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Gas explosions and thermal runaways during external heating abuse of commercial lithium-ion graphite-LiCoO2 cells at different levels of ageing

Journal article
Authors F. Larsson
S. Bertilsson
M. Furlani
Ingvar Albinsson
B. E. Mellander
Published in Journal of Power Sources
Volume 373
Pages 220-231
ISSN 0378-7753
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 220-231
Language en
Keywords Gas explosion, Lithium-ion, Safety, Gas emission, Ageing, Thermal runaway, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, transform infrared-spectroscopy, battery cells, electrolytes, stability, toxicity, behavior, calorimeter, propagation, mechanisms, Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Energy & Fuels, Materials Science
Subject categories Physical Sciences


Commercial 6.8 Ah lithium-ion cells with different ageing/status have been abused by external heating in an oven. Prior to the abuse test, selected cells were aged either by C/2 cycling up to 300 cycles or stored at 60 degrees C. Gas emissions were measured by FTIR and three separate vents were identified, two well before the thermal runaway while the third occurred simultaneously with the thermal runaway releasing heavy smoke and gas. Emissions of toxic carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen fluoride (HF) and phosphorous oxyfluoride (POF3) were detected in the third vent, regardless if there was a fire or not. All abused cells went into thermal runaway and emitted smoke and gas, the working cells also released flames as well as sparks. The dead cells were however less reactive but still underwent thermal runaway. For about half of the working cells, for all levels of cycle ageing, ignition of the accumulated battery released gases occurred about 15 s after the thermal runaway resulting in a gas explosion. The thermal runaway temperature, about 190 degrees C, varied somewhat for the different cell ageing/status where a weak local minimum was found for cells cycled between 100 and 200 times.

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