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Boeing Dreamliner battery fire hot enough to melt fuselage, tests show
mcclatchchy.com ^ | 1-15-13 | Curtis Tate

Posted on 02/12/2013 4:58:37 PM PST by rawhide

A fire that broke out last week in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner could have been hot enough to melt the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic that makes up the plane’s shell, according to the results of tests the Federal Aviation Administration performed last year.

In the FAA tests, which the agency performed at its site in Atlantic City a year after it certified the Dreamliner, the temperature of the battery fires reached as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The plane’s polymer skin melts at 649 degrees, according to its manufacturer, Victrex Energy of West Conshohocken, Pa.

It also burns at high temperatures. In two lithium battery fire tests last year, temperatures peaked between 1,400 and 2,000 degrees, according to a report of the test results. Some of the battery cells exploded and landed more than 100 feet from the fire, and one of the fires burned for more than an hour.

A Boeing safety document from last year shows the location of the battery in a lower compartment near the plane’s tail section. The compartment, which is not protected by the plane’s fire-suppression system, contains key electrical systems. The battery, which powers the plane’s auxiliary power unit, is close to the plane’s fuselage.

In a separate test last year, the FAA exposed a section of the composite material to fire, and photos in the report show a result that looks like Swiss cheese. Jonas said that 400 degrees is enough to degrade the material. A fire as hot as those in the FAA tests would burn it away.

(Excerpt) Read more at mcclatchydc.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; battery; boeing; energy

1 posted on 02/12/2013 4:58:43 PM PST by rawhide
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To: rawhide

Wood burns hotter than 649 degrees.


2 posted on 02/12/2013 5:00:29 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: rawhide
If people knew how close to the edge (in terms of self-destruction) lithium batteries operate, they wouldn't want to be anywhere near them.

Building them into an airframe strikes me as far-fetched.

Lithium battery packs are protected by active circuitry that keeps them from self-destructing. These single-chip "smart power" devices track charge state, keeping it within proper bounds, and also monitor the temperature of the battery.

Some lithium batteries can be put into a dangerous situation by excessive discharge. No, they don't explode by being drained, but they can become dangerous on subsequent charge cycles once they have been deep-discharged.

3 posted on 02/12/2013 5:08:00 PM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: rawhide

Seems that there is an easy answer to this. There is a weight issue, but no more that a fat woman sitting in isle 23.

Instead of using the latest batteries, revert to nickle cadmium and ditch the Li-Ion.


4 posted on 02/12/2013 5:08:56 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: rawhide

"It can reach millions of degrees - like the earth's core!"


5 posted on 02/12/2013 5:11:56 PM PST by COBOL2Java (Fighting Obama without Boehner & McConnell is like going deer hunting without your accordion)
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To: babygene
I've thought something similar. Reducing the passenger load by 2-3 people should allow for the heavier batteries. I am thinking Boeing does not want to go there because it would be admitting they failed at engineering this battery.
6 posted on 02/12/2013 5:14:15 PM PST by rawhide
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To: rawhide

Looks like the head of Boeing Engineering is on the accelerated list for early retirement.


7 posted on 02/12/2013 5:36:33 PM PST by batterycommander (a little more rubble, a lot less trouble)
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To: rawhide

This would be what is known as a “bad thing”.


8 posted on 02/12/2013 5:49:56 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (There is no requirement to show need in order to exercise your rights.)
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To: driftdiver

About 1700 degrees. Not hot enough to melt copper in a house fire.


9 posted on 02/12/2013 5:51:59 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (There is no requirement to show need in order to exercise your rights.)
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To: rawhide

They could be considering the new, promising batteries based on thermite...


10 posted on 02/12/2013 5:55:58 PM PST by Rebel_Ace (Tags?!? Tags?!? We don' neeeed no stinkin' Tags!)
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To: driftdiver

When does aluminum melt? What temperature?


11 posted on 02/12/2013 6:11:59 PM PST by Thebaddog (Obama won, we are so screwed.)
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To: driftdiver

When does aluminum melt? What temperature?


12 posted on 02/12/2013 6:11:59 PM PST by Thebaddog (Obama won, we are so screwed.)
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To: Steely Tom
Lithium battery packs are protected by active circuitry that keeps them from self-destructing.

Some Chinese manufacturers were rumored to skimp on protective circuitry which may be one of the reasons lithium battery packs have been rumored to catch fire. Who is the manufacturer of the Boeing battery packs?

13 posted on 02/12/2013 6:38:21 PM PST by Western Phil
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To: rawhide

“I am thinking Boeing does not want to go there because it would be admitting they failed at engineering this battery.”

There is a reason why you can’t ship these things by air...


14 posted on 02/12/2013 7:19:28 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: Western Phil

“Lithium battery packs are protected by active circuitry that keeps them from self-destructing.”

