[coreboot] Free BIOS for personal computers and laptops - you will explode!

bari bari at onelabs.com
Tue Feb 12 20:46:18 CET 2008

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger wrote:
> If you control the embedded controller in charge of charging (sorry
> about the puns), you probably can fry a battery to the point where it
> starts burning. IIRC the OLPC EC code once had such problems. Then
> again, having a chipset spec will not help you at all when you try to
> mess with the EC.
That is why Li-Ion batteries have thermal protection circuitry. If they 
get too hot, the cells are open-circuited. There are several layers of 
protection in Li-Ion batteries to help protect them from ignition and 

Here are a couple of links that get into more detail:



"Lithium will ignite and burn in oxygen when exposed to water or water 
vapors. It is the only metal that reacts with nitrogen at room temperature.

Lithium metal is flammable and potentially explosive when exposed to air 
and especially water, though it is far less dangerous than other alkali 
metals in this regard. The lithium-water reaction at normal temperatures 
is brisk but not violent. Lithium fires are difficult to extinguish, 
requiring special chemicals designed to smother them."

Great Google video here alkali+metals+water:

That is why car companies trying to launch vehicles that use Li-Ion 
batteries have spent so much effort on safety, since they may use 
thousands of cells in a single vehicle.

This is another reason why lithium iron phosphate or nanophosphate based 
cells are being used in new designs since they don't explode under 
extreme conditions.

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