Battery leakage is something that many of us are familiar with, even if it is becoming much less of an issue in recent times. The tell-tale sign of battery leakage is the white grainy substance that collects around the terminals, where the casing has ruptured under pressure. Lithium-ion batteries – both the large ones found inside electric cars and the small ones found inside cell phones – do not leak. In fact, it is lithium-ion technology which has done much to put an end to this problem in many cases.
Moreover, even in the traditional AA and AAA batteries, leakage is becoming less of a problem precisely because such batteries are now beginning to be manufactured with lithium-ion contents instead of those of the more traditional nickel-cadmium, alkaline, or zinc contents. Just look at the USB C rechargeable AA batteries produced by Pale Blue Earth. These might look like traditional AAs, but they are lithium-ion-powered.
Nevertheless, it should certainly be noted that knowing about battery leakage is still wise because many batteries today can still leak. Furthermore, there are many specific things that can typically cause this issue. It is simple enough to prevent or, at least, you can reduce the chances of your batteries beginning to leak.
What Causes Batteries to Leak
There are many different causes of battery leakage, but they all involve the production of gas inside the battery on account of the chemical reactions that go on inside. These reactions take place when power is being transferred through the batteries. Therefore, completely disconnected batteries will not leak.
Very often, hydrogen gas is produced inside batteries. Modern battery cases are highly effective at containing the pressure this creates. However, under certain conditions, that pressure can become strong enough to rupture the casing. Contrary to a lot of popular opinion, this does not cause the battery to explode, but rather to open and release the gas. Nevertheless, this will very definitely waste the battery, and could damage the device it is in.
Don’t Leave Your Batteries in the Device
There is one tip that sits above all others when it comes to preventing battery leakage. This is to not store batteries inside a device. A device, even when turned off, will still be “checking” for the power of the battery and a small current does flow. When this goes on for a long time, the chemicals are constantly agitated, and gas can build up.
So, when you are putting away a device for an extended period of time, it is always worth removing the batteries.
Tips for Preventing Leakage
Here follows some further tips to help you prevent battery leakage, curtesy of Pale Blue Earth:
Use the Right Batteries
When you purchase a new battery-operated device, you should always make sure that you read the instruction manual and then use the correct batteries. Many different batteries can power a single device, though some of them will leak easier when used with that device. Read the manual and use the right type.
Insert The Batteries Correctly
If you put batteries into your device the wrong way round, then it will not work, and you’ll probably quickly correct the issue. But if you don’t use the device right away, you could find the batteries have leaked by the time that you do.
Avoid Mixing Batteries
Mixing batteries causes the stronger ones to compensate for the weaker ones and then have excessive, gas-generating charge flowing through them. Leakage isn’t far behind when this happens.
Battery leakage is easy enough to prevent and doesn’t happen too often these days. But it is still a risk you would be wise to avoid.