A faulty battery, for instance, can be overcharged. While well-made batteries stop charging automatically once full, a faulty battery's lithium ions can collect in one spot and be deposited as metallic lithium within the battery if left plugged in for too long, Gordon said.
If this happens, the heat from the overcharging can cause oxygen bubbles, which are highly reactive with metallic lithium. If they combine, the reaction can lead to an explosion. Defective batteries can also be over-discharged, Gordon said. If the lithium-ion battery does not shut off when the power is too low, it can cause the phone to catch fire, he added.
A Samsung spokesperson addressed the explosive replacement phones in a statement to The Verge:
"We are working diligently with authorities and third-party experts and will share findings when we have completed the investigation. Even though there are a limited number of reports, we want to reassure customers that we are taking every report seriously. If we determine a product safety issue exists, Samsung will take immediate steps approved by the CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] to resolve the situation."
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As a result of these battery malfunctions, Samsung has reportedly stopped production of the Galaxy Note 7. According to Yonhap News Agency in South Korea, an official at a supplier for Samsung said Monday (Oct. 10) that production has temporarily been suspended. The anonymous source told the news outlet that Samsung is cooperating with consumer safety regulators from South Korea, the United States and China.
Samsung hasn't officially confirmed that it's halting production of the smartphone, but it did provide the following statement to Tom's Guide: "We are temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters."
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