They Made A Simple Change To Vaping Batteries And What Happens Next Will Amaze You
We now have a new way to reduce the risk of battery failure thanks to exciting research
We’ve all heard plenty of horror stories about a vaporizer going haywire and exploding in someone’s face. While this does happen and is obviously scary, the amount that we hear about it isn’t indicative of the rate at which it actually happens. As a result, legislators across the country have made moves that could seriously jeopardize the harm reduction value of vaping, including harsh taxes and even outright bans. What’s worse is that these changes have done little to reduce the risk of battery failures, as the vast majority of incidents are a direct result of poor battery safety.
Further, this issue isn’t isolated to vaping but is instead a function of the immense amount of lithium-ion battery-powered devices in our day to day lives. These highly efficient batteries have been a game changer for many industries, but they’re not perfect. Thanks to new research though, we appear to be one step closer to non-flammable batteries which could mean the end of battery explosions altogether.
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory formulated the new design and published their findings late last month. The team, led by Dr. Gabriel Veith, wanted to rethink traditional battery design so the barriers between electrodes would be far less likely to fail. They ultimately landed on a silica nanoparticle solution added to the layer of lithium fluid already separating parts of the battery. These nanoparticles would cause the fluid to react as a non-newtonian fluid, meaning it rapidly solidifies when put under sudden pressure. This new design has the two-fold benefit of reducing the overall risk of failure, but also significantly lowering the chances of an explosion.
Even with their resounding results, the team remained skeptical if manufacturers would actually implement the necessary changes. The process itself would be relatively cheap and straightforward, simply requiring some updates and re-calibrating of the tools already used to make batteries. Regardless, this breakthrough will likely lead to future manufacturing plants utilizing the non-flammable method. Luckily, even without most battery companies updating their production method, the odds of you ever experiencing a battery failure are already extremely small.
The Evidence On Battery Failure
Although stories about vaping explosions are scary, it’s imperative to remember that most accidents occur as a result of improper usage or care. Reports on the subject, including an FDA commissioned study, have investigated the real-life cases of battery failure related injuries. Using data collected from a representative sample of US hospital emergency rooms, they were able to determine precisely how unlikely these events are. After analyzing all the numbers, they concluded that daily vapers only face around a 0.0086% chance of ever experiencing a severe incident.
Studies on battery-related fires have reached similar conclusions. The US Fire Administration (USFA) published a report looking at nearly eight years of data on fires and explosions caused by vaping batteries. Between January 2009 and December 2016 there were a mere 195 vaping related incidents. This study was being conducted right during the heart of the growth of vaping when faulty information and misinformed users were both at their peak. Even during that inherently dangerous period, the chances of serious problems were meager.
The vaping industry at large has a surprisingly large amount to gain from this breakthrough in battery technology. If they end up reducing the rate of critical battery failures, and therefore the rate of vaping related failures, it will become much harder for the anti-vapers to paint vaping in a negative light. With fewer arguments against the viability of vaping, it will be harder to deny the growing pile of evidence indicating how much we have to gain by legitimizing vaping. We can only hope that battery makers heed the work of Oak Ridge Labs and usher in a new era of non-flammable lithium-ion batteries.
Regardless, it’s important to remember that the real risk you or anyone you know have of dealing with a vaping explosion is incredibly small. We may hear about every incident that happens across the country thanks to the media, but with millions of daily vapers, it’s important to remember the context. Perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of vaping related injuries were mainly due to user negligence or misunderstanding. So the best thing you can do to prevent a dangerous incident is taking proper care of your equipment and always following basic battery safety rules.
Should manufacturers be forced to update their methods to incorporate the breakthrough? Do you know anyone who’s ever dealt with a vaping related explosion? Is the media making vaping explosions look like a more significant problem than it is? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.