Will My Electronic Gifts Explode This Christmas?
Over the last few years there has been a lot of negative press surrounding certain consumer electronics products suddenly and without warning exploding. From the Samsung Phone to the Hover Board and electronic cigarettes – it’s almost as if our electronics are turning against us. This definitely has cause some to be a little wary when buying the latest gadget this holiday season. Maybe one should wait until enough time has passes for a recall? So what causes this phenomenon and why is it suddenly so prevalent? We have the answer – the lithium-ion battery.
What is a lithium-ion battery?
Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular choice in rechargeable battery technology. They are found in everything from cell phones, toys and even electric vehicle. The principle by which they operate is that the battery has cells which contain lithium ions within an electrolyte that, when the battery is discharged, move to the positive and when charged move back to the positive side. This creates a battery that is rechargeable, over and over again. They are desirable in many applications for efficiency, cost and lifespan characteristic.
What causes the hazard?
There are two main causes of explosions in lithium-ion batteries. The first one is heat. One inherent issue with our electronics becoming smaller and more enclosed is the fact that the housing which contains the battery has a hard time diffusing thermal energy. When current flows through a device heat is generated and if it has nowhere to go, the interaction with both the battery under pressure as well as the charge exchange happening too quickly can result in a short which can cause an explosion.
The second problem that causes these batteries to fail is manufacturing defects in the batteries themselves. As more and more of our electronics become “unplugged” there now is a huge demand for these rechargeable cells. They are in just about everything that is both electric and mobile. As such there are many manufacturers out there and taking shortcuts resulting in flaws such that was seen in infamous Samsung S7 recall.
How can I prevent this?
The most effective way of course is to hold back a few weeks before buying the latest gizmo and keep your ear to the ground for any negative consumer reports. Once the hot new toy or gadget hits the market, it does not take long for the bugs to show themselves. Also be sure to follow all manufacturers instructions when dealing with rechargeable devices. Make sure you are using them in the correct environment, away from heat and moisture. Also be sure to follow the recommended procedure for charging – especially making sure not to overcharge the device.
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