Phones Exploding inside Pockets: Everything you need to know, Keeping your Phone Safe

by Mayank
Featured-Phone Explosion

Phones have been a part of our life since the days when we could just use them to make calls and send text messages. Electronic components required to make a device have become much more affordable throughout time than they were initially.

In a world where 78 percent of people own a smartphone, stories about people having problems with their smartphone is not uncommon.

The report of a OnePlus Nord 2 blowing inside a lawyer’s coat has been making the rounds recently. Since this post went viral on Twitter, numerous other accounts of the OnePlus Nord 2 exploding have surfaced.

A lawyer from Delhi, India claimed their Nord 2 exploded inside their gown’s pocket

According to OnePlus, the flaw was not in the device and that the problem stems from the customer. They went so far as to file a lawsuit against the individual for making fraudulent reports.

FACT 101: You can accuse a manufacturer all you want, but keep in mind that no business will ever accept culpability and will always try to shift the blame to the consumer.

With such news circulating, I chose to publish this post to shed some light on the subject so that we, as consumers, can make an informed decision.

In today’s world, believing everything we see is natural.

We all know that social media platforms have an impact on our thoughts and actions. Different people’s perspectives expressed in the form of comments influence our perception of what we see as true, and we decide things depending on what other people have to say. The sad part is that this happens involuntarily and we are mostly unaware of it.

Is the news of smartphones blowing up a Myth?

Both yes and no. There might be several occasions where a design defect in the device a consumer purchased led the battery to explode. Many such situations go undiscovered if the individual chooses not to post about the incident on social media and instead buys a new phone.

The flip side of the story is that there is fierce rivalry among smartphone companies, and the competition intensifies with each passing year and as a new brand emerges. It is reasonable to imagine that other brands may try to damage another brand’s market reputation by spreading reports about their devices popping.

The simple reality is that we can never know for certain if the reports of a phone bursting inside a pocket, on a bed, or while charging is accurate or not since we don’t know the actual circumstances that led to the occurrence.

So, when can a phone explode?

The battery is to blame for the majority of device explosions. If the battery is not in good shape, the device is prone to such problems.

Physical damage to the battery

I’m sure we’ve all dropped our phones at some point in our lives. If you’re lucky, there won’t be any damage to the exterior of the device itself but we cannot be sure of the interior damage.

Dropping a phone can damage the battery and without you knowing it

The drop may very well have damaged the separator or even the insulating layer inside the battery and because smartphone batteries are non-removable these days, we cannot inspect the battery physically. If the separator is damaged and electrons escape from either of the two electrodes, it can cause a short-circuit and a severe chemical reaction, which can eventually result in fire since lithium ions are highly unstable when not controlled.

Overheating due to High Temperatures

You’re likely aware that connecting your phone to a charger causes it to warm up. When you use your phone while it’s charging, or when you charge it under your pillow or blanket, the temperature further rises.

A battery’s worst enemy is temperature. A phenomenon known as Thermal runaway occurs when the layers between the anode and cathode begin to melt owing to high temperatures, eventually leading the electrolyte medium between the electrodes to break down. As a result of the breakdown, combustible gases (Ethane, Methane and others) are released, increasing the pressure inside the battery.

When these gases come into contact with oxygen, the battery flames and the pressure due to the gases is released into the atmosphere, causing your phone to explode.

More information about thermal runaway can be found here:

https://www.mpoweruk.com/lithium_failures.htm

Design Flaw

While it is rare for a battery to have a manufacturing flaw, it does not rule out the possibility. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s battery is the greatest illustration of a major There is a design issue.

Samsung looked at various batteries from the Note 7 to figure out what was wrong, and they found that for some batteries the separator was damaged, forcing the anode and cathode to contact, and for the others the insulating tape was damaged both of which led to a number of Galaxy Note 7s to explode.

This event demonstrates that failures in battery and device quality checks may occur, and if a firm as large as Samsung can have such flaws, we can imagine similar concerns from other manufacturers.

Bad quality or broken cables

Broken and cheap cables are a fire hazard. Cheap cables are often of inferior quality in terms of insulation and current handling capabilities. The cable insulation may get damaged if you use a cable that is incapable of accepting greater amounts of current supplied by a charger pushing higher amps.

