Damaged Lithium Ion Battery

Battery damage can not be avoided. What we should do is to figure out why our batteries are out of work and then get methods to prolong battery life.

Today, we ear going to talk about all details of battery damage and death.

The following is the tablet of this article. Hope it is helpful to you.

What can damage lithium ion batteries?

We will first illustrate factors that influence our battery. Just like when human get ill, they will come to hospital to find out why they are sick. Generally, doctors will always give two categories reasons—internal reasons and external reasons. Same things with batteries, here are internal and external reasons:

External Factors:

  • Water/Humid environment:

Water molecules seep into the battery which will corrode internal metal components, when batteries be in a humid environment for a long time.

  • Physical Damage:

For example, if a battery falls from 20th floor, its body will smashed into pieces. If a battery is hit by a high speed car, it will get lethal force. For a slightly lighter hit, it will cause internal short circuit. We know that short circuit will generate heat will give a chance for battery to burn itself.

  • Temperature: 

 Too HOT or too COLD will both cause damage in a way.

Internal Factors:

  • Manufacturing defects
  • Low quality components

Above two factors belong to congenital defects which we can not avoid when we already get them. When we meet this kind of problems, we directly choose another battery brand.

  • Over discharging:

Over-discharging refers to the battery is still in discharging after reaching end-off voltage. Over discharging will increase internal gas pressure, destroy intersections of cathode and anode materials, dissolute electrolyte and increase internal resistance. All of these bad influence will decrease battery capacity and can not be reversed.

  • Over Charging:

Over charging refers to the battery is still in charging after reaching cut-off voltage. Over charging will release a mass of heat which will lead to short circuit. There is a risk of burning and explosion.

So what will happen if a lithium ion battery is already damaged?

We divided consequences into lower-risk consequences and higher-risk consequences.

  • Higher Risk: threaten users safety

Self burning


Electrolyte leakage: toxic and flammable materials come out

  • Lower Risk: degrade battery performance

Voltage decreases

Current decreases

Capacity reduces in the end

In brief, the most terrible consequence is explosion. Although battery protection system is already improved and explosion risk is very low, we can not ignore it. We need to observe our battery in case of damage.

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What signs can we get from a damaged lithium ion battery?

Battery will give different SOS signs in different stage. We also divide them into two parts:

  • Signs of higher-risk:

When following SOS signs appear, please stop using your battery as soon as possible


Noise: Failing lithium batteries have also been reported to make hissing or cracking sounds.

Overheating battery: It’s completely normal for batteries to generate some heat when charging or in use. But if your device’s lithium-ion battery feels extremely hot to the touch, there’s a good chance it’s defective and at risk to start a fire.

Swollen battery:When a lithium battery fails, another common sign is battery swelling. If your battery looks swollen, you should stop using it immediately. Similar signs include any type of lump or bulge, or leakage from the device.

Unusual Smell:This one is a little more obvious. But if your device is smoking, a fire has already started.

The battery is discolored

  • Signs of lower-risk:

The working voltage is low

The battery capacity is reduced

The self-discharge rate is high


We can feel or see higher-risk signs directly from battery itself. Nevertheless, we can not accurately detect voltage and capacity, so we need ask voltmeter or other instruments for help.

You do not know how to use voltmeter?

That’s OK.

This article will taught you step by step:

How to check damaged lithium ion batteries by voltmeter?

  • Step 1: Switch the voltmeter on.
  • Step 2: Set the meter to be measured in volts
  • Step 3: Locate the lithium ion battery’s positive and negative terminals. Typically these will be located at the end of your battery, which first slides into the system it is capable of. The terminals are small but clearly marked with a positive and negative sign.
  • Step 4: Place your volt meter’s corresponding positive and negative leads into your battery terminals. The charge sum (or volts) will be shown on the scale of your meter.
  • Step 5: Compare it with the voltage that is given in the manual of the battery and it is done.

What should I do if my lithium battery is failing?

Following Steps:

  • Step 1: Immediately turn off the device
  • Step 2: Unplug device from power resource
  • Step 3: Move your device to non-flammable, dry and normal-temperature place slowly
  • Step 4: Avoid touching the device with your bare skin by using protective gloves or tongs

We will finally meet one dead or damaged battery in our life.

so for us normal person

How to deal with failing lithium batteries?

If your battery is removable, place your device or battery in non-flammable material and away from people.

Check if there are any hazardous waste guidelines.

Contact a cycling professional for assistance with identification and disposal.

How to store Damaged batteries?

Do not 

Throw damaged batteries into trash: leak toxic chemicals to environment and even cause fire hazard.


Check if there are any internal hazardous waste guidelines.

Make sure to place the damaged battery in non-flammable material

Avoid having direct skin contact when dealing with a damaged battery

Can I repair my damaged lithium battery well?

Yes, for some situations, we can repair our batteries by ourselves.

Totally, a lithium battery is made up by those components:

1.ABS plastic

2.Prismatic Lithium battery cells

3.BMS (Battery Management System)

4.Connectors (wires, bus…)

We can separately replace above components because they can be bought in specialized battery stores.

Before you repair your lithium battery, be extremely cautions and follow following rules:

  • Rule 1:

If you detect one of the higher-risk signs previously mentioned, your lithium battery cannot be repaired and should be handled with maximum care. We advise you to bring it to a battery store. They will take your battery to a recycling center.

  • Rule 2:

If you only detect the lower-risk signs, you will be able to fix your lithium battery either at home or with the help of a battery specialist.

  • Then

Let battery specialist evaluate your BMS and cells

Let battery specialist measure the voltage and capacity of each cell.

Let battery specialist test BMS.

If these are under-performing, they will be replaced.

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Lithium Battery Design Design Ebook Download(2M, 20 pages, PDF)

How can I prevent a lithium battery fire?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are several precautions you can take to help you prevent lithium battery fires.

  • Follow instructions.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions to storage, use, charge and maintenance.

  • Avoid knock-offs.

Only replace batteries and chargers with components specifically designed and approved for your device.

  • Watch where you charge.

Avoid charging your device on flammable surfaces like under a pillow, on your bed or on the couch.

  • Unplug your device.

Remove devices and batteries from the charger once they are fully charged.

  • Store batteries properly.

Lithium-ion batteries should always be stored in a cool, dry place. Don’t place batteries in direct sunlight.

  • Inspect for damage.

Regularly inspect your device and batteries for the warning signs listed above.

How To Look After Your Lithium Battery?

  • Avoid Temperatures Below 32°F (0°C) And Above 95°F (35°C)

Lithium batteries store electricity as a chemical. Therefore, their performance is affected by ambient temperature.

Below 32°F(0°C): cause metal deposition at the negative electrode, leading to a short circuit.

Above95°F(35°C): other parasitic reactions are promoted leading to degrade further

  • Do Not Charge It To 100%

Experimental studies shows that only charging your battery to 90% provides 2 to 5 times longer life compared to fully charged batteries.

  • Do Not Discharge It To 0%

Deep discharge promotes metal degradation, leading to short circuits that can irreversibly damage your lithium battery

  • Use Partial-Discharge Cycles

Partial discharge cycles happen when less than 50% of the battery capacity is discharged before charging. This will considerably extend your battery life. You can perform thousands of partial cycles before your battery starts to degrade

  • Do Not always fast charging

Even though lithium batteries are fit for quick charge with solar panels, high currents generate stress in the battery chemistry. The same happens with high discharging currents.

Want More Details: Download our battery design ebook.

Lithium Battery Design Design Ebook Download(2M, 20 pages, PDF)