Characterization of Li-ion batteries for safety and health protection

  • Alessandro Bacaloni Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”
  • Susanna Insogna
  • Cinzia Di Bari ENEA Casaccia, Laboratorio DTE-PCU-STMA, Roma
  • Natascia Andrenacci ENEA Casaccia, Laboratorio DTE-PCU-STMA, Roma
  • Michele Mazzaro Ufficio Prevenzione Incendi e Rischio Industriale, Vigili del Fuoco, Roma
  • Maria Assunta Navarra Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”


Lithium-ion batteries are the power source of choice for a variety of applications, such as portable electronic devices, stationary systems, and electromobility, as they offer high power and energy density. The widespread use of products containing Li-ion batteries implies that potential safety, health, and environmental hazards should be carefully identified.
Therefore, the present work addressed problems related to the safety and the chemical risks connected to use or abuse of Li-ion batteries for electromobility, both for occasionally and professionally exposed. The main chemical-physical changes caused by thermal abuse (accident or destruction) of Li-ion batteries were identified and characterized. The main structural and composition modifications caused by aging, without abuse or traumatic stress, were investigated.
Consequently, useful information for risk mitigation strategies, both preventive and protective, can be obtained. The knowledge of the chemical composition of Li-ion battery airborne fumes and solid residues originated from abuse tests, is essential for emergency interventions, reclamation of the areas affected by an accident, industrial hygiene evaluations for professionally exposed, environmental exposure assessments for population and electric vehicles users. The knowledge of the chemical-physical changes due to cell aging process is crucial for the management of lithium-ion batteries during their useful life and when they reach the end of life, and for the risk assessment for operators in disposal and recovery activities.
In this paper, the results of the analyses carried out on EiG-C020 cells subjected to accelerated aging tests and on residues from flame exposure tests of charged and virgin EiG-C020 cells are presented. On a cell that showed swelling, it was possible to carry out the first sampling of aeriform substances that may be produced in abuse conditions.