Experts seem to be baffled by the cause of the overheating of Note 7 replacement devices, if it is not the battery.
Pushing Battery Technology
According to news from Reuters, batteries that are based on Lithium have powered most of the portable phones and devices for the past twenty five years. However, consumers want smaller devices that have a longer lasting battery. This has forced the manufacturers to push existing technology to the limits. It is not known whether it is safe to pack in this much of energy into a smaller space.
Battery Safety Issues
According to Qichao Hu, who was a researcher at the MIT and also the founder of a battery startup, Solid Energy Systems, a battery is like a bomb. It releases the energy stored in it in a regulated manner. However, there are safety concerns with all batteries and when you have denser and higher energy with a quicker charge, it is more likely that an explosion will occur.
Note 7 is Scrapped
The Note 7 caused a lot of alarm in the past few weeks and after the replacement devices also reported some fire instances, Samsung has scrapped it. The company has asked customers to return the Note 7, as many devices have been scorched and ignited.
When the problem first came to light, the company blamed a manufacturing error that was very rare. However, the company is still I the process of investigating the fire reports. The investigation continues due to a second report of fire in the replacement devices, which were supposed to be the safe batch.
Baffling the Experts
The company, its suppliers and regulators are all looking into the device explosion and fire issues. Experts are puzzled as to what could be the cause of the overheating, especially in the replacement device, if it is not to be blamed on the battery. According to Samsung, it is still too premature to make any speculations on the issue. The company replied to Reuters stating that they are reviewing all the steps of the engineering and the manufacturing as well as the quality control procedures of the said phone.
According to an official in the Korean Agency, which is also making investigations, the fault may not necessarily be the same for the original phones and the replacement devices. However, ATL and Samsung SKI, who supply the batteries for Samsung Electronics, have refused to make any comment.
Lithium Related Issues
Though the problems might be a new one for Samsung, they are not new as far as lithium ion is concerned. In fact, the US CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) has issued a recall of flashlights, power recliners and battery packs among others during this year. The recalls were related to fires that were caused by the lithium ion battery in the device.
Lithium is perfect for batteries, as it is very light and capable of packing in plenty of energy. However, safety mechanism is important though it could add to the cost of production. Many small producers have scrimped on the safety factor according to the CEO of the Lattice Energy.