ARES District 3 Bulletins 2017

TO:    ALL WOOD COUNTY ARES MEMBERS  (OFFICIAL)
       ALL ARES AND NON-ARES AMATEURS ANYWHERE  (INFORMATION)
FROM:  KEN HARRIS WA8LLM ARRL DISTRICT 3 EMERGENCY COORDINATOR
WOOD COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS INC.

WOOD COUNTY BULLETIN NR 17.23          DATE: June 4, 2017
SUBJECT:  WHAT CAUSES BATTERIES TO EXPLODE?

The type batteries that are most likely to explode are those which contain lead and acid.  These type batteries are the most likely to explode while they are being charged, or discharged, at a fast, high current rate.  The chemical reaction between the lead and the acid during charging and discharging produces a highly flammable Hydrogen gas.

If there is enough Hydrogen gas produced in a confined area, about any spark could ignite the gas.  There have been many stories of car batteries exploding while they are getting a jump start from another vehicle.  The igniting of the Hydrogen gas happens as the jumper cables are being removed from the battery that was just getting charged.  There are several ways to help prevent a battery from exploding during the jump starting of another vehicle.

One thing is to be sure there is plenty of air moving across the batteries that are being jumped or doing the jumping.  Don't try to shield the vehicle from the cold air by putting it in a garage, let the wind blow, to prevent the buildup of Hydrogen gas.  Since Hydrogen is lighter then air, it will dissipate quickly, and not tend to build up.

When jumping a vehicle with a dead battery, use a ground location, other then the battery terminal, on each vehicle for one of the jumper cables.  This ground connection should be as far away from the battery as possible.  Use the ground connections to be the last connection when connecting the batteries together, and the first connection when taking them apart.  This may prevent any spark, that might happen, to be far enough from the batteries to prevent an explosion.

Ken Harris WA8LLM
WCEC
Wood County WV