As we all know, the cause of last year’s Galaxy Note 7 explosions were the phones' batteries. At the time, exactly how and why smartphone batteries explode was a bit of a mystery, but researchers might have just found the reasons why lithium batteries are as volatile as they are.
A less explosive reality
A team of scientists have published a paper entitled “Atomic structure of sensitive battery materials and interfaces revealed by cryo-electron microscopy”. They used a technique known as cryo-electron microscopy to observe the chain reaction that at times causes lithium ion batteries to explode, and have concluded the problem lies with dendrites.
What are dendrites? They are small crystalline structures that form when excess electrical charge passes through lithium ion batteries. These crystals are not explosive in themselves but they can cause the breakage of barriers between different parts of a battery. This then causes short-circuits and, well, boom.
The team is hopeful that these findings might pave the way for better, safer battery technologies. We look forward to a time where won’t have to worry about our phones blowing up on planes.