Lithium batteries are used on so many modern day devices such as passenger aircraft and courier aircraft, laptop computers, electric cars, even naval warships. The reason for the growing and widespread use is simple, high energy density. This means that lithium batteries pack more punch for their size and weight than any other battery.
Lithium is the least dense metallic element, allowing it to store more energy than other batteries. But Lithium is also a highly reactive alkali metal, and if the battery cells overheat or short circuit, a thermal runaway can occur. This results in a sudden release of energy, and highly intense flame or explosion which can ignite other surrounding batteries, leading to catastrophic losses. The key to safety is to prevent the rapid chain reaction and contain the fire or explosion to one battery or cell. This can be achieved by fitting fire protective covers that are designed for continuous high temperature flame exposure and flame impingement.
Our most common recommendation to contain lithium battery fires is our custom designed Insulflex® Lithium Battery Protection Covers. These blankets utilize a unique technology that combines the continuous high temperature properties of SiO2 (Amorphous Silica Yarn) and MLMA (Multi-Layer Mylar Aluminization). Our Aluminized Silicaflex cloth combines these technologies to offer continuous resistance to 1800°F (983° C) and a highly emissive (reflective) aluminized coating that offers abrasion resistance, durability and mechanical strength. Aluminized Silicaflex can be supplied in roll form, fabricated blankets or curtains, or made even more robust with the addition of a special Silica Insulation mat.
So whether Lithium Batteries are used in a mobile application, transported on a ship, plane or boat, or simply stored together in a group, the key to safety is to segment the batteries into small individual units or groups, and apply a properly designed fire protection blanket or cover.
For more info and detailed analysis of your application parameters, speak with your Insulflex® technical sales representative.