Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 devices have continued to make headlines this fall because of large-scale device malfunctions. Multiple reports of devices exploding and catching fire led to battery charge capping, and eventual recall of all Galaxy Note 7 devices.
What caused the device fires is still unclear, but many industry experts think hasty construction of devices and a desire for an overall thinner phone could be the cause of the malfunctions. The New York Times explains some battery experts indicated the desire for a thinner battery package led to an ultrathin separator, which resulted in short circuiting and battery fires.
The need for safer battery design has always been an industry hot topic, but in light of Samsung’s device demise, more professionals are prioritizing battery research. Mike Zimmerman, founder of Ionic Materials, is working to develop lithium polymer batteries. This type of material would significantly reduce chances of battery fires and combustion, and also allow smaller packaging and fewer safety precautions.
As safer battery design becomes an industry priority, specialists will need to consider not only the safety of batteries during use, but during disposal and recycling as well. Battery manufacturers and e-scrap processors will need to work together to ensure battery disposal and recycling methods develop at the same speed as battery design.