Lithium polymer battery causes blaze
Incorrect handling triggers explosion
The major fire in Steckborn on December 21, 2015, was probably started by a lithium polymer battery in a model car, as the Thurgau cantonal police department recently announced. Battery experts from Empa have already conducted overcharging experiments on such batteries and provide tips on how to handle them safely.
The results of the investigation conducted by the Thurgau cantonal police department were released on January 8, 2016. According to the report, the fire was started by a model battery plugged into a charger on the third floor of one of the buildings. The same day, Empa battery expert Donat Adams gave several interviews to journalists on regional radio and television stations, in which he explained the risks of LiPo batteries.
Only use the matching original charger
If a battery is connected to a charger that doesn’t switch off on its own, the battery can overheat, expand, give off hot gases and eventually burst into flames, as an impressive clip from Empa reveals: The Empa researchers had deliberately overcharged a commercially available, roughly 50-gram LiPo battery (1,300 mAh) extensively. The ensuing battery explosion could easily have set a room ablaze. Consequently, it is advisable to charge LiPo batteries only on non-flammable surfaces and keep an eye on them while they are plugged in.