Most people have already been there – in a situation where they have dropped their phones in water, spilled their beverages all over their Android or iOS devices. Here is what you need to do if you spill any kind of liquid on your phone.
First, Turn off the Phone
You should immediately power down the device and reduce the chance of any electronic components from a shortage. Next, use a SIM card removal tool or a pin to pop open the SIM tray and remove the SIM card. The liquid could have gotten into the tiny opening and you want to avoid having to replace your SIM card too. It’s not a big expense, but it can be a pain to deal with. Also, take out the battery if your device allows it.
This sounds like it’s something simple but this is actually where things could get tricky. Rice is the ever-popular urban legend, but it might not be the best possible material to soak up excess water. Don’t even think about taking a hairdryer to your phone. Added heat could easily cause corrosion if there was any water on its hardware. Instead, start with a microfiber cloth that’s similar to the one you use to wipe smudges off your glasses. Use a cloth to wipe down the components if you can’t remove the back panel.
About the Rice…
You could try powering your device at this point to assess any damage. However, it’s recommended to take a further step before risking turning it on. Submerge your phone in a desiccant. It’s a substance that can induce dryness by absorbing water.
Rice is not as absorbent as you think. A company that is known for buying broken and used devices and then reselling them, conducted a series of various experiments to which decisions work best with which phones. Six out of nine phones did power back on after using the rice method. Another two were recovered to the point that the user would be able to pull most of the data from the phone. Interestingly, Samsung devices did better with the rice than iPhones.
If the Device Fails…
If your phone was submerged in water for a good amount of time, you still have options. Apple accepts water-damaged phones as part of its trade-in program, though you will have tempered expectations about how much money you will get on a gift card, in return.
According to Albert Einstein’s famous E=mc2 equation, if two suitably energetic photons, or light particles, collide, matter in the form of an electron and its antimatter opponent, a positron, should result.
However, the process that was discovered by Einstein, which was first described in 1934 by American physicists Gregory Breit and John Wheeler, has long been one of the most difficult to observe in physics, because the colliding photons would have to be highly energetic gamma rays, which scientists have yet to create. Alternative experiments have demonstrated the production of matter from many photons, but never in the one-to-one ratio required to confirm the phenomenon.
However, experts at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York believe they have discovered a solution. They were able to make data that can fit expectations for the bizarre changing act using the laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).
Zhangbu Xu, who is a physicist at Brookhaven Lab, says in a statement that in their paper, Wheeler and Breit already realized that Einstein’s equation is a nearly impossible thing to be done, given that lasers didn’t even exist back then. However, Wheeler and Breit proposed another alternative: accelerating heavy ions. Their alternative is what they are doing at RHIC.
How Does It Work?
Instead of directly accelerating photons, the researchers sped up two ions, positively charged atomic nuclei stripped of their electrons, in a large loop before sending them past each other in a near collision. Because ions are charged particles traveling at near-light speeds, they also take an electromagnetic field with them, which contains a bunch of not-quite-real ‘virtual’ photons “flying with [the ion] like a cloud,” according to Xu.
Virtual particles are particles that exist only for a brief moment as perturbations in the fields between genuine particles. They aren’t as populous as their real-life equivalents (unlike their real counterparts that have no mass, virtual photons do have a mass). When the ions whizzed past each other in a close call in this experiment, their two clouds of virtual photons functioned as if they were real. When the real-acting virtual particles collided, they created a very real electron-positron pair, which the scientists were able to detect.
The physicists had to make sure that their virtual photons behaved like actual ones to be a valid observation of the Breit-Wheeler process, or as true as feasible using virtual particles. The physicists observed and examined the angles between more than 6,000 electron-positron pairs produced by their experiment to check the behavior of the virtual photons.
When two real particles collide, the secondary products should emerge at different angles than if two simulated particles collided. However, the simulated particles’ secondary products bounced off at the same angles as real particle secondary products in this experiment. As a result, the researchers were able to confirm that the particles they were observing behaved as if they had been created by a real encounter. The Breit-Wheeler process had been successfully demonstrated.
Albert Einstein’s Huge Contribution to Science
The energy and mass distribution of the systems were also measured by the researchers. In a statement, Brookhaven physicist Daniel Brandenburg said, “They are compatible with theory calculations for what would happen with real photons.”
Nonetheless, the virtual photons utilized in the experiment related to Einstein’s equation are indisputably virtual, even if they appear to behave like actual particles. This raises the question of whether the experiment truly demonstrated the Breit-Wheeler process, but it’s still a crucial first step until scientists build lasers powerful enough to demonstrate the process with real photons.