The United States is currently in the midst of a nationwide epidemic. Each year, there are over 3 million reported incidents of consumer product explosions, with injuries and property damage often leading to fatalities. Although manufacturers have taken steps to reduce these tragedies by changing their manufacturing process from using liquid explosives like nitroglycerin into more stable substances such as TATP or PETN, at present this trend has been largely unsuccessful.
The “why do iphones explode” is a question that many people ask. This article will answer the question and also explain why electronics keep exploding.
Lithium-ion batteries power almost all of our rechargeable electronic devices—the same batteries that cause e-cigarettes to explode and hoverboards to catch fire.
Manufacturers continue to depend on these volatile power sources because of their unmatched energy density—more than double that of home alkaline or NiCD rechargeable batteries. However, the casualties and property damage caused by lithium-ion battery explosions raise significant concerns about what firms are doing to make their products as safe as possible.
What are Lithium-Ion Batteries and How Do They Work?
Since the 1970s, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have been used. However, as demand for thinner gadgets with longer-lasting batteries grows, they have grown more hazardous, not less.
Positively charged cathodes, negatively charged anodes, a highly flammable liquid electrolyte, and a thin film of polypropylene that separates the cathodes from the anodes are the four essential components of Li-ion batteries.
Electricity flows from the cathodes to the anodes via the porous polypropylene separator and the liquid electrolyte while a lithium-ion battery is charging. When a device discharges, the process is reversed.
What Causes Lithium-Ion Batteries to Detonate?
“These aren’t the batteries you used when you were a kid.”
Lithium-ion battery problems begin when the opposing electrodes, the cathodes and anodes, come into contact. The battery separator, a thin layer of polypropylene, is designed to prevent this from occurring, but as gadgets become smaller and batteries get stronger, it’s becoming more difficult.
The battery may short circuit if the cathodes and anodes come into contact, resulting in thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is a chemical chain reaction that causes battery chemicals to rapidly heat up, reaching temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit in extreme cases. The flammable liquid electrolyte is likely to combust at such temperatures and under the tremendous pressure that comes with them.
But, first and foremost, what causes the battery to short circuit? The following are some of the most prevalent causes:
- Manufacturing flaws: If the batteries are constructed with insufficient insulation or ventilation, they may be subject to short circuiting. Jagged battery edges punctured the vital separator, and batteries with insufficient space between the separator and the electrodes have also been recorded as manufacturing faults.
- Long-term wear and tear: Dropping your phone too many times might cause the battery to bloat up and put pressure on the battery chemistry.
- Chargers with poor construction: Chargers with poor construction may occasionally overcharge batteries, causing them to overheat and short circuit.
Mike Morgan, managing partner of Morgan & Morgan’s Product Safety Group, says, “These aren’t the batteries you grew up with—they’re not like alkaline batteries.” “They shouldn’t be sold untrained to the general public.” Instead, they should be offered as “caught batteries,” which are safer to use since they are safeguarded. To securely use these gadgets, you shouldn’t need an electrical engineering degree.”
Regardless of electrical engineering degrees, these batteries are everywhere and in everything.
What Electronic Devices Are At Risk of Overheating?
Lithium-ion batteries are not just more sophisticated than alkaline batteries in terms of construction; they are also more prone to overheat and explode than regular home batteries.
It makes no difference how big or little the battery is, what gadget it’s powering, or who makes the product. These batteries may explode at any time and in any place, whether they’re charged, in use, or even dormant.
Remote controls, wireless ear buds, children’s toys, and even baby monitors have all caught fire without warning. The most noteworthy lithium-ion battery explosions and recalls are listed here.
Due to overheated li-ion batteries, laptops were among the first electronic gadgets to catch fire. Dell recalled about four million computers in 2006. Overheating computers, on the other hand, are far from being a thing of the past for the firm. In 2017, a webcam showed a teen’s Dell laptop bursting into flames in his living room while charging.
Dell isn’t the only firm experiencing issues with its laptop batteries. HP recalled 50,000 laptops in January 2018 due to their proclivity for overheating. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had received eight complaints of batteries overheating, melting, or charring, resulting in property damage and first-degree burns before the recall was published.
“When the batteries are unstable, they have the explosive power of a roman-candle grenade.”
Because they are used so near to the face and mouth, e-cigarettes, also known as vape pens, may inflict severe injuries if they burst.
In 2016, the li-ion battery in former professional soccer player Danny Califf’s vape pen burst in his face, shattering his cheek. As a consequence, he sustained a shattered cheekbone and a concussion.
Other vape pen explosions have torn holes in people’s lips, blinded eyes, burned people in the second and third degrees, and even set automobiles on fire. The FDA received 134 complaints of vape flames and explosions between 2009 and January 2016.
“When the batteries are unstable, they have the power of a roman-candle grenade,” Mike Morgan stated. “When you place a battery in a steel tube like a vaporizer, the pressure rises up to the point where you have a pipe bomb.” You’re putting stuff in your mouth and pocket and carrying it about with you every day.”
It didn’t take long for this must-have Christmas present to become one of the most deadly toys on the market.
Hoverboards use strong lithium-ion batteries, which may be deadly when they burst. After a series of flames and explosions, more than half a million hoverboards were recalled in 2016.
These self-balancing scooters have caught fire while charging, riding, and even while not in use.
When a charging Fit Turbo hoverboard detonated, it tragically destroyed a family’s house in Louisiana. Their teenage daughter had to leap out of a second-floor window to escape the fire because it spread so swiftly.
The CPSC received 99 complaints of hoverboards “overheating, sparking, burning, catching fire, and/or exploding,” according to the agency. Property damage totaled more than $2 million as a consequence of these accidents.
Galaxy Phones from Samsung
Samsung phones were so prone to bursting on aircraft that they were finally banned. The phones didn’t have enough space between the separator and the electrodes on the battery, leading the cathodes and anodes to come into contact. The Note 7 was later recalled by Samsung. There were 92 Galaxy Note fires, 26 burns, and 55 property damage incidents in total.
However, it was evident quickly after the initial Note 7s burst that the fault was also affecting other Samsung models, including as the S7 Edge.
Daniel Ramirez’s S7 Edge burst in his pocket as he was working on a construction site in Ohio. His thigh, groin, and lower back received second and third-degree burns as a result of the explosion. In a case against Samsung, we are representing Daniel Ramirez.
Is it possible to sue if my electronic device catches fire?
While lithium-ion batteries are a widespread issue, it doesn’t absolve manufacturers of responsibility for product safety.
Consumers who have been injured or have had their property damaged as a result of an electronic item catching fire may be entitled to compensation. Product liability lawsuits often include one or more of the following allegations:
- Failure to perform as claimed or offered
- Instructions and cautions that are insufficient or missing
- Under normal circumstances, this is a dangerous and flawed state with a propensity to explode.
Contact us immediately for a free, no-obligation legal analysis if your electronic item caught fire unexpectedly. Our lawyers have brought claims against Samsung and e-cigarette makers, and they know how to hold businesses responsible for any damage they may have caused.
The “will phone explode while charging” is a question that many people ask themselves. The answer to this question is no, but it does happen on occasion.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes laptops to explode?
A: Laptops can explode when they are exposed to a variety of factors, like incorrect voltage levels, overheating due to poor ventilation and more.
Why do mobile batteries explode?
A: Mobile batteries are made of lithium-ion cells, which have a limited lifespan. When these phones start to lose their battery capacity rapidly, the phone will be unable to charge because there is not enough power in the battery and it will explode.
Why do batteries explode?
A: Batteries can explode due to a number of factors which include overheating, charging too quickly or over-current.
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