Heat: Cell phone batteries have become a danger

Heat: Cell phone batteries have become a danger

In particular, lithium complexes that power cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, laptops and nearly 200,000 e-bikes in Austria will increasingly become a source of danger.

Vienna. In light of the heat wave, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Coordination Office (EAK) draws attention to the fact that technical devices are not affected by high temperatures. In particular, lithium complexes that power cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, laptops and nearly 200,000 e-bikes in Austria will increasingly become a source of danger.

“These batteries react violently to excessive heat and mechanical damage. If, for example, a mobile phone falls on the floor, invisible cracks can appear in the battery membranes,” warns EAK. These cracks also have the potential to widen during additional charging processes – short circuits that can cause fires are a result of these processes. “However, with careful handling and proper disposal, an uncontrolled chain reaction can largely be prevented,” says Elizabeth Geyser, managing director of EAK.

An already damaged lithium battery can be recognized not only by the deformed metal casing or melting points on the plastic housing, but also by the fact that it heats up even when it is turned off. According to the EAK, even the smallest invisible injuries to battery membranes can lead to self-ignition. Therefore, when charging smartphones and Co. unattended, it is best to place them on non-combustible surfaces. However, e-bike batteries should not be charged unattended anyway.

More tips

Another tip is to avoid contact of the battery contacts (outside devices) with metal objects, such as coins or keys, as much as possible, because there is a risk of a short circuit here as well. If you store lithium batteries and want to take them to the collection point in bulk first, you should definitely store the batteries individually, eg wrapped in plastic bags. For larger batteries, where bare contacts are visible, be sure to cover the electrodes with masking tape.

Used batteries and accumulators or electrical devices containing accumulators or batteries can be transported to approximately 2,000 municipal collection points (landfills, recycling centers, etc.) in Austria, where they will be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. Discarded, small, undamaged power dispensers can also be delivered free of charge in dedicated “give me empty” battery collection boxes in stores that sell batteries and accumulators.

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