Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Phone blowing up?

  1. Apr 7, 2010 #1
    I keep getting this crap often by e-mail. Never any references along with it. Sometimes it also comes attached with gory pictures of a blown up phone and a disfigured hand. Does anyone have any claims to back this up?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2010 #2

    fedaykin

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I've seen several sites that suggest it is very rare and due to faulty equipment. The phone batteries have also exploded when the phone is used normally. Except for the news story about the phone exploding without its battery, the snopes article seems reasonable. I wish I could how found some non .com articles. Snopes indicates that the exploded batteries were found to always be counterfeit. I myself purchased a batter online that I found to be counterfeit after it shorted. Fortunately, it didn't blow up.

    Also, would it be impractical to implement a pressure safety valve in the battery?

    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/cell-phone-charging.html

    http://www.snopes.com/horrors/techno/cellcharge.asp
     
  4. Apr 7, 2010 #3

    Chronos

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Perhaps this story represents a potential breakthrough in battery technology - or perhaps it is pure fiction. I'm leaning towards fiction.
     
  5. Apr 7, 2010 #4

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor



    Lithium batteries are a known risk. Definitely not neglectable, but small. However, I bet more people suffer each year after being electrocuted by faulty cable in hair drier or something similar, then because of lithium battery explosion. I am not going to stop hair drier, I am not going to stop using my mobile.

    Well, when it coms to hair drier, each year I have less use for it, so I will probably stop using it - but not because of safety concerns.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Apr 7, 2010 #5

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Lithium batteries sure are dangerous for such a common consumer item. Lithium polymer are better though. We used them for radio controlled airplanes. You were always advised to never charge lithium battery packs near flammable objects and never charge above their ratings or you'd risk an explosion or the things melting. Expensive things too...
     
  7. Apr 7, 2010 #6

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    While the risk of fire with these batteries is real, the story linked, talking about a cell phone actually exploding like a bomb, with enough force to throw a person to the floor and kill them is almost certainly a hoax. In particular, the idea of electricity flowing into a cell phone "unrestrained" is just meaningless technobabble. Electricity doesn't flow "unrestrained" except in a superconductor and a cell phone charger is only capable of a few hundred miliamps. If you short it, it'll draw a few amps for a few seconds and then burn out, leaving no exterior signs that it has died.
     
  8. Apr 9, 2010 #7

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Hmmm....according to my recent research on things that blow up, cell phones can, in fact, kill you if they send a piece of shrapnel into your neck when they explode: http://weirdnewsfiles.com/weirdnews/man-killed-by-exploding-cell-phone/ [Broken]

    My advice: keep your phone in your back pocket (never front pocket - the risk there is too horrific to contemplate).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Apr 9, 2010 #8
    Huh? My question was whether they could all blow up while charging? It seems to be because of some fraudulent battery salesmen. Even in the link you posted above, the bloke is said to have replaced his battery recently.

    Question 2: Among the ones that DO blow up because of faulty batteries, what exactly sets them off?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Apr 10, 2010 #9
    Thanks russ, now I know what to have a nightmare about when I sleep, also I'm trying to convince it that it's safe to come out now. :biggrin:

    As for "blowing up"... if your cell bursts into flames, leaks corrosives, and melts... most people are going to say, "it blew up".

    That said, you're at far greater risk from your car battery, which really CAN "blow up". Hydrogen + strong acids... not fun.

    Well.. it's fun, but not in that context.

    @anirudh215: Overheating, can melt or deform the battery casing, or cause the contents to combine. Add a charge going in... a bit of flammable gas as a result of the contents being exposed... and ouchy. Batteries, Dynamos, Flywheels, Criticality Accidents... anything that stores and can rapidly release energy is inherently dangerous, especially as the world is essentially 'shrapnel in waiting'. Very low chance however, and really it's just a good reason to exercise good judgement when buying a battery.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook