lithium metal fire drill

chewy78

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Say after reading another thread about imr setup's I was getting an idea about having a special fire drill at my fire dept i am on. I would like to setup a lithium ion mini fire to demonstrate how dangerous a metal fire can be. Because you cant really put it out with just water or aff foam. I have a wolf-eyes charger that uses a pcb for termimation and would get a pair of cheap unprotected 18650 cells to put in them. I think that would work. I'm thinking to use thick plate steel to set it on a pad of concrete out in back of our station away from any buildings. We would have full turnout gear with a breathing apperatous on.



Any other body's comments about this will be gladly appreciated too.
 
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Kestrel

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An ex-CPF-er with the username NewBie did some excellent analysis on 123 cells and fire/explosion issues.
Here's one (very detailed) thread (it's 123 primary not rechargeable-lithium but still might be helpful):
https://www.candlepowerforums.com/threads/124776
It is a fantastic thread and might be right up your alley.

You'll really want to make sure you won't be creating any HF issues from the fire. That is a very nasty (and persistent) chemical-exposure issue.

My two cents, I would simulate it with reagent-grade Lithium. Simpler and safer.

K
 
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Fallingwater

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Even cheap 18650s are likely to have passive protection built-in, that will disconnect them as soon as pressure inside increases. They aren't certain to have it, but having the entire fire department look at the cell as it does nothing at all wouldn't be good. :p

On the other hand, lithium polymer cells meant for RC use are ridiculously easy to set on fire. Connect one to car battery, watch the fireworks...
 

Mr Happy

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Just to mention though, my understanding is that lithium ion cells do not contain metallic lithium. When lithium ion cells burst and catch fire, I believe the primary fuel is volatile solvent vapors rather than metal.

Also, regarding alkali metal fires from lithium primary cells, it is true those fires are difficult to extinguish. If a crate full of CR123A cells catches fire, there will be hot flames and caustic fumes of lithium hydroxide which you must on no account breathe in. However, a single CR123A cell catching fire in an open space will not be that impressive, relatively speaking. There is no need to do anything much except stand clear and let it burn out by itself. You could move it away from anything flammable using metal tongs. If indoors, ventilate thoroughly afterwards.

To put out the burning crate of CR123A cells there are few options. You cannot use anything water-based, you cannot use CO2 and you cannot use halon. The best option seems to be sand. Or again, stand clear and let it burn itself out.
 

chewy78

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Thanks for the comments. I know that when magnesium burns, it gets real hot. sand is used to cover it until it stops burning. a long while back, our fire dept had a call with a dump truck full of them, that completely burned to the ground. luckily it was near a sand and gravel pit where a giant cat pay loader was used to dump sand on it. Anyways, I didn't think a whole 20- 30 fire fighters would want to see a battery explode and burn. It was just an idea for a fire drill.
 
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