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SmartphonesTech

Why Do Cell Phones Explode?

By January 18, 2017 No Comments

The internet was recently abuzz with news of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 batteries exploding or catching fire, especially on planes or while charging. Naturally, this has been a cause of great concern among phone owners, who are wondering how cell phones can explode and why phones catch fire in the first place.

The first thing to know is that, even among defective phones like the Galaxy Note 7, phone explosions are extremely rare. However, they do happen, and if you’ve got one in your pocket when it does, the statistics don’t really matter. Here’s what you need to understand about exploding cell phone batteries.

Why Do Cell Phones Explode While Charging?

Do cell phones explode while charging? Well, they can, and this is actually the most common situation in which you may have a combustion event within your phone. When your cell phone is charging, energy is pouring into the battery, which is the part of the phone that could actually explode. That energy generates heat — a lot of it.

Manufacturers of phones and Lithium-ion batteries walk a delicate tight rope between giving you the most power and the fastest charge possible, and preventing that surge of energy from overheating the battery and causing it to explode.

One issue is the battery management system. Your phone is programmed to stop attempting to charge the phone once the battery is full. If that system fails and you keep your phone plugged in, the battery may simply keep absorbing energy until it overloads.

What Happened With the Samsung Note 7?

In the case of the Samsung Note 7, evidence suggests that the problem was with the construction of the battery. There is a thin layer of plastic separating the positive and negative sides of the battery. Because that layer was not strong enough, in some cases it was punctured, allowing the positive and negative poles to come into contact.

If you’ve ever tried to boost a car engine and accidentally connected the positive terminal on one engine to the negative terminal on another, you’ve seen the result — a short circuit and an explosion. All Samsung Note 7s have been recalled and the product line cancelled, but you can bet that future Samsung phones will all have much stronger insulation tape protecting the positive and negative contacts.

Other Risk Factors to Consider

The main thing to think about is heat. Unlike your computer, a phone does not have an internal cooling fan to dissipate heat. It must simply discharge excess heat into the atmosphere. Therefore, storing your phone for long periods of time in enclosed spaces where heat may become trapped is not recommended, especially when charging.

It is also a good idea to disconnect the phone from the charger not only when using the phone, but when it has a 100 percent charge, just to avoid any unnecessary power surges. Again, phone explosions are quite rare, but it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.

Newer phones with newer batteries may also be safer, providing they are not built with a factory defect like the Samsung Note 7. If you’re in the market for a new phone and want to unload your old one for cash fast, you can make a quick, easy sale at The Whiz Cells online right now.