Source: National Science Olympiad
In an effort to ensure that all participants involved in Science Olympiad have a safe, positive experience we have been examining the role that batteries, specifically lithium-containing batteries, play in our events. These batteries provide certain advantages; however, we would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge the engineering, safety, and cost challenges that go hand in hand with them. While delivering high levels of electrical energy, lithium-containing batteries also generate high levels of heat, especially if a short circuit occurs. Furthermore, their chemical composition is susceptible to fire if the battery is damaged, poorly designed, or incorrectly assembled. After a review of incidents from a number of tournaments as well as an examination of available information, we have decided to prohibit the use of lithium-containing batteries in all events for the 2017-2018 Tournament season.
This restriction does not solve every battery safety issue that can occur during competition. All Science Olympiad participants, coaches, and mentors are reminded that serious accidents can occur when care is not taken using any battery. As you work with batteries this year please make sure to follow these best practice guidelines:
- when storing your device make sure to disconnect the battery;
- insulate the battery terminals and attached wires when not connected;
- do not use bare wire at any time in the construction of your device;
- make sure that all wiring connections are properly insulated; and,
- monitor recharging of batteries to ensure they are not being overcharged.