Chemistry

Halt and catch fire: Battery woes go well beyond Samsung

Samsung's Note 7 isn't the only gadget to catch fire thanks to lithium-battery problems, which have afflicted everything from iPhones to Tesla cars to Boeing jetliners. Blame chemistry and the fact that the batteries we rely on for everyday life are prone to leaking and even bursting into flame if damaged, defective or exposed to excessive heat.

That's because lithium-ion batteries store a lot of energy in a tiny space, with combustible components separated by ultra-thin walls. If something happens to those separators, a chemical reaction can quickly escalate out of control.

Samsung hasn't specified exactly what caused the fires that led to the recall of 2.5 million Galaxy...

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