There have been multiple instances over the past year where consumer electronics have randomly burst into flames. For example, a pair of headphones caught fire on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne. The passenger suffered burns to her face. Last month, two children died in house fires sparked by hoverboards. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from being taken aboard aircraft over fears they could spark fires. What do these stories have in common? All of the products responsible for these injuries or fires use lithium-ion batteries. The lithium-ion battery explosions we listed above occurred because of manufacturing defects.
These batteries use negative and positive electrodes (anodes and cathodes) to help generate power. However, these parts can never touch. A separator keeps the negative and positive electrodes apart. In some cases, the separator has flaws that cause the two parts to touch. This leads to a thermal runaway effect, which causes the battery to hit temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter than the surface of Venus.
What Can Happen to People Injured by Lithium-Ion Battery Explosions?
People injured by lithium-ion batteries have suffered third-degree burns. An iPhone 6 recently exploded in a man’s pocket, leaving him with a severe burn injury on his right thigh. He had to undergo skin grafts to repair the damage. Another man sued Samsung after a Galaxy Edge 7 left him with third-degree burns. The temperature from the exploding phone was so hot that it fused his pants and underwear to his leg.
Thermal runaway effects can happen at any time. When companies cut corners to save on production costs, innocent people pay the price. Third-degree burns may cause disfigurement or other health complications. Some people with these burns may require extensive rehabilitation. Those who have suffered injuries from these products deserve justice.