The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smart phone is exploding onto the market – literally. More than two dozen reports of explosions and fires caused by faulty batteries have forced Samsung to issue a global recall for the phones.
Last week, a St. Petersburg, Florida resident left his Galaxy Note 7 charging in the car while he was moving furniture from a garage sale into his house. Instead of coming back to a charged phone, the man returned to a giant fireball that was once his vehicle.
It is horrifying to imagine what could have happened if the Florida man had left a child or pet in the car for the several minutes it took to move his furniture.
Why Are Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Batteries Exploding?
Samsung has claimed that 1 in 42,000 units may have the battery defect. That means if you own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, there is a 1 in 42,000 chance your phone could spontaneously combust. Most of the reports involve phones that were charging.
According to Samsung, two parts of the battery that are not supposed to touch can come into contact and cause a thermal runaway effect. A thermal runaway effect is where batteries undergo uncontrollable overheating.
Lithium-ion battery manufacturers use separators to prevent these two parts (the cathode and anode) from touching. When separators are flawed, batteries can redirect energy to the center instead of the sides. It is possible that some Galaxy Note 7 batteries have this defect.
Thermal runaways cause explosions in other consumer products that use lithium-ion batteries. In some cases, people are seriously injured.