|Rose-Hulman Expert on Batteries on Channel 13
Department head Dr. Michael Mueller recently appeared on Indianapolis television to explain why batteries explode. Here's part of the story from Channel 13 News:
"So what causes a battery to just blow up?
Dr. Mike Mueller, chemistry department head at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, believes the problem occurs when alkaline batteries are exposed to an electrical current.
'You end up forming hydrogen gas and you're forming hydrogen gas in a sealed metal container,' Mueller explained. 'Any time you generate gas in a sealed metal container, that's called a bomb, and that's literally what happens. The pressure will build up until the casing bursts, and then the highly corrosive material will leak out and can be quite a mess.'
That's why most alkaline batteries have warnings - albeit tiny ones - telling consumers they could explode. Those warnings instruct not to insert an alkaline battery the wrong direction, expose it to high heat, or charge a non-rechargeable battery. All of those mistakes can prompt explosion."
See the full version of Dr. Mueller's talk on the web at Channel 13.