Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM batteries have been developed to increase the safety feature of the battery. The conventional lead-acid batteries were highly dangerous. Those were not sustainable and had a negative impact on the environment. Besides, the conventional batteries were very sensitive to getting leaked after a long service.
But How safe are AGM batteries? One of the primary objectives of AGM batteries is to enhance the safety protocol. The sealed battery compartment and the absorbed electrolyte make the AGM battery a lot safer than others. The construction of the battery with a flat lid and no requirement of refilling the battery from time to time prolongs the safety feature.
Possible Risks of AGM Batteries
No device can be made 100% effective and risk-free. Like most other energy-developing devices the AGM batteries also have some potential risks. But treating the risks with a good diagnosis will help minimize the risks.
Degradation of battery due to overcharging
AGM batteries are highly sensitive to overcharging. The plates and the electrolyte absorbing AGM separators remain closely packed with each other. Besides, there is no free liquid form of electrolytes in the AGM batteries.
As a result, the battery is charged at high voltage and creates a lot of free electron movement which has no place to flow. Thus the power generating capacity of the battery falls immediately. Moreover, overcharging AGM batteries can cause explosions as well.
- Due to overcharging the free Hydrogen gas from the Sulphuric acid emerges in higher quantities.
- Though the maximum amount of Hydrogen gasses are retained as water is reacted with the oxygen of the atmosphere. But, extra Hydrogen gas builds pressure inside the battery.
- The hydrogen gasses are highly flammable and sensitive to temperature. Therefore, a simple electrical spark around the battery can trigger the accumulated Hydrogen to burst out in flames.
- The Chamber of the battery cannot sustain the emerging pressure and explodes furiously. The metal shrapnel from the electrodes and plastic debris may cause serious damage to the surrounding area.
- That is why it is not recommended to use conventional dumb battery chargers to charge the AGM batteries. You must keep track of the voltage and state of the charge all the time while charging at higher amps.
The danger of Overheating and raised Temperature
All sorts of batteries are sensitive to temperature. The effectiveness of the AGM batteries degrades with the falling of temperature. But, in the high temperature, the battery has the potential of causing massive damage by the explosion.
AGM batteries are also a sort of lead-acid battery. Because it works on a similar electrochemical principle. The electrons flow to and from the electrodes through the electrolytes. Recharging the battery causes an opposite reaction.
Now the electrolyte used is mainly Sulphuric Acid. It remains in diluted condition. Therefore, while recharging the battery, Hydrogen gas is evolved in small amounts. This gas is highly explosive. Now if the charging process is carried in a closed and compact place, there will be no space for the Hydrogen gas to escape. It slowly builds up the heat.
The environmental temperature also helps in this procedure. The battery is a power-developing device. An electronic spark on the electrode plates is a common phenomenon. But in high temperatures, the sparking triggers the Hydrogen gas to cause a massive explosion in the battery. Besides AGM batteries being completely sealed, the impact happens extremely.
What can you do to ensure the safety of the AGM battery?
AGM batteries are one of the safest batteries ever made. Its constructions themselves ensure maximum security for the battery and the surroundings as well. What some external impacts can cause trouble with the safety of the battery. To avoid those and ensure maximum safety for the battery, you can follow some actions.
Keep the Charging area ventilated
Charging an AGM battery is very sensitive work. It should be performed in a very well-ventilated area. If you are using the smart chargers to charge the battery taking power from the wall socket. Then the entire battery should be pulled off from the hood of the vehicle and kept in someplace where the air is regulated completely.
- Make sure the atmosphere is cooled.
- The charging area should have sufficient and constant airflow
- No electronic or flammable items should be nearby the battery or the charger
- Smoking should be strictly prohibited
- You must keep an eye on the temperature of the atmosphere. It should not be allowed to rise crossing the limiting barrier.
Using Compatible Charger
One of the major issues with the AGM batteries is the charging process. It is quite tricky and harder than charging the other batteries. Because GAM batteries are very sensitive to overcharging. Therefore you must get an automated smart battery charger that is specific for charging the AGM battery.
- The old, normal, or conventional battery charger should not be used to charge the AGM batteries. Because it can push overvoltage to the battery. The higher voltage causes damage and the creation of free ions in the electrolyte of the battery which may cause accidents.
- Only an AGM battery-specific Battery charger needs to be used. You can select the perfect charging profile in these chargers. Besides you can select the input of amperage for the AGM battery. This will help you specify the slow or quick charging of the battery.
Handling and Battery Safely
All sorts of batteries should be handled in a very safe manner. The AGM batteries are not exceptional. Since it is a sealed battery, it should be moved and placed carefully. Any side of heavy external impact can damage the battery casing.
In AGM batteries, the internal gaseous pressure plays an important role while charging and discharging. This is completely regulated by an automated valve. If for some reason the battery casing gets a leak then the pressure inside the body will show an anomaly.
Moreover, pressure fluctuation inside an AGM battery can even cause severe explosive accidents. It is mainly because of the amount of HYdrogen gas building up inside the battery. ANd, Hydrogen gas is extremely light and flammable. A slight change in the atmospheric pressure, spark fluctuation can trigger it to cause a dangerous explosion.
Installing the Battery Safely
The installation of an AGM battery is a very crucial event. You have to make sure the surroundings of the installation area are friendly to the battery. Over-temperature can be fatal for an AGM battery. It degrades battery health. Moreover, temperature increases more than 70 degrees Celcius can cause massive accidents as well.
The AGM battery is a self-ventilated and valved battery. The rise in the temperature increases the mobility of the gas accumulated inside the battery. As a result, the collision at a molecular level increases rapidly. And, since Hydrogen gasses are highly sensitive it easily catches fire. That is why for installing the AGM battery safely following parameters should be maintained.