The quest to design the slimmest phone possible

Smartphone makers have been working hard to make their devices as thin as possible. While carrying a slim phone looks cool, it has its own set of drawbacks. Heat dissipation is generally a problem with a slim device.

When this is combined with fast charging, the overall temperature of your phone rises, which, if not controlled by the device’s charging circuit, might result in a fire.

To learn more about how Fast Charging works, click here.

Can overcharging cause the battery to explode?

Since the time phones became a common gadget to have, there are a number of rumours floating around like “You should not leave your phone charging overnight” or “Do not charge your phone to its maximum capacity.”

Photo by David Ramírez on Unsplash

The reality is that all phones have built-in overcharging protection circuits that stop the flow of current and supply voltage from the charger when the phone is juiced up. As an additional precaution, even though your phone appears to be fully charged, the actual charge is less than what you see. To reduce the chance of leftover “unabsorbed” charges which may cause a short-circuit, battery makers never allow the batteries to reach their full charge capacity.

This makes it absolutely safe to leave your phone charging overnight, and you can certainly charge it to 100%. Just remember to charge your phone in a well-ventilated area and avoid using it while it is plugged in.

Signs that your phone may be about to catch fire

You may not always receive a warning that your device is about to explode, but in most cases, a damaged battery swells. When the rear of your phone bulges out and becomes irregular in shape, you’ll know it does have an issue with the battery. Because of the swollen battery, your phone’s screen may also protrude.

A swollen battery is the most common indicator that the battery needs to replaced

When you hear hissing sounds from your phone, this is another indicator of a faulty battery. No, it’s not a snake inside your smartphone; rather, it’s the hydrocarbon gases escaping from your battery. This often occurs when the organic solvents in the electrolyte break down.

Keep in mind that these gases are combustible, so if you hear hissing or popping noises, move away from the device.

The final sign is the odor of burnt plastic coming from your phone. In this case, the best course of action is to switch off the device and take it in for repair.

Making Sure your Phone’s Battery is Healthy

There isn’t much you can do to protect your phone’s battery when there is a manufacturing issue. The important thing to remember is that true manufacturing flaws are quite rare, so you shouldn’t be concerned.

Over time, batteries degrade and their charge holding capacity declines. We can’t stop this occurrence, but we can make your battery and phone survive longer. The information given below will benefit you.

Don’t drop your phone too frequently.

Dropping your phone often can damage your battery

This may sound silly, but just because the exterior of your phone is undamaged after a drop does not indicate that the interior components, such as the SoC or the battery, are unharmed. I’d recommend investing in a high-quality phone case to lessen the impact of a fall on the device.

Always charge your phone in a well ventilated area

A good airflow in the region keeps the temperature surrounding the phone stable when it is plugged in and keeps it from overheating. Always avoid charging your phone beneath a pillow or blanket. Instead, set the phone on a table and avoid using it while it is plugged in.

Try to charge your phone after removing the phone case.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Cases protect your phone from damages, but they also obstruct airflow to the back of the device. The heat dissipation is substantially better when you charge your phone after removing the case.

Avoid keeping your phone near extreme temperatures

Always try to avoid using your phone under direct sunlight or near extreme temperatures

Temperature is a battery’s deadliest enemy. You should avoid using your phone in direct sunlight or near heat-producing equipment such as radiators. Make sure you don’t leave your phone in your car, and especially don’t leave your phone for charging inside your car.

Only use the charger and connector that came with your phone, and throw away any broken cables.

Damaged cables can lead to a damage to your phone’s battery

The charger and cable that comes with your phone have been tested for the wattage levels of your device’s battery and are the safest choices for using with your phone.

I’m mindful that certain firms, like Apple, have discontinued providing chargers with their phones. So, if you didn’t get a charger or misplaced it, I’d recommend purchasing one from the manufacturer’s website.

You may have to pay more than you would for a cheap charger from Amazon, but you shouldn’t mind spending a little more for a high-quality charger and cord that will keep your phone secure.

Do not worry too much

The possibility of your phone exploding or catching fire is quite minimal. If you follow the recommended practices outlined in this article, you can be confident that your phone will last longer and that the battery will not be damaged. Have you ever experienced an event in which your phone exploded or got incredibly hot to touch, or do you know somebody who has? Please leave y

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