Is battery acid flammable? Batteries indeed play an important role in automobiles and even in some household electronics. However, these gentle-looking batteries are filled with toxic chemicals known as “battery acids”. In this article, you will find out if battery acid is flammable, why you need to handle it with extra care, and other noteworthy facts.
What is Battery Acid?
Battery acid is an odorless, strong, and polar liquid with high electrical conductivity. Typically, battery acid is a colorless electrolyte. However, it readily attracts impurities to form an unsightly liquid.
Battery acid’s major usage includes powering vehicles, electrical toys, household appliances, and many more. Note that the battery is the original device present in the above appliances. However, the battery acid that fills up the battery container is the primary source of power.
Lead-acid batteries contain about 4.2mol/L to 5mol/L sulphuric acid concentrate. This means lead-acid batteries are acid-rich. Battery acids are usually stored in glass or any other container that won’t react chemically with it.
Is Battery Acid Flammable?
No, battery acids are not flammable. But, they can give off flammable hydrogen gas when they come in contact with metals. Plus, they can also ignite in the presence of a bare flame, high heat, or sparks.
So battery acids are not naturally flammable. However, the above two conditions can somehow make them combustible.
Is Battery Acid Flammable Through Metal?
When battery acid is exposed to metals for a long time, the metals corrode gradually. The acid burns silently within it.
Metals react with acid to give off flammable hydrogen gas. Thus, battery acid is flammable through metal. Therefore, it is not advisable to store battery acids in a metal or steel container.
However, can battery acid indeed burn? If this question strikes you hard, then let’s have some catch in the next section.
Can Battery Acid Burn?
If you bring a naked fire close to lithium-ion batteries, you surely won’t be able to withstand the aftermath of your action. Why? It’s simple.
The acid in lithium-ion batteries is highly corrosive and flammable. Such that it readily attracts a burning blaze and explodes. The heat produced by burning battery acids is usually high. And this can cause a lot more damages than you can ever imagine.
Types of Battery Acids
There are various types of batteries, each with its specific function. Each battery contains peculiar acids based on its function.
And since batteries are used every day in almost every home, knowing the types of battery acids is vital.
Below are the two most common types of battery acids. Let’s check them out:
Alkaline battery acid.
Alkaline battery acids are found in regular household batteries. The liquid in household batteries contains a potassium hydroxide solution. So when this battery corrodes, the solution oozes out.
If this potassium hydroxide solution drop on the skin, it can cause serious chemical burns. However, burns caused by alkaline battery acids can be easily treated.
Sulfuric battery acid.
Sulfuric acid is the most widely used battery acid. It is the acid present in lead batteries—batteries that power an automobile (car). This battery-acid contains majorly concentrated sulfur.
In the health field, dilute sulfur can treat pimples and other skin inflammatory conditions. Mind you, the sulfur present in battery acid can not be used for the same purpose because they are corrosive. Corrosive sulfur is not safe to apply to the skin.
Read more: Is Baking Soda Flammable?
Health Hazards of Battery Acid.
Battery acids can expose humans to several health hazards, most especially when it comes in contact with the skin. It can cause complications and undesirable health conditions.
Some of the health hazards you are likely to face when battery acid touches your skin include:
An eye can be damaged if it comes in contact with either sulfuric or alkaline battery acid. Eye inflammation characterized by redness and tearing of the eye occurs when acid is brought near the eye.
Irritation in the respiratory tract.
Long-term exposure to sulfuric battery acid can cause tightness in the chest and seizures of breath. This results from the acid’s irritation in the respiratory system.
A drop of battery acid on the skin can burn the skin and kill it. This is known as chemical or skin burns. Its symptoms include decolorized skin, redness, and irritation.
A little splatter of alkaline battery acid on your skin can inflict redness and irritation. Once you notice any of these symptoms, you are probably suffering from contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis is not a serious skin condition. But then, it comes with a low-key discomfort. You can apply any anti-inflammatory cream to treat contact dermatitis. However, it will leave your skin eventually even if you don’t treat it.
Safety Tips to Observe While Handling Battery Acid.
Just the same way batteries have many benefits, their acid has several disadvantages. This makes it more reason you should observe the safety precautions while you handle them.
You don’t want to buy a car battery with your hard-earned money only to have it get back at you by burning your skin. Isn’t it? No one wants that.
So on that account, we have compiled some safety precautions for handling battery acid here for you. Let’s look at them:
- First, make sure you install an eye-wash stand or a safety shower in battery-charging rooms.
- Put on PPE (personal protective equipment) such as safety or splash-proof goggles, aprons, gloves, face shields, etc.
- Be cautious when disposing or replacing battery acids. A little splash on your skin can cause severe burns.
- Whenever a battery acid spill occurs, neutralize the acid with a baking soda solution (Na2CO3) instantly. Then, rinse the area with enough/running water.
- If mistakenly, you pour some acid on your skin, flush the affected area immediately with running water for about 30 minutes. Thereafter, go to a healthcare facility to get proper treatment.
- Store batteries and battery acid in a cool, dry place to kick against leakage and overheating.
By now, you’ve discovered that battery acid is not flammable. But it can ignite in the presence of high heat. This article provides all the key information you need to know about battery acid.
You can visit here to learn how to properly put out battery acids. Good luck!