No one wants to wake up to their fire alarm going off, getting their hand burned, or watch their Jeep’s dashboard explode. All of these freak accidents have happened since the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debuted on Aug. 19, resulting in recalls and exchange programs.
Like most smartphones nowadays, the Galaxy Note 7 uses a lithium ion battery. Lithium is a highly reactive element which allows the battery to be easily charged. Each battery has two electrodes (where power enters and leaves the battery). The anode contains negatively charged ions, and the cathode contains positively charged ions and lithium. When the batteries are being used, the lithium is moved over from cathode to anode. While the battery is being charged, the lithium moves back over to the cathode. The separator in the battery keeps the anode and cathode from touching cause that can trigger reactions that cause fires and explosions.
Since the lithium ion will react with almost anything, it can lead to explosive results. Devices that rely on a lithium battery have software that tell them how much to charge the battery and for how long. If set incorrectly, it can destabilize the chemicals in the battery and cause a chain reaction that will ultimately result in a fire or explosion.
After over a month of exploding batteries, car fires, and a exchange program only for those who had problems with the device, Samsung has finally issued a recall program to fix a problem they found in the phone’s battery.
Samsung said in a statement that the company was offering a $25 gift card or in-store credit to those who exchanged their phones.