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Why electronic devices despise water

by Russell Crowe

We all know that water is bad for electronic devices and should stay away from them at all cost. Phone manufacturers go to such great lengths to keep their phones dry such as including water resistance, coating the circuitries with waterproof materials, writing warning labels etc But why? why is water so bad for electronic devices?

There are a few ways in which water destroys electronic devices.

Why electronic devices despise water: Short-Circuiting.

Let’s get some things straight. Water isn’t exactly bad for electronic devices. Pure water that is. Water that is strictly hydrogen and oxygen. But more often than not, most of the water we find around ourselves isn’t exactly pure. The water around us and close to our devices have dissolved minerals in the form of Ions. Which is good for us to drink but not o much for electronic devices.

Ions are free atoms roaming around. they usually have a charge, either positive or negative. These Ions are single atoms of elements floating around in the water. They are either positively or negatively charged. negatively charged due to the presence of free electrons in the atom.

Remember electricity is the flow of electrons. Those free electrons in impure water flow through the water. The water becomes a conductor like the cables in the circuit. A cable that connects to all the wrong places. As the electrons flow, they want to flow where there is the least resistance to their flow. And the resistance of the flow of electrons is incredibly important in maintaining the amount of current going to certain parts of the circuit.

Electrons will prefer to flow through a less resistive medium and in this case, might be water. So electrons will flow to places they are not supposed to and in amounts, they are not supposed to be in.

The more impurities in the water, the more damaging that water can be to your device. Distilled water has little to 0 impurities and is considerably safer than tap water with more impurities which is itself safer than seawater.

Why electronic devices despise water: Corrosion

Another way for water to destroys electronic devices is by corrosion. Water getting into a device will cause corrosion to the internal elements of the device or at least speed it up. Which will later reduce the device’s lifespan.

Why electronic devices despise water: Batteries

Water of any sorts getting into the battery is bad. Even the distilled water. especially electrolyte batteries like lithium-ion batteries, where lithium reacts violently and explosively when it comes into contact with water which causes instant death. to the battery that is.

Water in the batteries can also react with the alkaline solutions in the electrolyte of the battery and cause either immediate or a slow death to the battery.

Why electronic devices despise water: Screens.

Water is especially bad for screens. Especially LCD screens. Water getting in-between the glass and the digitizer is game over for the screen. And there is no recovering from that one. As for OLED screens, the components that form the glowing part of the display despise water.

Most smartphones come with an IP rating. Which rates how water resistant the device is. These water-resistant devices aren’t exactly invincible to water. They just prevent water from getting into the circuitry by sealing all points of passage of water into the phone with a glue of sorts. I would generally trust the IP ratings of devices less and less as the device ages.

If water does however manages to get into your device. The thing to do is to try and get as much water out as possible by drying and hope for the best that the damage is not severe.

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