What to Do If Your Lithium Battery Leaks: What To Do And What Not To Do

Do Lithium Batteries Leak?

Yes, lithium battery will leak. Generally, lithium battery will not leak electrolyte or any other chemical materials in normal conditions. For abnormal conditions, it leaks. There are many reasons why a lithium-ion battery might start to leak. For example, both poor manufacturing quality and improper using methods will increase the possibility of lithium battery leaking. For lithium battery itself, short circuit is the biggest enemy. The following is detailed introduction of lithium battery leakage analysis.

If your battery leaks, it’s a bad thing. It doesn’t matter if the leak is small or contained to one area. If you notice that your battery is leaking, then you need to take action as soon as possible. The danger of lithium-ion batteries comes from their composition. When they overheat, leak, or rupture, the result can be very dangerous and even life-threatening situations. Read on to learn what to do if your battery begins leaking lithium and what not to do if this happens…

How come lithium ions batteries start to leak? What causes lithium battery to leak?

There are many reasons why a lithium-ion battery might start to leak. As we all know that there are cylindrical lithium battery like ICP18650 battery and pouch lithium battery like ICP103450, and mainly reasons lead to their leakage are different. We are going to separately illustrate reasons for lithium battery leakage.

For Cylindrical Lithium Battery

The main reasons are: excessive internal pressure and unqualified external packaging

In the process of battery manufacturing, if the following problems occur, it is easy to cause battery leakage:

When welding the battery shell and cap, the welding is not firm or sealed. Some welding points are not welded. Some welding places have cracks.

When the steel ball is sealed, the size of the steel ball is not appropriate. The material of the steel ball is not the same as the material of the cap.

The positive electrode of the cap is not tightly riveted. There is a gap, and the elasticity of the insulating gasket is not suitable. It is not corrosion-resistant and easy to age.

Problems that may arise during use

The battery is not original, the voltage is too high or the current is too large

The battery often bumps during normal use, and the internal strength of the battery is not enough.

Charging in an abnormal manner leads to overcharging, or high current magnification discharge (damage to the battery’s high current protection system)

cylindrical lithium batteries

pouch lithium batteries

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For Pouch Lithium Battery

The main process that plays the role of battery sealing is the packaging process. The quality of the packaging directly determines the performance of the battery.

Simply, if we want to clear about the main reasons of leakage of pouch lithium batteries, it needs to be analyzed specifically from the type of leakage. Generally speaking, the leakage causes of aluminum-plastic film can be divided into three categories:


Chemical corrosion

For lithium-ion batteries, HF is produced due to the reaction of moisture with the electrolyte. HF is a particularly corrosive acid, which can cause serious damage to aluminum-plastic films, fluid collectors, and cathode materials.

The following are the related chemical reactions:

LiPF6 → LiF + PF5

PF5+H2O → POF3 + 2HF


Electrochemical corrosion

Pouch lithium battery leakage caused by electrochemical reactions are more difficult to detect. Generally, as the use time becomes longer, the pouch lithium battery leakage will gradually become serious. Due to the long latent time of this failure mode, once it occurs, it can easily cause a crisis of customer trust.

There are generally two conditions under which electrochemical corrosion occurs:

①ion short circuit.

An ion short-circuit channel is formed between the aluminum layer of the aluminum-plastic film and the anode.

②electronic short circuit.

The aluminum layer of the aluminum-plastic film forms an electronic short-circuit channel with the anode.

③Unconsciously contact the negative electrode ear with the aluminum layer externally

After the aluminum layer is corroded, the moisture can be immersed into the inside of the battery unscrupulously, resulting in more intense damage and causing the appearance of the soft-packed battery to leak.

Physical reasons

1. overcharge, over discharge, high temperature use
2. Pierce and hit
3. Battery swelling
4. The aging of the sealant causes cracks in the seal

For polymer pouch batteries, you need to confirm the following points:

1.Whether there are burrs in the pole ear, causing damage to the aluminum-plastic film;
2.Whether the width and thickness of the pole ear are appropriate, the pole ear should be heated when charging and discharging;
3.The thermal encapsulation process, that is, whether it is indeed sealed;

What to Do Immediately If Your Battery Begins Leaking

Lithium battery leakage treatment method

▲Check the shell of the battery. In many cases, the shell is damaged due to unreasonable battery installation, welding slag in the frame battery box, and bumps caused by the low chassis of the frame.

▲Remove the cover plate to check for traces of acid leakage around the safety valve, and then open the safety valve to check if there is flowing electrolyte inside the battery.

▲ If there is no abnormality in the first two steps, an air tightness test is required, that is, pressurizing and inflating in the water to see if there are air bubbles. If there are, it means that there is an omission, and if there is no, it means that it is normal.

▲When charging, you need to observe whether there is a flowing electrolyte or not, and if so, extract it.

Once the leakage area is found, clean up the surroundings with a knife. And glue the leakage port firmly with special glue for the battery.

The reason why the battery leaks is very related to the quality of the battery itself, so users must look for genuine high-quality batteries during the purchase process.

