WHY ARE SO MANY SMARTPHONES EXPLODING?

Twitter has been lately abuzz with consumers crying foul about their exploding smartphones.

The latest casualty was a Reliance LYF smartphone owned by a Kashmiri youth. Tanvir Sadiq, who is political secretary to the National Conference, took to Twitter to put up pictures of the burnt device and say he and his family had a narrow escape.

Another consumer also took to Twitter to report about his burnt OnePlus One, and said the phone exploded while it was being charged. In fact, Indian aviation regulator DGCA banned Samsung phones on flights two months ago after reports of Note 7 blasts followed by a Note 2 explosion.

But why are smartphone batteries exploding now? Scientists and researchers seem to point in the direction of heat/thermal management on the device and also high usage of devices these days.

A lithium-ion battery is a kind of rechargeable battery that uses different materials, one holding positive ions and the other holding negative ions. Called the cathode and the anode respectively, these ions move one way when charging, and back again when discharging — being used.

These two layers — or conductors —are never supposed to touch; so manufacturers insert separators to keep them apart. The chemical reaction that makes batteries work creates heat. Overcharging the packs — or charging them too fast — can lead to fires.