# Battery Exploding

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I know that if you get a paperclip and put one end of the paperclip on one end of a AA battery and connect the other ends, too, the paperclip and battery turn extremely hot. But, if you tape the ends of the paperclip to the ends of the batter and leave it be for a while, will it build up enough resistance to actually explode?

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I know that if you get a paperclip and put one end of the paperclip on one end of a AA battery and connect the other ends, too, the paperclip and battery turn extremely hot. But, if you tape the ends of the paperclip to the ends of the batter and leave it be for a while, will it build up enough resistance to actually explode?

I'd guess that the paperclip would melt and create an open before that happens.

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I'd guess that the paperclip would melt and create an open before that happens.

my guess is that the battery will run out before that happens .

hmmm, to know you have to compare the battery's energy to the energy needed to take the paper clip from solid to liquid state[refer to phase diagram?]... and i'd estimate the latter to be more.

also, i think you can't neglect the cooling of the paper clip, or it's thermal conductivity. a material can have a low melting point but transfers heat to air quickly.

as for batteries exploding, i'd imagine it's because the material of the battery decomposes into gases in the batteries sealed package, builds pressure, boom. which is i think why you're not supposed to dispose of it in a fire[speculation].

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if you tape the ends of the paperclip to the ends of the batter and leave it be for a while, will it build up enough resistance to actually explode?

First of all, a buildup of resistance would make it less likely to heat up and explode, but that in itself is no guarantee. I also wouldn't want to be anywhere around this experiment because you're actually talking about a "short circuit". I quote Wikipedia:

A common type of short circuit occurs when the positive and negative terminals of a battery are connected together with a low-resistance conductor, like a wire. With low resistance in the connection, a high current exists, causing the cell to deliver a large amount of energy in a short time. A large current through a battery can cause the rapid buildup of heat, potentially resulting in an explosion or the release of hydrogen gas and electrolyte (an acid or a base), which can burn tissue, cause blindness or even death.

Basically, don't do it!

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my guess is that the battery will run out before that happens .

hmmm, to know you have to compare the battery's energy to the energy needed to take the paper clip from solid to liquid state[refer to phase diagram?]... and i'd estimate the latter to be more.

If you've ever bent a paperclip back and forth, you'd notice it doesn't have to get terribly hot to melt enough to make an open.
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my guess is that the battery will run out before that happens .

hmmm, to know you have to compare the battery's energy to the energy needed to take the paper clip from solid to liquid state[refer to phase diagram?]... and i'd estimate the latter to be more.

also, i think you can't neglect the cooling of the paper clip, or it's thermal conductivity. a material can have a low melting point but transfers heat to air quickly.

as for batteries exploding, i'd imagine it's because the material of the battery decomposes into gases in the batteries sealed package, builds pressure, boom. which is i think why you're not supposed to dispose of it in a fire[speculation].

You only need to heat up a very tiny part of the wire to a high temperature. It's possible to do it. Any light bulb can show you that you can heat a wire to extreme temperatures using a battery. The wire in the light bulb would burn through if it wasn't encased in a glass bulb with an inert gas in it.

As was pointed out above, the battery can also break open/explode... and the materials inside are very nasty and in contact with your skin can hurt you a lot. If you get it in your eyes, you're risking blindness. Doing it outside is not much better. The materials are also toxic... There's a good reason why batteries aren't considered general waste, and should never be thrown away with the normal garbage.

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If you've ever bent a paperclip back and forth, you'd notice it doesn't have to get terribly hot to melt enough to make an open.

Actually the paperclip doesn't melt under these circumstances. The wire fractures because of low-cycle fatigue. It will probably get hot particularly if the bending back and forth is rapid enough - but not melt.

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• 2 weeks later...

I've always thought this exact same thing when my mother put some batteries in a drawer with paper clips . What will happen ? I once observed 2 AA batteries in series shortcircuited with copper wire . After a couple of minutes the heat built up and a battery burst which of course could be described as a low pressure explosion , I suppose .

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• 3 months later...

First of all, a buildup of resistance would make it less likely to heat up and explode, but that in itself is no guarantee. I also wouldn't want to be anywhere around this experiment because you're actually talking about a "short circuit". I quote Wikipedia:

Basically, don't do it!

Yeah, wasn't planning on it.

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