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View Poll Results: lithium-ion batteries used in a plane: smart or risky?
Smart choice to save weight. Risks are manageable. 4 28.57%
Wouldn't even be a concern to me flying the plane 2 14.29%
Risky and dangerous. Wouldn't set foot in the plane. 8 57.14%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 19th January 2013, 01:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agdr View Post
So the poll is... lithum-ion batteries in a plane that makes trans-ocean flights: smart move to save weight, or too risky?
This seems to be about a particular chemistry (cobalt-based cathode, liquid electrolyte) being used and the fast charging scheme employed rather than Li-Ion in general - see here : Boeing's Dreamliner batteries inherently unsafe and yours may be too | Ars Technica
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Last edited by abraxalito; 19th January 2013 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 19th January 2013, 11:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
This seems to be about a particular chemistry (cobalt-based cathode, liquid electrolyte) being used and the fast charging scheme employed rather than Li-Ion in general - see here
Wow - that is great article! Well this part of the article is amazing:

The batteries selected for the Dreamliner "were very large scale—65 amp-hour batteries which is very, very large," said Allen. "They are very high power batteries, and they charge them to 90 percent (of capacity) in about 70 minutes. That's a very fast charge for any lithium battery of this size. And that's a problem when there isn't a cooling system incorporated."

0.9C in about one hour, with possibly no external cooling and a 65Ahr capacity! That is around the charging rate an aggressive balance charger for 18650s cells would run at, but those are typically in open air when charging. Some of those plugs with small wires in the photos running to the two circuit boards must be balance charger connections between the cells.

Well one simple thing that would help is drop the charge rate to 0.5C and take two hours instead of one. Should drop the cell temp down. Maybe they figure that plane won't be in the air that long between hops sometimes. Or liquid cool it! Run some chilled inert liquid through the thing to keep it from going into thermal runaway.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 03:18 AM   #13
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Anyone interested in the back story of these battery problems might be interested in this article - What Went Wrong At Boeing? - Forbes

Its clear from this that there's a much deeper problem at Boeing of which battery fires are only one symptom. We do indeed live in interesting times.

Also this article hints that there's not going to be a quick fix - http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...lit-regulators
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Last edited by abraxalito; 22nd January 2013 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 04:38 AM   #14
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I'm not sure I'm OK with cutting-edge technology everywhere in an airplane. There is something to be said for proven technology, especially when safety is a concern.

Batteries are dangerous, period. The one in your car can blow up in your face, and that's one of the chemistries that are considered safe batteries.

I realize that saving (let's assume) 100 lbs on a beast like a passenger jet means who-knows-how-many fewer litres of fuel burned over it's lifetime. A lot, I'm sure.

I understand the reasons for trying to lightweight systems everywhere on the plane. I am even OK with the design team charged to find a lighter battery system; I just am not sure you should actually use the lighter battery given that they do burn at extreme temperatures and create their own oxygen environment to maintain combustion. I don't think that is a good reason to use them on an airplane.

Hey, the WWII Germans used rocket fuel based on peroxide (oxygen-bearing liquid fuel) and it worked. Their jet aircraft also used the same fuel. It was also highly corrosive and dangerous to handle. Nobody after the war continued to use that fuel (much; there are places where real rocket fuel is hard to come by; guess what they do next? They read 50-year old textbooks).

Do the research, but put the X for xperimental in there.

Let's face it ... aircraft are environmental nightmares. I understand fuel saving initiatives but in the end it's a drop into a very large bucket. The hundred or three pounds can be saved somewhere else. Safely.

Nobody ... and I mean nobody ... can argue these batteries are not a fire hazard. The company that developed the electronics for this system had a factory burn to the ground when testing. There are dead FedEx pilots whose plane burned to the ground because of LiONs in the cargo hold. Someone said something about banning laptops and cellphones ... well, for a while they were effectively banned because LiONs were banned on aircraft not so long ago. Then they relented, allowing smaller batteries onboard in checked and carryon luggage. But, yes, it was at one time not legal to carry a laptop with a LiON battery onboard an airplane.

I know what the Boeing guys are saying, and I understand what they mean. It is possible to make these batteries safely, if you dot all the i's and cross all the t's. It's been done in the consumer space, as long as you don't buy eBay replacement batteries for your laptop it's probably OK. But "probably OK" still means a fire or three every million or maybe it's 50 million batteries, or something to that effect.

So how many fires in, say, 100 or even 1 billion flights is "acceptable"? I say none, and "just one" is not acceptable to me. These aircraft have had probably a few thousand flights, and there are already multiple battery issues. Not good enough for me.

Pilots I know say that one event is manageable under almost any flight condition. So, maybe a fire, venting outside, blah blah blah is actually a manageable in-flight event at 40,000 feet over the Atlantic. But doesn't the airplane NEED electricity to work?

Those same pilots also say that if two events happen, you're in trouble, and if three events happen in succession, you are probably living your last moments on Earth.

What happens after the fire? Does everything else work perfectly?
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 22nd January 2013 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 22nd January 2013, 11:56 PM   #15
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Default Problem solved

Living in NY, I noticed in the paper that the batteries were also used to de-ice the wings.

Just put the batteries in the wings.....

In 3 weeks, I'll be on one of those planes.
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Old 24th January 2013, 12:55 PM   #16
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Looks kinda unlikely now that you gonna be on a 787 in 3 weeks.
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Old 24th January 2013, 11:03 PM   #17
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Interesting stuff out in the news this evening. Boeing talked about 4 redundant lithium ion battery safety systems in the 787 design. Sounds like the NTSB has decided they all failed:

NTSB says safety systems on Boeing's 787 failed; probe ongoing - latimes.com

"...the National Transportation Safety Board said backup protections in the aircraft’s lithium ion batteries and electronics systems have failed."

"These events should not happen," Hersman said. "As far as design of the aircraft, there are multiple systems to protect against a battery event like this. Those systems did not work as intended."


Sounds more and more like the situation is going to wind up as a redesign effort to some extent. But the Boeing engineers may go on strike in less than a week:

Boeing engineers union leaders to vote on strike authorization | Reuters

* grabs popcorn* Will be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out!

Last edited by agdr; 24th January 2013 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 28th January 2013, 01:18 AM   #18
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Of course, Boeing might be better off choosing a safer, but less powerful NiMH battery. Sadoway reckons that this battery would have to be 50% heavier perhaps 37 more pounds representing 0.01% of the 787′s 502,500 pound weight in order to deliver sufficient current to the 787.
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MIT Professor: Battery Fix Could Ground 787 Until 2014 - Forbes
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Old 9th February 2013, 12:02 AM   #19
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Sounds like Airbus is considering throwing in the towel on their lithium-ion batteries now:

Airbus May Switch A350 Battery to Avoid 787 Lithium Woes - Bloomberg
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Old 9th February 2013, 01:58 AM   #20
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this morning,

while gettin some free wifi at a local computer store,

the proprietor, says to me,

'the battey in your computer still has 6 months on its warranty ... '
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