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mattrmiller

Laptop Battery Fire Video

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Well done demonstration, aside from calling the fire department which is good advice, could you expand on methods of extinguishing the fire. Would water make the situation worse as in a sodium - water reaction? Flour is combustible and should never be used on a fire and from the looks of it no one would have enough baking soda to smother the fire maybe smothering it out with the dirt in a potted plant would help. The ongoing flames seem to be the result of the plastic burning and could be extinguished with water if the ongoing chemical reactions have ceased yet with the sealed nature of the battery rapid cooling I suppose could present a risk of explosion causing bodily harm. I suppose immersing it in water (IE sink full of water) would lessen the fire risk to the structure as air would be cut off for reactions yet would the water necessarily cause an explosion of the unit with potentially lethal shrapnel?

 

 

 

Perhaps someone could expand on this that has knowledge rather than my amateur ideas on the subject. The reason I bring this up is I doubt many people have a home fire extinguisher and at best the fire department is ten minutes from getting to you.

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Read further down the topics and found this info:

 

 

 

 

Tony: Yeah, it's not typical. If you think of a typical fire, as you know, a piece of paper is on fire or wood, you can just douse some water on that kind of a fire. This is not, at all, that type of fire. This is, actually, literally, lithium is a metal and metal burning requires some very specific handling. You should not use, not, I repeat, not use any of the common extinguishing agents like water or foam or vaporizing liquids because those things can actually cause an even more violent reaction, potentially, as it hits that lithium metal. Really the best thing to do, is if you have it handy, is to use like a Class D dry powder. Those are specifically developed for metal fires.

 

Rob: Like the fire extinguisher. Is that...

 

Tony: ... exactly, in a fire extinguisher, look for that Class D rating. The very first practical thing is a step back. I mean, get away. If you notice it starting to go, get away from it and get people around you away from it because usually this is going to happen within one particular cell first. But, again, going back to portables using many cell packs, packed together what looks to you like one battery, may be six, eight, or more cells inside of that pack. Once that reaction starts, it's going to cause, potentially, the subsequent cells to go. So you may get a little bit of a timed release and the venting can be violent, I mean it can,... even the first one, it may change by the battery as it gets hotter. It may just ooze the liquid out if it was just burning hot enough to melt the cell of the plastic, but as it gains in power, then the next one then may pour violently and actually spew flames, so you don't want to get any of that material on you and you obviously don't want to get any of that fire on you, so step back. And even with those fire extinguishers, the goal of those extinguishers is to kind of rob oxygen from that process. It kind of coats that process allowing the burning that will want a fending cell to kind of cool down to stop the forward reaction. But there's no guarantee that's going to happen. If that chain reaction has already started in the next cell, it may appear as though the fire is out, but it may burst up again, similar to that little trick birthday candle example I brought up. I think there is actually a case of a Sony VIO that the owners thought, it did burst into flames, they thought it was completely out, and then it burst up again a second time. Fortunately, they had moved it out to the driveway at that point. So, caution is really the rule and really stand back and if you don't have the right extinguishing material, best to call in the experts. Call the fire department or something like that. Don't take a chance to try to force something on there that may cause more damage or may make the fire spread.

 

 

 

 

So I guess in the absence of a fire extinguisher a bucket of dirt or a potted plant is the best you can do. Any other alternatives?

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Hello, astonishing video, but can I make anything to prevent it? :pullhair: What is the probability of battery fire if the notebook is switched off, if any? Should I switch off the charging if I leave the notebook unattended for a longer period? Is there any sign in advance (e.g. too hot computer?) Does a ventillated cooling pad lowers the possibility of fire, or is it independent of outside/undermap temperature? Can anyone give me advice not to be overcautious, but duly careful?

 

Regards,

 

Laszlo :geezer:

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As a former firefighter, I am posting the following for your information. The movie, is very good.

 

In the event of a lithium battery venting in or out of the laptop, get away immediately and call 911. Tell the operator you have a D-Class lithium fire so the firefighters will have an extinguisher ready when they arrive. Unless you are in a commercial setting where a D-Class extinguisher is available, it is best to just leave and alert others to evacuate. The following is information on extinguishing a lithium fire so you will know how difficult it is. As shown by the movie, the temperatures will rise above 1,000 degrees. These are very dangerous fires. Leave them to the experts.

 

In lieu of a D-Class fire extinguisher with a propellant of argon and a retardant of finely powdered copper, which is the preferred extinguishing agent for a lithium fire, powdered sodium carbonate, powdered dolomite and argon gas are also sometimes used. No other extinguishers should be employed on this type of fire.

 

:nono:NOTE: Never use dirt on a lithium fire as it tends to pick up moisture while sitting around. The smallest amount of moisture will cause a steam explosion and send super heated metal droplets flying.

 

FYI: The D-Class fire extinguisher is made for commercial applications and is very pricy, as well as weighing 30 lbs.

Edited by Senator

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Thanks for the advice Senator and :wp:

 

 

 

The small household extinguishers like I have are A,B,and C rated not the D rating needed for this type of fire.

 

 

 

So would the best advice be first call 911 second evacuate area and third use your dry chemical extinguisher only for extinguishing areas that the fire has spread to wall, table, carpet, etc (not to be used on the laptop or battery itself) if this can be performed safely without risk of becoming overcome by smoke, flames or fumes.

 

 

 

Found following source for D rated extinguishing material which is the only thing that should be used on the a laptop or lithium battery fire.

 

http://www.diemaster.com/mfxa_002.htm

Edited by Lou

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The FAA has done tests on Lithium Ion battery pack fires and have concluded that the following types of extinguishers are effective on Lithium Ion fires: Halon, Water, FE-36, ABC Powder and BC Powder. Lithium Ion batteries do not have lithium metal present in the cells, Lithium primary batteries do utilize lithium metal and require different extinguishing techniques. That is why Lithium primary batteries have different shipping, and marking requirements when being transported.

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Senator (and others)... Lithium Ion batteries do NOT contain lithium metal! This is a common misunderstanding but none the less, it's wrong.

 

What you're seeing in this video is a thermal runaway chemical reaction leading to pressure building up in the cell, then the cell bursts, electrolyte and oxygen is released (it's now under pressure so it comes out quite violently) and the high heats (from the preceding thermal runaway) lights the volatile electrolyte and oxygen mixture on fire. The industry term for this is "vent with flame." See this link: http://www.buchmann.ca/article28-page1.asp

 

Second, it's sad to see that the big manufacturers continue to use plain lithium ion (cobalt chemistry) batteries when safe chemistries are now available. See http://www.valence.com/battsafe.asp and http://www.a123systems.com/html/technology.html for two manufacturers of just such batteries. It's too bad there isn't a Ralph Nader of our times to force the industry to make portable computers/phones safer.

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The FAA has done tests on Lithium Ion battery pack fires and have concluded that the following types of extinguishers are effective on Lithium Ion fires: Halon, Water, FE-36, ABC Powder and BC Powder. Lithium Ion batteries do not have lithium metal present in the cells, Lithium primary batteries do utilize lithium metal and require different extinguishing techniques. That is why Lithium primary batteries have different shipping, and marking requirements when being transported.

 

I tried to look up the research that you say was done by the FAA, and did not find a quote showing what you say. I did find one set of research by Harry Webster that shows that Halon is INEFFECTIVE against a lithium battery fire, the Halon chemically interacts with the Lithium. I work for the FAA (nothing to do with this subject) and want to have correct information provided to the public, especially when my agency is quoted.

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Excellent video, rather scary. However, can anyone help me with this? My laptop, a Sony Vaio, uses Li-ion battery pack which I really dont need to use. There is no problem removing the battery for normal use and replacing it when needed. But eventually it is going to go flat, what danger is there in replacing the battery into the computer for re-charging, also is there a danger of explosion during battery use or is it only when running on AC power? These may seem like simple questions, but I am concerned about the danger, especially since my children often use the laptop on their laps whilst sat in the living room - quite a frightening thought if an explosion was to happen there.

