Technical info - Explosie

Exploded battery

A charged battery is a stored energy device and appropriate risk management needs to be used in handling because if the stored energy is released all at once, for instance when a tool is dropped on the terminals, this can cause a full short circuit.

When reaching full state of charge, any lead-acid battery will produce explosive oxyhydrogen gas, dissipating from the battery vents. Under those conditions any spark can cause an explosion, that not only will damage the battery but also disperse acid into the surroundings. Anyone close to the battery may be injured.

Most battery explosions take place at the moment of connecting and disconnecting cables or terminals. In warehouse conditions battery must not be foil-wrapped immediately after charging. A static spark from the foil might detonate the gas which may be emitted during at least one hour after full state of charge.

If a battery explodes at the moment the power is switched on (starter, bow thruster) it usually is the result of a too low electrolyte level caused by excessive charging or poor maintenance. When the battery plates are not completely submerged in the electrolyte, the high current can cause a spark between the plates, detonating the oxyhydrogen contained within the battery.