Samsung’s aggressive design responsible for Galaxy Note 7 battery explosions?

Samsung’s aggressive design responsible for Galaxy Note 7 battery explosions?

The Galaxy Note 7 - recalled by Samsung for overheating batteries. Now we may have answers as to why.

More than three months since Samsung first recalled the Galaxy Note 7, the company still hasn’t provided a cause for the phone’s battery overheating and causing it to catch fire. However, thanks to a report by manufacturing company Instrumental, we may have the answers we’ve been seeking.

Instrumental took apart a few of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones to figure out what actually happened inside. The report noted there was a “fundamental flaw with the design.”

“Innovation means pushing boundaries”

The report also suggests Samsung suspected their “super aggressive” design was risky but continued with its production anyway to edge out its competitors.

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By trying to cram so many features into such a small phone, there simply wasn’t enough room for the battery. The report suggested Samsung suspected their “super aggressive” design was risky. However, they continued with its production anyway to edge out its competitors.

Initially, the company recalled the phones noting a faulty battery. Shortly after, production ended and Samsung recalled all replacement handsets when they too started to overheat and catch fire.

Anna Shedletsky, who wrote Instrumental’s report, asked a fundamental question the company has yet to provide answers for.

“If it was only a battery part issue and could have been salvaged by a re-spin of the battery, why cancel the product line and cede several quarters of revenue to competitors?”

Galaxy Note 7 – Fundamental design flaw

Most phones leave about 10 percent gap above the battery, to account for natural battery swelling that occurs with multiple charges. The Note 7 should have had about 0.5mm ‘ceiling’ - but it had none.

Instrumental

The design flaw is likely more than the company is willing to fully admit to. Most phones leave about 10 percent gap above the battery, to account for natural battery swelling that occurs with multiple charges. The Note 7 should have had about 0.5mm ‘ceiling’ – but it had none.

Which means the problem isn’t the battery itself but the way it was crammed inside the casing. The report goes on to explain how this effects the phone itself:

“The Note 7’s lithium-polymer battery is a flattened “jelly-roll” consisting of a positive layer made of lithium cobalt oxide, a negative layer made of graphite, and two electrolyte-soaked separator layers made of polymer.  The separator layers allow ions (and energy) to flow between the positive and negative layers, without allowing those layers to touch.  If the positive and negative layers ever do touch, the energy flowing goes directly into the electrolyte, heating it, which causes more energy to flow and more heat — it typically results in an explosion. Compressing the battery puts pressure on those critical polymer separator layers that keep the battery safe.”

Samsung admits the separator layers may have already been too thin, thanks to their “aggressive manufacturing parameters.” With pressure from normal battery swelling, the thin separator compress causing positive and negative layers to touch. Built-up pressure through the phone’s back casing (like from a person sitting with the phone in their back pocket) could also be a factor. The result: battery explosion.

If Samsung didn’t force a large battery into such a small phone, the Galaxy Note 7 would likely be fine.

We applaud what Samsung attempted to do. That is, create a sleek and stylish phone that is extremely powerful and has a long battery life. However, it seemed the plan backfired in way the company never imagined.

Not only did the risk not pay off, Samsung lost customer trust and billions of dollars. Read Instrumental’s full report here.

Be sure to check out 10 uses for your old smartphone or tablet and Ways to extend your smartphone warranty without paying.


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