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I heard the reason for lithium ion battery explosion is lithium burns when exposed in air but Few days ago I pierced one of my batteries (10-20 holes) and it didn't explode , why ? It was broken phone battery (still works but %35 maximum capacity and 3.7v max voltage) .

Also I heard in somewhere , lithium ion batteries only explode when it's charged , is it true ?

The reason I asked because I have a lot of old & broken lithium ion batteries in my workshop and I'm collecting them in glass air tight jar so when I got enough time or batteries , I send them to recycling center for disposal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for information , I will read it later but if I'm not asking too much , can you explain why it didn't explode when I pierced the battery ? My English isn't very good and I have extra trouble with technical articles otherwise I have to spend 1-2 hours to translate \$\endgroup\$ – Mordecai Sep 3 '19 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's difficult to say. If I had to guess, perhaps the battery was very deeply discharged? The explosions happen because the energy which is contained in the battery gets released all of a sudden! If there wasn't very much energy stored, then the failure wouldn't be as "impressive". \$\endgroup\$ – bitsmack Sep 3 '19 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks , so my assumption is correct battery only explode when it's charged. Also if I remember correctly lithium ion batteries starting to dissolve the copper parts (when battery very deeply discharged) So maybe lithium lost all activeness ? \$\endgroup\$ – Mordecai Sep 3 '19 at 22:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Lithium reacts with nitrogen in the air to make lithium nitride. Lithium nitride burns in air if heated. It's possible you didn't create enough of a short to heat it, but the problem is if the battery does heat up, the entire thing becomes a flaming issue. Do not, at all, continue to use this battery! Lithium is very reactive, fires are intense. \$\endgroup\$ – Ron Beyer Sep 4 '19 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RonBeyer Lithium is very reactive, fires are intense That's indeed true however the amount of Lithium in a Li-Ion cell is quite small so a burning / exploding Li-Ion cell cannot be compared to a real Lithium fire (fortunately). \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Sep 4 '19 at 7:15