Samsung Gets Headlines For Exploding Batteries, But It’s Not The First Or Last

Image courtesy of Reddit

While Samsung is receiving a lot of media attention this month for overheating battery issues in the new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and the following non-recall, it’s easy to forget that overheating, occasionally exploding batteries are an issue that has come along with the popularity of lithium-ion batteries. They’ve caused issues in everything from baby monitors to airliners to e-cigarettes to hoverboards, as well as an awful lot of portable computers.

There are probably multiple lithium-ion batteries within your reach right now: I have a laptop computer, a smartphone, and a backup power bank for my phone here in my computer bag, for example. The problem with lithium-ion batteries is that progress has led to more powerful and ever-smaller batteries.

However, the Note 7 certainly isn’t alone in having a problem that causes occasional fires. When something goes wrong –– the manufacturing defect in these phones, or example –– the power coursing through a tiny battery pack can become volatile and cause overheating or fires.

“When this goes bad, it goes catastrophically bad in a very high-profile way,” a professor in the materials engineering program at Carnegie Mellon University told CNN.

That means until we banish manufacturing problems or until humans discover a better device for storing electric power, we’re stuck with millions of devices that work fine every day… and a few that may explode, especially when they’re treated poorly, manufactured wrong, or plugged into a substandard charger.

Samsung won’t be the last to have exploding batteries [CNN]