By Kelli Bailey
BANGOR, Maine – In October of 2016, Samsung stopped all productions of the Galaxy Note 7, due to a problem causing the device to explode. They were forced to recall 2.5 million phones due to this problem. Understandably so, no one wants a phone that they have to worry about exploding while in their pocket.
Samsung is one of the leading phone manufacturers in the market, in part because of the successful Galaxy family. You could only imagine how much of a Public Relations nightmare it must have been when the phones suddenly started exploding.
There were many rumors about why this was happening, was it just over-heating, or is a lithium ion battery unsafe? CNet, an online news service, provided a little insight as to why lithium ion batteries are known to catch fire, in an article written on October 10th, 2016 by Sean Hollister.
“The science behind phone battery fires is actually pretty simple, and fairly well understood. Much like the infamous exploding hoverboards, phones use lithium ion battery packs for their power, and it just so happens that the liquid swimming around inside most lithium ion batteries is highly flammable, If the battery short-circuits — say, by puncturing the incredibly thin sheet of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery — the puncture point becomes the path of least resistance for electricity to flow.It heats up the (flammable!) liquid electrolyte at that spot. And if the liquid heats up quickly enough, the battery can explode” Hollister explains.
You may wonder why it was just the Galaxy Note 7 that had the defect, and not all the other phones that were made with the same technology. Hollister had an interview with a representative from Samsung who explains the science behind the phone, and why this design in particular didn’t work, “The defect was revealed when several contributing factors happened simultaneously, which included sub-optimized assembly process that created variations of tension and exposed electrodes due to insufficient insulation tape.”
What is the most frightening part of this whole experience is, most phones today are made with lithium ion batteries. No one thought to mention to the public that they are carry around a flammable liquid in their pockets, purses and letting children play with it. They are not just in phones either. Lithium Ion batteries can also be found laptops, car chargers, car batteries, and the list goes on. Do your research on lithium ion, and what possible side effects, like catching on fire, it can cause.