- The installation area should be kept clean.
- It is mandatory to keep the area very well-ventilated.
- It is better to install an AGM battery in an atmosphere with minimal moisture levels.
- Consistent air regulation is mandatory to and from the battery place.
- Atmospheric pressure should not fluctuate more.
- No flammable activity should be done near the battery.
- Metallic objects nearby the battery need to be avoided.
- The terminals have to connect with the connecting cables very tightly.
- The protective parameter should be taken so that the battery terminals avoid shorting.
- Install the battery in a very stable position.
Safety while doing reverse sulfation and recharging the Battery
All lead-acid batteries have to face sulfation. Though the rate is negligible in AGM batteries, sulfation still takes place. The accumulation of the Lead-sulfate precipitate on the Lead plates reduces the effectiveness of the electrodes. The cation and anion from the electrolytes combine to form sulfation.
Immediate desulfation is required to prevent your battery from being deeply discharged. For doing the desulfation process, a smart battery charger is used with the desulfation method. This process should be carried out carefully and given more time.
Besides, you have to make sure that the battery does not receive over-voltage. Because a spike in the voltage input can damage the battery. To equalize the battery, you have to recharge it on a regular basis. The amp rating has to be kept under 2 to 10 amps unless you want to kick start the battery. And, the recharging area should have consistent airflow to keep the balance of the atmos[heric pressure.
Case studies of AGM battery safety incidents
In recent years, there have been incidents where AGM batteries have caused harm or property damage due to safety risks. Two notable incidents are the 2011 explosion at the Honolulu International Airport and the 2017 fire at a recycling facility in Georgia.
Honolulu International Airport incident
A backup power system containing AGM batteries exploded, causing significant damage to the building. Investigation revealed that the batteries were likely overcharged, which led to thermal runaway and eventually caused the explosion. This incident highlights the importance of following proper charging procedures when working with AGM batteries to prevent overcharging.
2017 incident at the recycling facility
An AGM battery exploded, causing a fire that spread to nearby equipment and caused significant damage. Investigation revealed that the battery was likely damaged during the recycling process, which caused a short circuit and led to the explosion. This incident highlights the importance of handling AGM batteries carefully to prevent physical damage that can lead to safety risks.
These incidents demonstrate that while AGM batteries are generally safe, they still pose potential safety risks if not properly maintained or handled. It is important to follow proper safety procedures when working with AGM batteries to ensure safe operation and prevent accidents.
Which one is safer- AGM or Lead-acid battery?
Comparing the construction, working principle, and integrated safety measures, the AGM battery is considered to be safer. Flooded wet cell batteries use the liquid form of electrolytes which dilute Sulphuric ACId. This electrolyte itself is dangerous to handle. Besides, it is possible to create free ions in the liquid electrolytes.
You have to regularly flood the cell chambers of the lead-acid battery with a distilled battery to keep the balance of free electrons. Therefore there remains cell openings on top of the lid of the Lead-acid batteries. This makes the lead-acid batteries unsealed and unsafe. Because spilling and leakage are regular phenomena in cases of lead-acid batteries.
On the contrary, AGM batteries are completely maintenance-free. Because the battery container is completely sealed shut. The cells are made using the thin plates and AGM separators being compressed and packed. Moreover, the AGM separator absorbs the electrolyte and so there remains no liquid form of the electrolyte. As a result, AGM batteries are spill-proof and vibration-proof.
Which one is safer – AGM battery vs standard?
By standard battery, we mean the second generation of wet cell batteries. It is also a lead-acid-based battery with a similar principle. The only difference lies in the electrodes used in the battery. Mostly, lead alloys are used as cathodes and anodes.
These batteries are not spillproof, or vibration resistive. You cannot find any safety valve as well. Whereas in the AGM batteries, there is a safety valve that regulates the flow of inbuilt gas and vents them to the atmosphere. Therefore, the verdict can be such that the AGM battery is safer to use and handle than the standard battery.
Are you want know uses of AGM Battery? Yes, then you can check What Is AGM Battery Used for.
Frequently Asked Question for AGM Battery Safety
This section enlightens the basic and commonly asked questions regarding the safety of an AGM battery.
Will the AGM battery explode?
AGM batteries are highly unlikely to explode. Because the battery is completely sealed with a safety valve. This valve prevents the increment of pressure and helps in venting the gas to the atmosphere while charging. But, overcharging an AGM battery or temperature fluctuation may also cause the battery to explode.
Are AGM batteries safer than lead-acid?
AGM batteries are much safer than lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries use liquid electrolytes and require regular refilling with distilled water. Therefore, spilling and leakage happen frequently. whereas, AGM batteries are completely spillproof and vibration resistant.
Do AGM batteries ever leak?
AGM batteries never leak for several reasons. The AGM battery is developed in such a way that the electrolyte is retained in an absorbed form. Besides, the battery chamber is sealed shut. There is no way the electrolyte may leak from the AGM battery.
Does an AGM battery need to be vented?
Like all other batteries, AGM batteries require venting. Especially overcharging the battery at high voltage causes higher evolution of Hydrogen gas inside the chamber. This gas requires it to be vented in the atmosphere before accidents take place.
Batteries are highly sensitive devices. These are used to develop power at the time of emergency. AGM batteries produce a high amount of power. Therefore, it should be even safer than other forms of battery. It is because the battery is directly connected to the vehicle. Slight damage and misinterpretation can cause massive damage.
In such cases, the battery’s built-in safety programs play a vital role. The automated safety valve in AGM batteries regulates the internal gaseous pressure of the battery. Before you get an AGM battery, you should know How safe it is AGM batteries.
It is important because the task you shall give the battery may have some dangers. And that requires being covered by the safety measures of the battery.