A powerful explosion from a small lithium ion battery inside an e-cigarette is shown in a video from the London charity Electrical Safety First.
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are electronic devices that allow you to inhale nicotine vapour rather than smoke.
However, e-cigarettes, like smartphones and electric vehicles, contain lithium-ion batteries that, if pierced, damaged, or overheated, can burst into flames or explode.
The small silver vape in the video is being overcharged at a higher voltage than it should be using an incorrect USB connector.
Because the battery inside the vape is unable to handle the increased voltage, it enters a state of ‘thermal runaway,’ exploding wildly inside a protective Perspex container.
The thin wire in the video is a thermocouple, which measures the temperature of the vape and displays the results on a yellow thermometer.
According to the charity, the e-cigarette device in the video is unbranded and could have been purchased locally or online.
Meanwhile, the charger shown in the video is a USB connector, but it is not the one that came with the vape when it was purchased.
So this just emphasizes the risks of not using the charger that comes with a vape, especially if it has become lost or broken.
The UK government also emphasizes the significance of using the proper vape charger.
It says on its website: ‘Only use the charger that was supplied with the vape for charging. Don’t charge your vape overnight and regularly check your device when it is charging. Unplug your vape when it is fully charged.’
After reports of vapes exploding and causing horrific burns, Brits may be reconsidering carrying one in their pocket.
When the lithium battery in his vape exploded in 2020, British photographer Graham Tooby was engulfed in blue flames and left permanently scarred.
Mr Tooby said he was lucky it didn’t hit his genitals and wondered what would have happened if his pocket had been an inch to the right.
‘My brother in law threw water over me, but because lithium batteries don’t stop burning until they run out of energy, it kept on burning,’ he told local media.
‘There was instant pain and panic and I didn’t really know what to do because it had all happened so suddenly, it wasn’t as though the device had heated up beforehand, it literally went from zero to blue flames and loud hissing in seconds.
‘Without warning fireworks were coming from my pocket and we were all just trying to stop it.’
Last year, two Australian men were similarly injured when the lithium-ion batteries in their vape devices exploded.
As a precaution, vapers are advised not to overcharge their e-cigarette batteries and to use a protective case for the battery.
People are also advised not to leave the vape in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces, as this may cause a reaction.
Lithium-ion batteries can also be found in e-bikes, smartphones, robots, electric vehicles, and other devices.
Electrical Safety First also warns that e-bike chargers sold on online marketplaces are faulty, putting riders at risk of ‘devastating fires.’