Understanding How E Cigarette Mod Batteries Work
Recent report saw a UK mod user experience a problem when his device suffered from an electrical short; the mod became hot and the battery vented. The gases released caused a build up of pressure inside the e cig mod, as they were unable to escape, finally causing the metal tube to rupture.
The aim of this article is to introduce some of the science behind e cig battery venting and also look at the thoughts of a man called Ari Mouratides.
What Is A Battery?
Simply, a battery is nothing more than a method of storing energy. A battery is made up of individual cells that are connected up to produce a given voltage and capacity.
What Are The Key Things To Remember?
The tips on http://www.techlicious.com are highly pertinent here:
- Only purchase batteries and chargers directly from the manufacturer or from a manufacturer-recommended source. Buying counterfeit or poorly manufactured batteries increases the chance of having an issue.
- Do not let a loose battery come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewellery. Metal objects can cross the electrical connections and cause an incident if the internal protection circuitry isn’t functioning correctly.
- Do not crush, puncture or put a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.
- Do not place the mod or batteries in areas that may get very hot, such as on or near a cooking surface, cooking appliance, iron, radiator or the dashboard of your car in the summer.
- If you drop your mod on a hard surface, it can potentially cause damage the battery.
- If your mod gets wet, even if the device dries and operates normally, the battery contacts or circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard.
- If you see any bulging, leakage or other abnormality from your battery, stop using it immediately.
How Does It Work?
The chemicals inside the battery break apart and join together to form other chemicals. This creates positively charged particles called ‘ions’ and negatively charged particles called ‘electrons’.
The ions move through the battery while the electrons go around the circuit created in the mod and atomiser.
The electrons provide electrical energy to the coil where it is converted into the heat energy that vaporises e-Liquid.
What Makes Lithium-ion Batteries Suitable For Vaping?
Li-ion batteries are specially designed to store a lot of energy and allow it to be released quickly. Also, they are able to reverse the reaction in the cells that released ions and electrons.
Li-ion batteries do not suffer from a “memory effect” like older tech nickel-cadmium cells and are more reliable. Their safer chemistry means they can vent instead of exploding and they are very light in relation to the quantity of energy they store.
If They Do Not Explode Then Are People Being Injured?
When cells vent they release high amounts of heat (thermal runaway) and highly flammable Hydrogen and hydrocarbon gases.
Imagine the mod is a balloon – if you keep blowing gas into it there will come a point where it goes pop unless you have vent holes in place to allow the gases to escape.
Venting batteries expand; mods that don’t allow for this in their design are effectively pipe bombs. The man that was injured recently didn’t have a MOD that allowed for venting which ultimately led to the e cigarette exploding.
What Is Thermal Runaway?
Put simply, heat speeds up reactions.
Heat causes the internal structure of the battery to break down and in turn cause further reactions that release yet more energy.
It’s like a heat snowball rolling down a mountainside.
Why Shouldn’t I Over-Discharge The Battery?
Over-discharging causes excess metallic contents of the cell to become plated onto its internal structure. This creates an unwanted discharge path, an internal short-circuit, and is irreversible.
The battery is now ‘damaged’ inside and dangerous to use. It should be recycled at an appropriate centre as the contents of the battery are toxic if placed into landfill.
Who Is Ari Mouratides?
Ari is an engineer and has been testing batteries for vendors and manufacturers for over fifteen years.
Have you had a battery fail, Ari?
Define fail. Venting is not failure – failure to vent is. Venting is not a **** up on the battery’s part, it’s a **** up on the users part.”
What is a “Re-wrap” battery?
The companies branding the cells don’t make the majority of the batteries available to vapers, they have been bought from a manufacturer and had a wrapper and logo put on them.
What does this mean for the quality of the cell?
Most are binned factory seconds or thirds. A cell that meets the max spec or above is binned grade A and wears a premiere badge. One that fails to meet minimums gets sold to a lower grade marketplace.
Can you give me examples of the tiers?
Panasonic manufacture lithium ion batteries: some grade A cells are bought and re-wrapped by AW, some grade B cells are re-wrapped by Efest. Price of the cell is a good indicator of the bin it originated from.
So what exactly makes an AW battery then?
“The cell’s individual or batch lot characteristics are measured, and the good ones are retained to wear the AW badge.
The “bad” ones get sold to other companies. AW does nothing to make the battery “better”, they just pass on a better experience to the consumer by delivering the cells with the best possible charge/discharge characteristics.”
“That’s not saying you wont ever get a bad AW; just like any other manufacturing process, yield is determined by statistical thresholds of performance and tolerance because in every palette of batteries you have cells that perform above accepted tolerances, and cells that perform below or just at.
Robots can also make mistakes.”
Manufacturers produce ratings for their batteries for pulse and continuous current – what should I go by for safe vaping?
“I always make one key empirical point about safety – if you have to ask if it’s safe, it’s not.
If you can’t answer your own question about safety limits, then refer to common knowledge or do some accurate personal discovery.”