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iPhone 6s Oxidized Battery Failures!

iPhone 6s Teardown Photo shows Battery that Failed 
Certain iPhone 6s owners experienced a rapid battery failure that was sourced to a manufacturing defect, where the battery manufacturer accidentally allowed the battery foils to become oxidized, a form of contamination that dramatically increases breakdown of the resulting cells. Not just Apple affected! 


Hoverboard On Fire
Hover- Board Fires

This same kind of Chinese lithium ion battery manufacturing problem was the root cause of all the hover-board fires, namely where the offending 18650's were made in open air rooms with coal dust blowing around landing on the battery foils; a dust made of fly ash and carbon soot from coal power plants, which contaminated the cell materials.

787 Battery Fire
Dreamliner 787 Fires

GS Yuasa's Chinese manufacturing plant allowed chemical contaminants to end up inside the cells of the dreamliners lithium ion battery energy storage system. The early FAA certified cells were made by Rose Electronics of the UK in a clean room when chemical purity was insured. The GS Yuasa plant in China failed to ensure the chemical purity of the battery components.

Samsung Note 7 Fire : Link
Samsung Note 7 Fires

In the race to pack more energy into small space for better battery run time, thinner separator films were used between the anode and cathode. When the Note 7 was subjected to mechanical stress (bending lightly) when someone sat on it (in their rear pocket) the resulting bending caused microscopic tearing of the separator film. Through these small slits dendrites of lithium metal shorted the anode and cathode, triggering a sometimes violent hot reaction, burning the screen and venting with flame. 

Lithium Ion Cell Foil Processing : GM Volt Line 
Contaminates Make Lithium Ion Unsafe

Lithium Ion cells have to be assembled in a Clean Room or in hermetically sealed robotic machinery in order to preserve the chemical purity of the cell components, namely the Lithium Cobalt Oxide foil, electrolyte oil and membrane separator. Contaminates in the foils or electrolytes oils cause chemical side reactions that poison the chemistry. When electrons start moving through the cell, the side reactions cause increases in internal resistance (cell impedance) which causes more heat to form during cell cycling, which causes the oily electrolyte to expand thereby mechanically damaging the anode materials and separator film: resulting in thermal runaway and venting with flame result! This caused many hover boards to catch fire, cause the Boeing 787 battery to catch fire and caused the Samsung Note 7 to catch fire. Apple iPhone 6s did not catch fire when the battery failed, they affected units simply shut off the phone at when the battery got to 40% charge state.

Lithium Ion Cell Wear Out

The failure etiology of Lithium Ion cells is well understood, Sony having commercialized the modern lithium on battery in 1990, lithium ion batteries have actually been in the world since the 1960's, but that as state sponsored defense secrete technology back then.

Lithium Ion Life

Typically a well made lithium ion battery will last about 5 years or 1000 cycles before it starts to give relatively poor overall performance. During that life the performance generally fades, each charge cycle after the 3rd full cycle yielding slightly less energy, slowly reducing the run time of your lithium ion electric vehicle or electronics. I experience 12% battery capacity fade in the 13 Nissan Leaf S after 24 months and 14,000 miles of operation. Based on projections, the OEM pack in said Nissan would get to 70% of its original capacity by 2021. I ended returning that leased Leaf knowing that 200mi 60kWh electric vehicles would start coming out in 2017!

Laptops Cook Lithium Ion

Laptops often stress the batteries the most, their hot CPU, RAM, GPU and associated chipsets warming the inside of the case, heating the battery which was already warm from discharging resistance heating. Notebook and laptop computers typically cook the battery with heat and users often unknowingly abused the batteries by constantly fully charging them. Lithium Ion batteries hold up the best and last the longest when they are operated between 30 and 80% charged at around 50 deg F. Most laptops run around 100 def F inside and most users constantly overcharge their battery, some even leaving their laptops plugged in constantly. After 2 years of heavy abuse (using the laptop where the cooling vents are blocked by fabric, and constantly plugged in, many users find that the battery will then only run the machine for about 20 minutes before discharging all the way.

Low Voltage Issues

Rapid voltage depression is emblematic of old lithium ion cells. The BMS on an old worn out lithium ion cell will report 4.26V or fully charged but then the battery will quickly drop to 3.6v over a short period after which rapid voltage depression to below 3v happens. The BMS safety circuit usually turns off battery power output when the cells reach 2.9V for safety. Under voltage in a phone can cause the phone to shut off suddenly, which can causes glitches and lost data. If you notice that you phone gives poor batter life, it is probably a good time to have a Batteries + Bulbs swap out the battery.

