What happens during thermal runaway – and how can it be prevented?

A significant concern in the electric vehicle (EV) industry is the problem of thermal runaway in batteries. The high dangers and costs related to this chemical reaction has caused EV manufacturers to prioritize effective prevention. What happens during the hazardous process, and how can it be prevented to increase EV battery safety?


Electric vehicle charging at night


What causes thermal runaway?

The use of lithium-ion batteries in EVs carries the risk of thermal runaway. This a dangerous chain reaction, initiated by one battery cell overheating uncontrollably and igniting. It is typically a consequence of cell abuse, e.g. through a crash or charging failure. Eventually, the cells’ separator structure collapses, and heat spreads to adjacent cells, leading to battery ignition or even explosion.


What can be done to prevent and mitigate the process?

Once the process of thermal runaway starts, it is extremely unlikely that it will stop on its own. Today’s EV manufacturers are exploring various approaches to prevent and mitigate this reaction. One approach is EV battery maintenance, including adjusting charging voltage and replacing old batteries to avoid failures.


Another approach is to incorporate prevention into the batteries right from the start, thus reducing the need for extensive maintenance. Materials with excellent insulating properties, such as Quartzene®, can be used for this purpose. Products enhanced with Quartzene® aerogel powder can be used as gap fillers cell-to-cell or on module and pack level for insulation. They can effectively slow down the progression of thermal runaway and increase EV battery safety.


Are you an EV manufacturer looking to enhance your battery solutions with Quartzene®? The material can be incorporated in various barrier systems, resulting in improved thermal insulation, flame behavior, and reduced weight. Contact Svenska Aerogel here or at for details and recommendations on how it can boost the performance of your product.