Electronic – How dangerous are disconnected bulging batteries

batterieslithium ionsafety

It is well understood that if you have a device that uses a Lithium-Ion battery, and if the battery starts to bulge, then something is wrong with the battery and you should properly dispose of it by taking it to a battery disposal/recycling center. Improper handling could result in a fire being started by the faulty battery, so it's best to dispose of the device and have it replaced.

However, I am curious when the battery begins to deteriorate and starts to bulge, is it still dangerous when it's removed from the device and set aside? To be clear, none of the metal leads are coming in contact with any metallic, or conductive material, so the circuit is not complete on the battery. It's just sitting on a non-conductive, safe surface.


I bought a piece of hardware yesterday at its only problem is that the battery is bulging. I've taken out the battery and I want to keep it until I can find an OEM replacement, which could take a few weeks to arrive from the distributor.

I want to keep the old battery so that I can compare it against the replacement which, I'm afraid, might be a KIRFy piece of hardware. I'd want to return it and get a refund if that were the case. Keeping the old battery around for a while does have it's purpose.

Best Answer

I don't know, and I suspect there are not any solid numbers that will answer your exact question. If it's bulging there is clearly pressure inside, but the risk is not obvious. However, there is a way to make the battery less dangerous.

The worst that it can do is burst into flames. You can find videos illustrating pretty much the worst that is possible.

So keep the battery in a place where, if that ever occurred, serious consequences would not result. For example, inside a metal box of some kind with no flammable materials nearby. Don't store it in a cardboard box on a shelf full of papers, for example, rather treat it more like a thin vessel filled with gasoline or a container of gunpowder.

By the way, lithium cells are not allowed to be shipped by air in a good many instances, so this kind of thing tends to take longer than you might otherwise expect.