Critical Design Flaw May Have Led To The Galaxy Note 7 Fires

It’s been almost two months since the Galaxy Note 7 was permanently discontinued by Samsung, but there’s still no definitive word from the company as to why its popular phablet was catching fire without any warning. Samsung, of course, had originally blamed a battery supplier for the problems and initiated a recall to replace the so-called faulty batteries, which were manufactured by a fellow Samsung group company called Samsung SDI. However, when even the replaced batteries kept blowing up, the fate of the Galaxy Note 7 was sealed. In early October, Samsung brought down the curtains on its all-new flagship that had initially received rave reviews from large sections of the media and consumers alike.

Samsung, of course, has reportedly been hard at work over the past couple of months investing the probable cause of the fires that have resulted in the demise of one of the most-anticipated and well-reviewed gadgets of the year. The company has even apologized for the fiasco by taking out full-page ads on leading newspapers in the U.S. However, with no official word forthcoming from the South Korean company, Instrumental, a manufacturing technology company, apparently launched its own investigation recently. What the researchers found was pretty startling. Apparently, the ultra-slim design of the phone was compressing the battery “even during normal operations”. According to experts, all lithium batteries are prone to swelling when they are charged and discharged, so to account for that, engineers are recommended to leave some space between the battery and the back cover.

The unit being looked into by the researchers apparently had no such space. This revelation has now given rise to speculations that it might have been intentionally done by Samsung to reduce the thickness of its shiny new flagship. Now whether this alleged design flaw really contributed significantly to the overheating and eventual fires in some of the phablets is yet unclear, but according to the folks over at Instrumental, the lithium-polymer batteries found inside the Note 7s, in some cases, may have had their positive and negative layers come in contact with one another because of the ultra-compact design, leading to the energy flowing directly to the electrolyte with catastrophic consequences. It will be interesting to see if Samsung will concur with these findings, or if it will come up with some other explanation for the fires.

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About the Author

Kishalaya Kundu

Senior Staff Writer
I've always been a tech buff and have been building my own PCs since as far back as I can remember. My first computer was a home-built desktop running MS-DOS on which I learnt to program in GW-BASIC and my interests apart from technology include automobiles and sports.
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