorade. That can not be good for you, I store my new batteries in sealed Tupperware and every time I open it there is a blast of lithium scent. This used to happen at a repair shop I worked at when we opened the parts cabinet, and those batteries were sent directly from Samsung because that shop was certified with Samsung. Starting to think I should drill some holes in my battery storage container, but still not sure I want batteries off-gassing around me either. I have had people say a new battery should never smell, but they all do regardless of who made them, or where you bought them. It just really concerns me because it smells the same as the inside of the battery just not as strong. I saw a technician throw a swollen battery in the parking lot one time and blow it up, the smell lingered around for hours outside and it was very strong…I was surprised how long the smell lingered outdoors!
On a side note, I have been accumulating bad batteries that I have replaced and I am now trying to come up with a system of storage. The poorly managed shop I used to work at with the technician who blew batteries up stored their replaced batteries stacked in a cardboard box packed solid with batteries . They were suppose to tape the contacts but that rarely happened so it was a time bomb all those exposed contacts just asking to come in contact with each other. The other shop I worked for that was Samsung certified had better practices, rather than taping the contacts we had nylon/plastic bladed scissors we used to cut the entire connector off the battery (non-metal blades prevented arcing when cutting the ends off). If the battery got damaged during removal or was swollen we had a thick red trash can filled with sand and they were stored there.
I provide mobile services, so I perform repairs on-site at the clients location therefor I am bringing replaced batteries home with me. I put the replaced batteries in a LiPo fire/explosion safety bag (the type RC hobbyist use) to transport them back home. I live in an apartment so for liability I then put the LiPo bag(s) in a steel ammunition box that has an air tight seal. I have seen videos of lithium batteries catching fire in an ammo box and the flames shoot out of the seams, I do not think those examples had the rubber seal on the lid like mine though. Its just a cheap $12 ammo box from Walmart but is has the sealed lid…the seal will likely melt in the event of a fire but it will reduce the oxygen which in theory should slow or stop the combustion right, or does that not apply to a lithium fire?? I combine the LiPo bags with the ammo box because I do not feel just one or the other is safe enough. If I just stacked batteries in the ammo box and they caught on fire it would heat the steel up and could potentially ignite a fire outside the box. If I used just the LiPo bag that could also start a fire, the test videos show most of them shoot flames out of the seams or Velcro…then there is a high melt rate with these bags they seem to melt on the outside. The big difference is LiPo bags are meant to expand in the event of an explosion (the worst thing you can do is compress or restrict combustion in a confined space, that is how bullets, fireworks, and gasoline engines work). For instance harmless sparklers will explode if they are ignited in a confined space such as a sealed container, etc. However in this case I do not think the ammo box will hold enough pressure unless it was completely packed to the top.
So in conclusion regarding safety, the cheapest DIY solution I have come up with is storing the batteries in a LiPo bag and the bags go in the ammo box. Between the lack of oxygen, and the fiberglass bags the fire should smother itself. In theory the box should not heat up as bad if the fire is contained within the LiPo bags. If anyone has input on the new battery smell as well I would like to hear it, thank you.
Is this a good question?