Australian cyclist Gareth Clear has suffered serious injuries after a fall-damaged iPhone 6 battery burned his leg.
According to Apple Insider, the biker suffered third-degree burns due to the accident, but he is not blaming Apple for his injuries. The Australian seeks instead to increase awareness of the potential dangers of portable batteries.
Just as he was about to start moving, his foot slipped on the pedal and Clear fell off his bicycle. The biker said that after he had his bicycle accident he just saw smoke coming out of his back pocket. Then, all of a sudden he felt a surging pain. When he checked his leg, the biker saw a black discharge and felt a smell of phosphorus.
Clear suffered third-degree burns on his upper right thigh as a result of rupturing the battery. In order to repair the damage, the Australian biker had to have a skin graft.
When Clear posted about the accident on Twitter, he received at first what it is likely just an automated response from Apple. Since that initial response, Clear has been contacted about the incident by Apple Australia. According to 9To5Mac, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also investigating the incident.
Due to their propensity to maintain a charge in periods of low use and a high energy density, lithium-ion batteries are common in today's portable electronics. Lithium cobalt oxide is used in most portable electronics for the best performance. However, when disrupted by puncture or impact, the oxide can be dangerous because of a flammable electrolyte and pressurization.
Lithium-ion batteries can provide more protection to users if they implement several required safety features. An over-charge situation can be prevented by protective circuitry. However, faulty chargers can damage the overcharge protection and Apple has criticized the use of low-quality third-party chargers.
According to CNET, at around 1 in 10 million, the overall failure rate of lithium-ion batteries is extremely low. However, the increasing number of batteries used in consumer electronics devices has lead to an average of 600 incidents per year, mostly of them resulted from impact.