Questions for ‘Batteries should not burst into flames’

Questions for ‘Batteries should not burst into flames’

remnants of an exploded phone

Overheating caused the battery in this cellphone to explode and burn.

Ivan Marjanovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

To accompany feature “Batteries should not burst into flames”


Before Reading:

1.  What is a battery? What purpose does it hold? How many items that use batteries can you name?

2.  What is lithium? (Hint: You can find it on a periodic table.)

During Reading:

1.  About how many lithium-ion batteries fail each year?

2.  Name three places where you can find lithium-ion batteries, according to the story.

3.  Why is lithium so attractive to battery-makers?

4.  What is the difference between a battery’s anode and cathode?

5.  What are two ways that a battery can overheat?

6.  Why is a lithium-ion battery flammable?

7.  What is a downside of using graphite for the anode in a battery?

8.  What are “dendrites” in the context of batteries?

9.  What is an advantage of Spencer Langevin’s electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries?

10.  Why isn’t Spencer Langevin’s battery ready to be used in devices yet?

After Reading:

1.  Lithium-ion batteries can overheat and explode, but they are used in many, many common devices. Why is that? Use evidence from the story in your answer.

2.  The story says that a typical iPhone battery can last about 750 cycles of charging and discharging. If the battery loses its charge after 2 days of typical use, how long (in years, months and days) will an iPhone battery in prime condition operate?