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Just wondering: what if this happens aboard a plane way up there flying at cruising altitude?

Do planes carry this specific kind of extinguisher?

What will the explosion & fire do to the air inside the passanger cabin?

Blow up the plane?

Do the airlines have any emergency plan for this notebook battery accident?

 

Paranoia aside,

thank you for your patience and help.

albuca

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Is it me or is that laptop sitting on an electric grill? Looks like the kind I make pancakes on =) Was this grill on to make the battery react like that?

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dunno ....but just on the film itself ....people whooping and hi fiveing in the background made it look a bit amateur hour , plus no fume cabinet , (standard basic lab equipment for toxic fume extraction) and

no fire containment or shielding ... looked like cardboard boxes in the background .........

 

want to be taken seriously ?.... at least look the part ...!

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

I was amazed that batteries could go "off" like that ...!

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dunno ....but just on the film itself ....people whooping and hi fiveing in the background made it look a bit amateur hour , plus no fume cabinet , (standard basic lab equipment for toxic fume extraction) and

no fire containment or shielding ... looked like cardboard boxes in the background .........

 

want to be taken seriously ?.... at least look the part ...!

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

I was amazed that batteries could go "off" like that ...!

 

 

 

Sadly I have to agree with you Tankus. For us less demonstrative non-Americans, the sounds in the background are like a bunch of drunk students playing around with substances.... It's reminiscent of American tv programmes where the cars go up in an explosive ball of flames when they nudge a kerb! This is a serious subject, but the whoops and yelps in the background to the demo diminished the seriousness of the possible consequences.

 

They should have shown the video without sound, while displaying an elapsed time counter, and finished off with 'Evacuate the building and call the fire Brigade'. Few non-professional Fire fighters have the expertise or equipment to deal with this type of situation.

 

Interesting though.....

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I am a retired firefighter, 23 yrs City, 8 yrs Air Force, 8 yrs Fl ANG.

Class D extinguishers contain different extinguishing agents, depending on the type of metal they are to be used on. (This is possible because, in most places, only a limited variety of possible metals are used. Machine shops -for example- specialize in certain types or keep incompatible metals in different areas.) Some agents are applied simply by dumping them on.

Since the Li-ion battery contains no lithium metal (assuming that to be the case), the application of copious amounts of water (from a bucket, for example) may be effective. Would the producers of the video please do it again, and try the bucket of water? Check with your local authorities first, and this time - DO IT OUTSIDE. When you don't know what to expect, don't conduct such an experiment within a building or near other combustibles. Approaching the fire with that thermometer was reckless in the extreme; that fire could easily have flared again.

Go to a fire station, show them the video, explain that you want additional advice and off-duty support to recreate the conditons and demonstrate extinguishment methods.

I'll persue this from this end; our department has one of the top video production units in the Country. They may want to follow up.

Walt

Florida

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Just wondering: what if this happens aboard a plane way up there flying at cruising altitude?

Do planes carry this specific kind of extinguisher?

What will the explosion & fire do to the air inside the passanger cabin?

Blow up the plane?

Do the airlines have any emergency plan for this notebook battery accident?

 

Paranoia aside,

thank you for your patience and help.

albuca

 

 

I'm not a fireman, but wouldn't a wet towel do the job? I would think a thick towel doused in water should do the trick. you can keep pouring water on the towel to keep it soaked till things quiet down. This would keep the temp from rising higher and at the same time minimize the spread of fumes. Of course, unplugging the laptop at the first sign of smoke is helpful too.

 

On a plane, I suggest running to the toilet with the laptop at the first sign of smoke. Then do the towel bit.

 

With millions of laptops in use everyday, the chances this would happen to you is very slim. Li-ion batteries have a safety fuse in them to prevent such accidents from happening. My advice? Stay away from cheap unbranded replacements. :nono: The money saved from buying an unbranded one other than a more expensive original battery pack wouldn't nearly cover the price of your laptop if it does explode. At least with the original, the company would reimburse your laptop. B)

Edited by bienb

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