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Wormald introduces FIREBOSS, a new lithium-ion battery solution to address growing fire issue

 

3d rendering forklift truck charges with electric charging station

An increasing number of commercial and household devices such as laptops, mobile phones, cordless appliances, power tools, vehicles, and energy storage systems use lithium-ion batteries as their primary source of energy. These devices typically have a higher energy density, are efficient and convenient to use, and can be recharged hundreds of times. However, the downside is that they can be a serious fire hazard if their batteries are not carefully managed.

One of the most common reasons for a lithium-ion battery fire is the battery overheating. This can be caused by an electrical shortage, rapid discharge, overcharging, mechanical damage or a manufacturer defect. An overheated battery can result in thermal runaway, an unstoppable chain reaction which occurs when the internal temperature of a battery rapidly increases, causing the creation and dispersion of flammable gases that cannot be extinguished by conventional means.

A software malfunction can also lead to a fire. This occurs when the software that guides the amount of charge needed to reach capacity and the speed to reach that level (which can vary according to the attachment) is not set correctly. This causes the chemicals in the battery to destabilise, creating a chain reaction effect that can lead to the device igniting.

According to Wormald’s technical director, Justin Morris, the risk of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries can be minimised by knowing how to act and what to do to suppress the fire.

“The problem with lithium-ion battery fires is that they are notoriously hard to extinguish with water or a fire extinguisher. With the number of lithium-ion battery fires on the rise, Wormald has been testing a fire suppression solution to address the issue. These tests have led to Wormald introducing FIREBOSS, a unique fire suppression agent that works where a powder or water fire extinguisher can’t,” said Morris.

FIREBOSS features a non-toxic extinguishing agent known as AVD (Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion), which is deployed as a mist, creating a film over the fire surface area. It instantly dries to prevent re-ignition, creating an oxygen barrier to cool down the battery.

Ideal for use in factories, offices and homes where there are significant numbers of lithium-ion battery devices, FIREBOSS is the latest and most-effective solution available in Australia designed specifically to suppress lithium-ion battery fires.

To help mitigate the risk of a lithium-ion battery fire, Wormald recommends the following advice.

  1. Keep lithium-ion batteries at room temperature: if a battery is fully charged and kept in very warm temperatures, such as in the car, it will reduce the battery life and increase the risk of catching fire. Keeping devices in your pocket, or a device pouch to cover a laptop, can also increase risk.
  2. Avoid overcharging devices: while lithium-ion batteries can be recharged several times to the maximum capacity, waiting until a device is drained before recharging is recommended. Over-charging a device by leaving it in the wall socket can increase the risk of damage to the battery and trigger a potential fire.
  3. Avoid mishandling lithium-ion batteries: a crushed or punctured battery due to improper handling can lead to short-circuiting or electrolyte material being released. If either of these occurs, thermal runaway can result, increasing the risk of a fire or explosion.
  4. Avoid keeping lithium-ion battery devices together: keep devices apart when storing or placing them in carry-on luggage while in transit. If one device is prone to risk, it can cause all devices to signal off each other.
  5. Keep lithium-ion batteries clean: dust and grime that accumulates on devices can be a potential fire hazard. Use wipes to clean around vents or ports including or when inserting or removing the battery to reduce build up.
  6. Don’t purchase unsafe brands or incompatible equipment: using accessories that aren’t supplied or recommended by the device’s manufacturer can increase the risk of short circuits or power surges. When replacing batteries, it’s always important to look for genuine brands. Avoid knock-off lithium-ion batteries which are often associated with poor manufacturing standards and inferior materials. A good way to ensure components are compliant is to check the Australian Government’s Electrical Equipment Safety Scheme which requires manufacturers to comply with Australian Standards.

 

With lithium-ion battery fires on the rise, the Wormald FIREBOSS AVD fire extinguishing agent is a major breakthrough in supressing the growing number of fire related incidents.

For further information about Wormald’s new FIREBOSS solution, call 133 166 or visit www.wormald.com.au.