An e-cig blows up and the media goes wild! The hysteria over exploding ecigarettes is a certain headline grabber these days. Of course, there are a lot of special interests out there that are looking for any reason to attack the lectronic cigarette. The false claims about ecigs are a contant, tiresome drumbeat that accomplishes nothing other than misinforming smokers and keeping them hooked on smoking.
One quick story then I’ll carry on. I’m with a friend at an outdoor mall and I see a guy smoking a cigarette. I had my vape on me and I suggested to him that he should try a vape instead. He proceded to tell me that he had studied the subject and found that vaping was more dangerous than smoking so he was intent on sticking to tobacco. I can’t tell you how often this happens but suffice to say that it is a lot. Nice going anti-vaping groups, you are Big Tobacco’s best friend.
Anyway, I just wanted to bring that up because as we all know the anti-vaping rhetoric is way out of control and devoid of reason. That is part of the general sentiment out there that is driving the hysterical stories in the very rare circumstances when an e-cig blows up. What this entire story really comes down to is basic ecig saftey issues, unregulated mods and cloned vaping products. These are the categories of concern that are really behind incidents where an e-cig blows up.
Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium ion batteries pack a lot of power into a small space. This technology has enabled a new world with cell phones and lap tops. By the way, there have been many incidents of cell phone and lap top batteries exploding or catching fire but these generally do not receive the publicity when an e-cig blows up. Likewise, we have seen many incidents of the lithium ion batteries in Hover Boards catching fire. There are many videos on YouTube of these incidents.
Lithium ion batteries can be fragile. If they are operated below 50 degrees F or over 115 degrees F, they can be damaged leading to failure. If they are improperly charged on the wrong battery charger they can be damaged and fail. These batteries do require some basic precautions. For example, if you live in a cold climate, make sure not to leave your batteries in a car overnight where they will be exposed to freezing temperatures.
If you do leave a battery on a car charger overnight, you might come out in the morning and find that the charge light has turned green. The natural assumption would be to conclude that the battery was fully charged. What can be happening is that at the low temperatures the lithium can end up plating over the annode. The sensors will not be accurate and it can be easy to overcharge and de-stabilize the battery. High temperatures can also destabilize lithium ion batteries.
Another problem is cheap lithium ion batteries. The purity of the lithium is very important to both the safety and quality of lithium ion batteries and this certainly applies to ecigarette batteries. Often, when an e-cig blows up a little digging shows that the cuplrit was a cheap or clone ecig made with low grade lithium batteries. This is important. Avoid cloned ecig products!
Lithium is able to store mass amounts of charged particles. Those charge particles need to be able to move in order to be effective as a power source and to enable the ability to accept a recharge. The purest grade lithium offers the smoothest path for charged particles. Low grade lithium is full of impurities. Those impurities block and interfere with the transition of charged particles. This will not only effect battery quality it will also potentially make a battery more dangerous and prone to failures like thermal runaway.
Batteries do require regulation. Not legal regulation but internal regulation to control how the charged particles move. If there is no regulation of those particles, a thermal runaway can result. When a thermal runaway happens, it can result in a fire or even an explosion.
Battery safey is critical. Be aware of the temperatures that you expose your electronic devices to. Stay within the safe ranges.
When An E-Cig Blows Up
When an e-cig blows up, obviosuly something has gone very wrong. As we have covered, one thing that could have happened is that an ecig was exposed to temperatures outside the safe areas. It can easily happen. Leaving your vape in your car ovrnight in Michigan can cause damage to your ecig battery. This will not predict for certain when an e-cig blows up but it can potentially lead to the type of battery daamge that could cause problems for battery safety.
Charging an ecig battery on a charger that it was not dsigned for can be a recipe for an ecig battery fire. This is soemthing that we have seen before. The video below shows an ecig battery being charged underneath a bar. The battery is not being charged with an appropriate charger. As a result, the e-cig blows up and the whole thing is caught on camera.
Besides charging an vape battery on the wrong charger, there are other problems that can cause an e-cig battery fire. One of the biggest concerns is the issue of modifying electronic cigarettes.
Quite often, avid vapers will modify their peronal vape mod to try and create some desired effect. Anytime that you operate an ecig outside the manufacturer’s specifications it is easy to damage the battery and ultimately lead to a failure or an exig explosion.
One of the most common modifications is the removal of the microprocessor or chip from the mod. The intention is to be able to bypass the safety features in order to draw huge amounts of power from the battery to create more vapor. Basically this is what a mech mod does. The draw immense power into atomizers with very little resistance. The massive movement of the charged particles will probably exceed specifications and tolerances. Mech mods or modified vape mods are at a much greater risk for an incident and many times we find out that this is why an e-cig blows up.
There is no reason to modify a modern vape mod. Today, the best ecigs are totally capable of creating immense vapor safely, no battery modifications are needed. The chip sets in today’s mods are amazingly sophisticated and can get an ideal vapor output from from a huge range of atomizer resistances. The sky is the limit when it comes to vapor production and no modifications are needed to enjoy the best possible vaping, even extreme cloud chasing.
The next issue that can cause an “e-cig blows up” headline in your local paper is the use of a cheap ecig. There is no regulation in place at the time being and the market is being flooded with cheap vape mods that are build with low quality lithium ion batteries. Cloned ecigs are especially problematic. The low quality batteries are a problem. make sure you stick to quality brands and avoid clones.
With a few precautions and by sticking to quality products, you can minimize the chances of an unfortunate incident with an ecig battery.