Battery Safety

Hey Vixen Vapors Vaporers!!

Batteries can be very dangerous if not handled properly.  We wanted to take a minute to discuss battery safety.  The batteries that are used in electronic cigarettes are commonly lithium ion (li-ion) although lithium polymer (li-po) batteries may also be used.  While it is not good to expose any battery to heat, li-ion and li-po batteries are especially sensitive to heat.  The optimal storage temperature for these batteries is at room temperature or 60°-80° Fahrenheit or 20° Celsius.  Batteries should always be stored in a protectively sealed, non-conductive container.  We recommend that users mark batteries according to the proper positive and negative ends, to ensure that batteries are always installed into a device properly.

Batteries are made to store electrical power for later use, because of this, they are subject to grounding and short circuiting.  The way that a battery completes a circuit is very simple.  The bottom of the battery is where grounding occurs.  The top of the battery is where the charge is output and transferred to a conductive source.  For example, we will use a person putting an unprotected battery in a backpack or purse.  The battery could end up sitting on a set of keys or small amount of coin change or other metal objects.  In this situation, if a coin or other conductive object works its way up to the top of the battery, the circuit to release power is then completed.  At this point, the battery is continuously putting out a charge into the object(s) connected to the positive end of the battery.  If the battery is continuously transferring a charge and the sources are not removed, the battery has the potential of going into Thermal Runaway. Thermal Runaway is a type of uncontrolled positive feedback and occurs when a device or battery produces more heat than it is designed to operate with, increasing its temperature at an accelerated rate. This is a cycle that will continue as the charge is sent back through the battery until Thermal Explosion occurs.  At this point, the battery will vent boiling gases which are extremely harmful and cause severe burns.

To prevent a battery from going  in to Thermal Runaway, we have a few recommendations. First, always store your batteries properly. Battery boxes are our number one recommendation for properly storing the batteries. Battery boxes protects the battery through out preventing contact to the grounding side or the output side of a battery and eliminates the ability for the battery to be bent or crushed. A bent  or crushed battery could leak battery acid, or electrolytes which can also result in a chemical burn. Further, we recommend storing your batteries at the right temperatures between 60°-80° Fahrenheit or 20° Celsius. Never leave batteries in a hot car or near fires, or other hot surfaces. Also, we recommend not over tightening the batteries in their devices, this could cause the cells in the battery to collapse and leak battery acid. Lastly, we recommend removing your battery from your mod and storing them in a battery box when you are not using the device. This is especially true with Mechanical mods, and devices that do not have an "off" option.

In the event that a battery goes into Thermal Runaway, it is imperative that the proper safety instructions are followed.  If a lithium ion battery begins venting, get it away from your body and others as quickly as possible. Ideally, the battery should be placed in a plastic container of baking soda or soda ash to neutralize the battery discharge, seal it to prevent gases from being inhaled and take to a facility that can properly dispose of the battery.

In case of contact with byproducts from a lithium battery, the following safety measures can be followed:

Ingested- Call poison control (1-800-222-1222) immediately and have the chemical composition readily available. Follow their instruction and seek medical attention.

Eyes - Flush eyes with water for at least 15 minutes with eyelids held open. Get immediate medical attention.

Skin - Immediately flush affected area with cool water or get under a shower.  Remove any contaminated clothing. Continue to flush for at least 20 minutes. Get medical attention.

Inhalation – Immediately move to fresh air and monitor breathing and circulation. CPR can be administered as necessary. Get immediate medical attention.

Safety is paramount, especially when using batteries because they have the potential to become volatile if not handled properly.  We urge all of our Vixen Vapors family to be aware of the appropriate safety procedures that batteries should be handled with as well as what to do in a critical situation.  There is a great deal of information out there about battery safety and care.   Below is a link to a recent story from Austin, Texas about a battery venting and entering Thermal Runaway.  Take a minute to watch it and see the potential harm that batteries can produce.

Electronic Cigarette Explodes



Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Wikipedia - Thermal Runaway