Can Battery Corrosion Ruin Electronics?

December 3, 2019 11:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There are some types of batteries that can leak fluids, which, depending on where they’re located, could potentially damage some extremely important equipment, particularly when electronic equipment is concerned. Alkaline batteries have some chemicals that can deteriorate over time, which can cause them to seep through the battery casing. For this reason, it’s important to periodically check all of your electronic equipment and replace batteries that are not rechargeable and seem to be aged or in poor condition.

The effects of battery corrosion on electronics in Houston, TX

Batteries operate through the use of chemical reactions involving common corrosive materials like potassium hydroxide and sulfuric acid. These chemicals also react with the metal case of the battery, resulting in it breaking down slowly and creating holes through which the materials will leak. Once the chemicals have eaten through the case, they can then begin to drip into electronics.

Factors such as age, heat, poor battery quality, deep discharge and various attempts to recharge non-rechargeable battery cells can all result in leakage. If the leaked chemicals come into contact with sensitive metal components and remain there for a few days, this can irreparably damage the electronic device in question.

Different types of batteries have different factors for consideration:

  • Alkaline batteries: These batteries contain a potassium hydroxide paste in a zinc case. When the battery is connected to a circuit, the ions developed between the zinc and the paste create an electric current. However, eventually the zinc will deteriorate and the potassium hydroxide will leak out, which, when contacting metal battery terminals, will create corrosion and cut off electricity to the device. Long-term contact will destroy the terminals, but cleaning the corrosion as soon as possible can repair the damage.
  • Sealed lead-acid batteries: Emergency lighting and uninterruptible power supplies are a couple examples of products that run on sealed lead-acid batteries. These batteries contain sulfuric acid, and will not leak under normal conditions. However, accidental damage or emergency situations can result in piercing of the outer casing, and reverse charging could cause the battery to burst. Make sure you wear the proper safety gear to clean up any leakage of sulfuric acid.
  • Lithium-ion: Many of today’s common mobile devices use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They have a reversible chemistry that allows them to be recharged. The chemicals can leak out, though this is less likely than it is in non-rechargeable batteries. If the chemicals do happen to leak, they are less likely to react with metal electronic components than the caustic chemicals in other types of batteries.
  • Carbon zinc: Carbon zinc batteries are frequently used for low-power devices. They have a similar design and chemistry as alkaline batteries, but with an ammonium chloride paste and zinc chloride. The paste can wear down the zinc jacket of the battery, resulting in the chemical leaking out and potentially ruining metal components if left unaddressed.

For more information about the potential effects of battery corrosion on electronics in Houston, TX, we encourage you to contact the team at Texford Battery Co. today.

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