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Will Button Cells Explode? What to Do if It Explodes?

Yes, the button cells will explode, so it is necessary to draw our attention. Today I will analyze different types of button batteries. If you read this blog, you should know it well and I believe it will bring you some useful help.

In daily life, the most used button cells are divided into several types: lithium manganese button cells, zinc manganese button cells, and silver oxide button cells.

#1. Lithium Manganese Button Cell Will Not Explode.

Lithium manganese button cells are divided into many models according to different sizes. Usually, CR2016, CR2025, CR2032, CR2450, etc. are widely used, and the shape is as shown in the figure below:

cr2032 lithium cell

Its appearance is made of stainless steel material and serves as the positive electrode. The negative electrode is a stainless steel circular cover. There is a sealing ring between the positive electrode and the negative electrode for insulation. The sealing ring is made of nylon. The sealing ring can prevent electrolyte leakage in addition to insulation. Lithium is the lightest metal, so lithium batteries have the advantages of lightness, durability, high stability, and long-lasting power. The disadvantage is that the power is small and the cost is high. Therefore, the use is mostly limited to precision instruments.

When the lithium manganese button battery is discharged, the lithium negative electrode undergoes an oxidation reaction, forming lithium ions that are dissolved in the electrolyte solution, and migrate to the manganese dioxide positive electrode, embedded in the manganese dioxide lattice, and promote the reduction of manganese. During this process, no gas is produced, so there will be no explosion. Even in the case of a short circuit, it will not explode. However, the self-discharge will be accelerated in the case of a short circuit, which will cause the battery to run out. Therefore, when storing, it must be packaged separately.

#2. The Zinc-Manganese Button Cells Will Explode.

Generally. zinc-manganese button cells may explode when an external short circuit occurs or an internal short circuit occurs. There are many types of zinc-manganese button batteries. Commonly used are AG3/LR41, AG8/LR55, AG10/LR54, AG12/LR43, AG13/LR44, etc. The shapes are shown in the figure below:

lr44 button cell

Its outer surface is made of stainless steel and serves as a positive electrode, and its negative electrode is a stainless steel circular cover, and there is a separator paper between the positive electrode and the negative electrode for insulation. Internal manganese dioxide is the positive electrode material, and zinc is the negative electrode material. During discharge, zinc and manganese dioxide undergo a chemical reaction, and there are other productions, but this button battery does not have explosion-proof holes, so if a short circuit occurs, more of it will be generated instantly Gas, it may explode. This explosion is not powerful but pays attention. If it touches the eyes or face, it will also cause certain injuries, especially away from fire and children.

Zinc-manganese button batteries are mainly used in watches, toys, small remote controls, etc. It is used in toys a lot, so be especially careful, keep away from children when changing the battery. This battery is very small and can easily be eaten by children if it is touched by it.

#3. The Silver Oxide Button Cells Will Explode.

Silver oxide button cells, also known as silver-zinc battery or zinc-silver oxide battery, is a battery that uses silver oxide as the positive electrode, zinc as the negative electrode, and alkaline solution as the electrolyte. It has the advantages of stable discharge, high energy to weight ratio, and so on.

Common silver oxide battery models usually start with SR, where S stands for silver oxide battery, and R stands for the round (including cylindrical). The shape is as follows:

silver oxide button cells

The voltage of silver oxide batteries is relatively high. The nominal voltage of silver oxide primary batteries is marked as 1.55v, which is higher than 1.5v for alkaline batteries and 1.35v for mercury batteries. During the discharge process, the curve of voltage versus discharge time is flat, that is to say, it can maintain nearly the same voltage for a long time.

Since the zinc in the negative electrode can react with the components in the electrolyte, it will be consumed by corrosion. This will not only reduce the usable capacity of the battery but also generate hydrogen gas, causing the internal pressure of the battery to increase and expand. In order to suppress this effect, the zinc surface is usually covered with a small amount of mercury. However, if a short circuit occurs, the gas surges in an instant and the positive and negative poles will rush apart, forming a so-called explosion.

Button cells can also explode. The explosion is usually caused by a short circuit. Therefore, we must be careful when storing them and store them separately. Because the positive and negative poles of the button battery are very small, it is easy to form a short circuit when stacked together.

Carl Zhang

Carl Zhang

I am a senior sales with 15 years in the battery industry and a bachelor's degree in economics.
I will be sharing some of my expertise on batteries and my insights into the battery industry in my blog, which should help you with your purchases in China.

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