Actions to Take if the Battery Continues Leaking

  • If the battery is leaking, you need to take it out of service and dispose of it. You don’t want to risk damage to other equipment or injury to those around you. You should also take steps to prevent water from entering the battery compartment.
  • If the battery is outside, cover it with a heavy-duty tarp or other material.
  • If you’re dealing with a battery that is inside a vehicle, you should have the battery removed and replaced as soon as possible. Again, this is to protect other equipment and also to prevent any water from entering the vehicle.
  • You should also contact the manufacturer of the battery. They will have guidance on how to dispose of the battery in a safe and responsible manner.
  • If you notice that your battery is still leaking. You need to shut down the equipment and unplug it from the battery. It’s important to remember that the leaking battery could potentially start a fire or produce toxic fumes. You should always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when charging or maintaining batteries.

What not to do when a lithium-ion battery begins leaking

There are some things you should avoid doing when dealing with a battery that’s leaking.

Firstly, you should never try to remove the battery yourself. When a battery starts to leak, the electrolyte inside can be extremely corrosive. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could seriously damage your vehicle by coming into contact with the electrolyte.

You should also avoid moving the vehicle or trying to start the engine. You don’t want to cause an electrical short that could cause further damage to the vehicle. You should also avoid standing in water around the battery, as this could cause an electrical short and start a fire.

How to prevent lithium battery from leaking as much as possible?

Avoid overcharging

Avoid complete discharge of the battery

Keeping batteries at room temperature

How to detect if lithium battery is leaking or not?

Appearance inspection, through manual inspection, to observe whether there is electrolyte flowing out and the appearance of the battery is deformed.
This method is the most traditional method and the easiest to operate in reality, but it relies on person and their foolproof performance is poor. This is the original detection method.

Vacuum detection.Using the characteristics of the bulging of the leaking battery to vacuum the battery as a whole to form a large pressure difference inside and outside the leaking battery. The electrolyte may be accompanied by the internal air flow out of the battery, and then perform an appearance inspection to pick out the defects.

This method has a low detection rate, but it is also a commonly used method because of its good operability

Detection of leaking substance Once the battery leaks, the electrolyte inside it will flow to the outside of the battery. If the electrolyte can be detected sensitively, it can be determined whether the battery leaks.
The limitation of this method is that there is no formal testing mechanism. It is particularly sensitive to electrolytes and has fewer applications.

Generally, more chemical reagents such as PH test strips and litmus test solutions are used.

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Some Final Words: Dont Just Throw Your Vehicle Out Because of a Leaking Battery

If you own a vehicle that uses a lithium-ion battery, it’s important to know that your battery can start to leak.

It’s also important to know what to do if this happens.

When a battery starts to leak, it can be dangerous. It’s important to shut down the equipment and unplug the battery. If the battery continues to leak, then you should have it removed and replaced as soon as possible.

You should also contact the manufacturer to find out how to dispose of the battery in a safe and responsible manner.

You don’t want to throw away a vehicle that has lots of life left in it simply because the battery started to leak.

By following the tips in this article, you can make sure that your battery is taken care of and doesn’t pose a threat to you or others around you.

First aid measures

Skin contact:Immediately remove contaminated clothing and rinse with plenty of flowing water for at least 15 minutes. Seek medical attention.

Eye contact:Lift the eyelids and rinse with flowing water or saline. Seek medical attention.

Inhalation: Quickly leave the scene to a place with fresh air. Keep the respiratory tract unobstructed. If you have difficulty breathing, give oxygen. If breathing stops, perform artificial respiration immediately. Seek medical attention.

Ingestion: Those who take it by mistake gargle with water and drink milk or egg white. Seek medical attention.


Q&A1.What happens if a lithium battery leaks?

If a lithium battery leaks, there are many phenomenons happens. We can see from following things:

1.Electrolyte of lithium battery flows out and then lead to battery out of work
2. Appearance of the lithium battery is deformed, we can see lithium battery swelling and even some cracks in the battery.
3. Short circuit in the whole device
4. You will smell Irritating gas
5. Irritating gas is poisonous

Q&A2.What causes a lithium battery to leak?

1. Internal pressure is excessive
2. External packaging is unqualified
3. When charging batteries, the voltage or current is too high and the battery can not stand it.
4. Abnormal usage, for example: hit, pierce or bump
5. Battery aging

In general, no matter package problems or abnormal usage problems, battery internal short circuit is the main reasons. All above reasons can lead lithium battery to short circuit.

Q&A3.How do you fix a leaking lithium battery?

It is not recommended to repair a leaking battery. Electrolyte inside the lithium battery is poisonous and corrosive, you’d bettery dispose leaking lithium battery to dedicated recycling station.If your lithium battery is leaking, you’d better change it as soon as possible to prevent acidic liquids from corroding your equipments.

Q&A4.Are lithium batteries less likely to leak?

Yes, compared with alkaline battery, lithium battery, especially lithium ions battery are safer because the whole chemical reaction process is not easily to generate gas. Further more, technology of lithium battery manufactering is matured. In order to keep you and your device safe, you’d better choose branded lithium batteried.

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