(DGIwire) – By now, the image of a smartphone engulfed in flames is firmly embedded in the public’s mind, thanks to some unfortunate headlines over the past few years. Being aware of the issue of phones catching fire is one thing—but what if the problem hits a lot closer to home? Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:
- Knowing the warning signs of a potential exploding phone: If the battery feels extremely hot—or swells up with a lump or bulge—it could be about to catch fire, warns CNET. If the phone’s Lithium-ion battery does begin to fail, the harmful chemicals could burn skin or endanger property if the flames aren’t doused correctly.
- Handling a hot, hissing or swelling phone: Only use tools or gloved hands to touch the device, warns CNET. Immediately turn it off and keep it in an isolated area (e.g., a concrete floor or metal tool box) away from anything flammable. If the device catches fire, call emergency services ASAP. Douse flames with a fire extinguisher, baking soda or sand.
- Avoiding mistakes with a burning phone: Don’t ignore the problem—and don’t rely on water to douse the flames, CNET reports, because it could cause the fire to grow out of control. Also, don’t throw the phone in the trash—it needs to be disposed of responsibly—and be sure not to breathe in the fumes.
“The risks of Lithium-ion powered devices, like mobile phones, are better understood today than ever before,” says Stephen Voller, CEO and founder of ZapGo Ltd. “That is why the push is on to develop next-generation technologies that avoid the problems faced by today’s devices.”
ZapGo’s Carbon-Ion™ cell (Zap&Go) is being developed as the first Carbon-Ion cell that combines the fast-charging characteristics of a supercapacitor and—within a few years—is anticipated to match the energy density of Li-ion batteries, while also being safe and recyclable. Unlike Li-ion, which works by an electrochemical reaction, Zap&Go involves storing electrons with no electrochemical reaction. This means there is nothing to get used up, so Zap&Go cells can last through many more charge and discharge cycles than Li-ion. However, a major advantage of C-Ion over Li-ion is they do not catch fire because there is no chemical reaction.
ZapGo’s platform technology will first be incorporated into products such as cordless power tools, robotic cleaners and electric bikes available for sale during late 2017, where the recharge time will be reduced from hours to sub-five minutes. By 2020, the company envisions the technology as being practical for use in smartphones themselves, finally allowing mobile phones to be fully charged from empty in under five minutes.
“Everyone loves smartphones but worrying about whether it is safe to use them should not be part of the equation—and further advances will help in this regard,” Voller adds.