As far as we know (so far) there have been 35 customer reports worldwide of Samsung’s Note 7 phones exploding while charging. Samsung is focusing on solid customer support practices in an effort to remedy the situation – a move that could cost them tens of millions of dollars.
The cause of which has been said by the company to be battery cell problems. The company said in a press release that it was carrying out a strictly monitored investigation to determine the source of defective batteries.
One cause of combustion is a problem with the “battery management system” that monitors the electrical current and normally tells a chip inside the phone to stop the current once a battery is fully charged. If the system or chip are faulty, a battery can enter a state of “overcharge”.
“The battery can continue to charge and can become even more unstable and eventually just burst into flames itself, without any kind of external heating,” Finegan explains.
Phones don’t contain fans or the liquid cooling mechanism you’ll find in a gaming PC or electric vehicle, so heat must radiate out into the surroundings. If that doesn’t happen, heat is generated faster than it can be dissipated or lost.
When a battery reaches about 100ºC (200ºF), its materials start to break down, triggering a chemical chain reaction that releases its own energy. This accelerates the warming and leads to a snowball effect — a process called “thermal runaway”.
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