Quest : Metal-ion Batteries : Validating data with simple household items

An experiment to test if Lithium-Ion batteries work at temperatures up to 60°C

Project Lab

Florian Lienert

Date: 05 July 2020 04:53

(I am not sure if this fits under ideas, but I wasn't sure where else to post it)

Testing data on Lithium-Ion batteries at home

So, I wanted to try another idea I had and also validate the information given on the “data” tab of the metal-ion quest.

I wanted to examine whether Lithium-Ion batteries work at up to 60°C (“Operating discharge temperature (℃) = -20 to 60”).

For this, I plugged two Lithium-Ion batteries into a cat toy laser pointer, then heated them to the desired temperature to see if they’d still work. However, there were some complications in my way:

I didn’t have a suitable thermometer at home, so how would I know the temperature?

I took the formula Q/t = (k*A(T2-T1))/d, where Q/t is the rate of heat transfer, k is the thermal conductivity of the object, A is the surface area in contact, T1,2 are the temperatures of the two objects and d the thickness of the object. I then measured my objects and filled in the missing data with approximations from online; I could then calculate the heat transfer, multiply by seconds and convert energy to temperature to find the temperature of the object.

I heated the batteries for 15 seconds with a lighter, put them back in and they still worked!

So, I did the calculations to find the temperatures and then realized my approximations and measurements were a mess, I wasn’t very familiar with thermodynamics… and decided to ditch it all together and buy a thermometer.

Anyway, I finally heated up my batteries again and measured 60°C and it still worked. So, I basically completely overcomplicated things in the beginning. However, I have to say 60°C were just the surface temperature and obviously my experimental setup wasn’t very professional, so my results don’t mean much. I also decided not to go over 60°C because the plastic was melting.

All in all, I can confirm one measurement of the data section to some degree (of course I know that my results count for nothing) and it was a neat experiment. This obviously isn’t anything groundbreaking but still I had some fun doing it and just think the Humanitrack community should try more experiments themselves even if they don’t "achieve" anything!


Parental supervision is advised when children are conducting experiments, always have a fire extinguisher and water at the ready, burned plastic and batteries are also not to be toyed with.

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