Samsung is warning consumers to stop using its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after a spate of battery explosions.
It was the latest in a string of lithium-ion battery fires on products ranging from laptops to hover boards to airliners—and a reminder that pushing the technology envelope can sometimes be problematic.
Here are some things to know about the recall and why batteries can be a fire hazard.
A lithium-ion battery is a kind of rechargeable battery that uses different materials, one holding positive ions—the cathode—and the other holding negative ions—the anode.
These two layers—or conductors—are never supposed to touch, so manufacturers insert separators to keep them apart.
Unfortunately, the chemical reaction that makes batteries work also creates heat. Overcharging the packs—or charging them too fast—can lead to fires.
Samsung has given some clues. It said parts of the battery that should never touch came together due to a "very rare manufacturing process error."
And the race to push more battery life into their latest phone or tablet can lead to unexpected results.
At the start of this month, Samsung had received reports of about 35 incidents involving the phone's batteries.
"It's not easy to know if Samsung's problem is the same as others...at this point," Yasuda said.
"If its battery suppliers sell these same ones to other producers,it could possibly affect them too."