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Miscellaneous: Disassembling lithium batteries

Certain types of batteries contain metallic lithium. Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries are one of them. They contain a bit less than one gram of lithium per battery (AA size). There are various ways in which these batteries can be disassembled.

disassembling lithium batteries

The fastest and the easiest way would be to use a pipe cutter, but if the mentioned isn't available, one can also use an ordinary hand saw for cutting metal. Some sort of pliers are also needed, in order to tightly hold one end of the battery. Latex gloves are also recommended, especially after the battery is opened.

disassembling lithium batteries

First a cut is made at the middle of the battery, a bit less than half a millimeter deep. That can easily be done on a flat surface by rotating the battery and cutting it at the same time. Thereby, the aim is not to completely cut the metal shell, but only to weaken it a bit.

disassembling lithium batteries

When a relatively uniform cut is made, one side of the battery is held with the pliers, and the other part is rotated either by hand, or with the help of additional pliers. If the metal shell doesn't break, it is necessary to make the cut a bit deeper. In this case, after a few more tries, the shell finally broke, which can be seen on the image above.

disassembling lithium batteries

The parts of the metal shell are taken off, and the inner part of the battery is unfolded. The lithium can be found in form of a foil, which reacts rapidly with the nitrogen and oxygen from the air, thereby forming lithium nitride and oxide. Because of that, the sample, which can be seen on the image above, already lost most of its shiny metallic appearance. As with other alkali metals, it is best to store lithium in mineral oil as well.

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