Why do smartphones explode and how can you prevent it?
Recent incidents of the OnePlus Nord 2 blasts have raised safety concerns among users, yet again. Over the years, we have been hearing stories of how someone's phone exploded, caught fire, injured a user, or got banned by airlines, like the Galaxy Note7. The pertinent questions are - why does a phone explode and what can we do to prevent it?
Why does it matter?
- In 2021 alone, four OnePlus Nord 2 explosions have been reported, an Alaska Airlines plane was evacuated after a Galaxy A21 caught fire, and an Indian teen died after sudden spark from his phone caused a fire.
- Although the chances of your smartphone meeting the same fate are thin, it is better to know the causes and ways to prevent such mishaps.
Why do smartphones explode?
Reasons like manufacturing defect, processor overloading, and using third-party chargers may cause a smartphone to catch fire but most of the time it has to do with the device's battery. Physical damage to the battery can also lead to short-circuit. In a recent Nord 2 blast, OnePlus had conducted an investigation and found that the phone exploded due to "external damage" to the battery.
Excessive heat and overcharging can cause the batteries to explode
The cells of Lithium-ion batteries used in phones and other devices have a critical temperature, like a boiling point. When that temperature is crossed, whether due to overcharging or external heat, the battery undergoes an exothermic breakdown. A chain reaction called thermal runaway releases more heat and the phone eventually breaks down, catches fire, or explodes in some cases.
Look out for the warning signs
If your smartphone emits the smell of burning plastic or you hear hissing/popping sounds or feel it heating up or you see a swollen battery or back panel, then you should quickly turn it off and remove any external power supply. The phone should be kept away from flammable objects; once it has cooled down, you can get it checked at a service center.
Ways to prevent your phone from exploding
There are a number of ways in which you can prevent your phone from exploding or catching fire. Be careful to not drop the device, avoid extreme temperatures and direct sunlight, use a compatible first-party charger, avoid overcharging, and do not tamper with the battery. However, there is not much you can do in case of a manufacturing defect.