Will shorting a lithium ion battery cause an explosion?
I've seen batteries get shorted a few times. They heat up, and obviously the battery is not useful after, but I've never seen them explode or catch fire. I've read reports of some batteries catching fire during use (laptops, phones, cars...).
If I take a paper clip and connect it to the contacts of a typical lithium ion battery in 2023, what is the likely outcome? Will it explode or catch fire? How many seconds would I have to escape?
- I am aware that this sort of experiment can be dangerous. I don't plan to actually do it. I am asking out of curiosity, as a thought experiment only.
- Likewise, the paper clip should be read as rhetorical device. In practice I would be more interested with shorts due to failures in the equipment or things like liquid spills, but I don't want to get distracted with the complexities of those here (maybe in another question).
- If it's easier to have an example, here's 1.5 Ah Ryobi battery which is probably not the worst nor best quality on the market. Note that this is an example only. I am asking generally, not about this particular battery.
- Supposedly this battery is not dangerous to short by design. Deliberately shorting is apparently a way to reset it.
- Please avoid generalizing "batteries made in China". There's certainly plenty to criticize about modern outsourcing practices, but China is a big country. iPhones are considered great quality and made in China as well. I think it's not useful here to treat a country with 1 billion+ people and the majority of the planet's industrial capacity as a single homogeneous producer.
- I know that it depends on the type of battery. I am looking for answers that explain how and on what it depends, if there's anything salient. In particular, things that a consumer can easily check when purchasing these batteries. If the truth is that it depends on chaotic, unknowable, utterly unpredictable factors that is a valid (if not very satisfying) answer.