Multiple Safety Systems for Lithium Ion 

Your smartphone usually makes use of at least 7 different techniques to make sure the battery does not catch fire. Lithium ion energy systems in tablets, laptops and electric vehicles similar:

1. Low Voltage Cutout
2. High Voltage Cutoff
3. High Heat Cutout
4. Short Circuit Cutoff
5. Cell Expansion Circuit Breaker
6. Charger Safety Circuit Cutoff
7. BMS current limiting Cutoff

Lithium Ion Energy Density 

High energy density batteries have a lot of energy bound up in highly reactive chemicals, these cells in their IMR high rate configurations can discharge tremendous current. A single IMR 18650 can discharge more than 30amps peak at 3.6v, something smoke pen enthusiasts count on to heat up their devices vaporization coils, similarly very high output flashlights have individual LED's that can draw 10amp or more! I have a Fenix LD60 with 3 Cree XML bulbs that uses 3 x 18650 IMR for power, or 6 Lithium primary 123A cells! A rare  Lithium Thionyl chloride cells are so powerful that 2 x D sized cells can power a AED (automatic electronic defibrillator)

Consider Energy Density! 


Even they highest energy density lithium ion batteries are only about 350 watt hours per kilogram, dwarfed by gasoline at 12,000 wh/kg and Uranium oxide at 1,440,000,000 wh/kg.

Nuclear fusion takes the energy cake at a level I am not even sure about given the early state of that technology. Compact commercial nuclear fusion energy is not slated to go online until 2025 at the soonest, Northrup Grumman and General Atomic's are partnering to make it happen!

Lithium Ion's net lifetime energy storage capacity more than keeps up with gasoline since you can recharge the lithium ion cell up to 1000 times or more. If you multiply out the 350 watt hours per kilo by the total number of charge cycles, even taking into account losses in efficiency, lithium ion achieves a net lifetime energy storage capacity that is about 30x better than the 1 way air pollution path of gasoline burning!

Size, Weight, Cost, Performance, Safety, Durability, Longevity 


Battery electric devices are a box of trades offs, emblematic of the chemical energy trade offs in lithium ion cell designs. Remember there are more than 100 different chemical / format combos used in lithium ion manufacturing.

Double Run Time


The newest tech that will double energy density is called Lithium Sulfur. Next Gen smartphones and laptops using the LiS chemistry should achieve 2x better single charge run time their the comparable lithium cobalt reference. LiS along with 10nm chipsets will pave the way for ultrabooks with 24 hours of run time per charge! Gaming laptops using this tech will finally have decent battery life by 2020.

The Age of Instant

Instant On Instant off intel X point likewise should bring a new batch of cool features to mobile electronics, while SSD's become cheaper, larger and faster! Lots of cool stuff yet to come because of technological advances. 5G Mobile Gigabit will replace 4G LTE. The thin & light trend with laptops, tablets and cell phones will pave the way for printable polymer electronics.

Lever of Riches

Applied technology is the level of riches bringing wealth and prosperity to the world over as we innovate new ways to go forward with lower emissions, energy efficiency & eco friendly living in harmony with the natural world!

Living Lighter


For billions of people to thrive we all most step forward with a lighter footprint. That means more aluminum and less steel in vehicles, better batteries and radical improvements in IT technology, medicine and molecular chemistry that will pave the way to new materials, the ending of all diseases and ultimately the extension of human lives with genetic reprogramming :) That might sound outrageous in with so many people alive at the same time today, but remember that not everyone will sign up for the trans-humanism movement technologies!

Luddite Fear Amplified

Some already consider such things the mark of the beast, a theological construct about people aligning with evil through technology. The Luddite people may cry foul about information technology, the irony being that even their lives have been touched by a technology we call "fabric", and it is the fabric of the internet, the webs that connect us all that make all the difference. Its not the transistors in a CPU that are important, its is how they are connected, and the same is true of people!

Seeing in New Ways 

With UHD HDR, AR and VR people are seeing the world in new ways, with internet we connect in new ways, with mobile broadband human communication goes to whole new levels. Soon we will plug our brains directly into the smart A.I. hardware, radically improving cognitive performance and memory, then adults will become able to learn faster than children!

Nothing Impossible


We will end up turning the universe on its head by doing things that are consider impossible today. Nothing is impossible! The future is what we choose to make of it right here and now! We are literally making history! 


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