No there not. That is false. I have a 2 amp hour 36 volt battery for my bike. This battery will supply 300 amps if shorted (until it explodes). NO active circuitry is going to protect you from that. Period...


15 posted on 02/12/2013 7:26:54 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: babygene

” I have a 2 amp hour 36 volt battery for my bike”

Sorry, typo...

20 amp hour battery


16 posted on 02/12/2013 7:29:24 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: Thebaddog

Depends on the alloy, some versions melt at 1220 deg F. However it loses structural strength and deform much lower temps.

Either way the burning batteries would melt the old fashion aluminum aircraft as well as this new one.


17 posted on 02/12/2013 7:37:59 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Wood doesn’t generally burn at 1700, its much lower at about 700-800 degrees. Its the plastics and other materials that raise the temp of a house fire.

Copper melts at 1980 degrees F.


18 posted on 02/12/2013 7:41:53 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: babygene

I was wondering how a 2 ah battery could supply 300 amp bridged current. It wouldn’t be for very long!

My electric scooter has four 38 ah batteries (AGM) in series.

Regarding the lithium packs, none of my R/C packs have any integrated charge/discharge control circuitry, although the separate balancing chargers are fairly sophisticated. It is possible that in certain applications packs are supplied with integrated circuitry — maybe laptop packs or something like that? The LiFePO4 A123 cells used in tools do not, I am almost positive, and the packs built from similar cells used to replace the SLA batteries in motorcycles and other recreational vehicles do not.


19 posted on 02/12/2013 7:45:10 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: Western Phil

Ali Babba Battery Boys, Inc.


20 posted on 02/12/2013 7:56:08 PM PST by SgtHooper (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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To: Western Phil

Interesting answer to your question: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/business/tv-show-mirrors-a-japanese-battery-makers-bind.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


21 posted on 02/12/2013 8:25:50 PM PST by rawhide
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To: driftdiver

Has Rosie O’Donnell weighed in on this yet?


22 posted on 02/12/2013 8:29:59 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: babygene

Since 1972, a variety of lithium batteries have been used. These include Li/SOCI2, Lithium-silver chromate cell [Li/Ag2CrO4], lithium copper-sulfide cell[ Li/CuS], lithium – thionyl chloride cell, Li/I2-Polyvinylpyridine (PVP), Li/LiI(Al2)3/PbI2,PbS, Pb., lithium iodine, lithium silver vanadium oxide, lithium carbon monofluoride (CFx), lithium-polycarbon fluoride, lithium-cupric sulfide, lithium-thionyl chloride, Lithium-sulfide, Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4), Lithium Cobalt Oxide(LiCoO2), Lithium Iron Phosphate(LiFePO4), Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2), Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2), Lithium Titanate (Li4Ti5O12), and last but not least lithium air. Boeing Engineering pressed the “Easy Button” by selecting the Lithium ion invented by Sony (Japan)in 1991, there are dozens of types to choose from!


23 posted on 02/12/2013 8:31:53 PM PST by Colorado Cowgirl (God bless America!)
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To: Colorado Cowgirl

So... what are you getting at, spit it out.


24 posted on 02/12/2013 8:41:50 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: rawhide

Pretty much any onboard fire would be hot enough to melt any typical airliner fuselage, as we’ve seen many times, unfortunately.


25 posted on 02/12/2013 10:03:29 PM PST by ltc8k6
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To: babygene

Some types of Lithium batteries are more prone to catching on fire, whether it’s in a laptop computer or a jet liner. Maybe do a little more research into other lithium-composite batteries. Some of the ones mentioned are installed in heart pacemakers, so a fire or dead short could be fatal. A 2000 Deg. fire at 40,000 ft could also be fatal for hundreds of passengers.


26 posted on 02/12/2013 10:34:25 PM PST by Colorado Cowgirl (God bless America!)
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To: driftdiver

I’m thinking that the lower melting point of the carbon fiber fuselage is another risk altogether.


27 posted on 02/12/2013 11:08:03 PM PST by Thebaddog (Obama won, we are so screwed.)
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To: Thebaddog

I’d agree its a factor which should be considered. Would a small fire compromise the aircraft? A large fire would be fatal for both metal and the carbon fiber.


28 posted on 02/13/2013 3:36:13 AM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: driftdiver

So they were able to determine that fire is hot, I feel so much safer now.


29 posted on 02/13/2013 4:18:56 AM PST by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: Colorado Cowgirl

“Some types of Lithium batteries are more prone to catching on fire, whether it’s in a laptop computer or a jet liner. Maybe do a little more research into other lithium-composite batteries. Some of the ones mentioned are installed in heart pacemakers, so a fire or dead short could be fatal. A 2000 Deg. fire at 40,000 ft could also be fatal for hundreds of passengers.”

The batteries in question are s fire risk for one reason; internal or external shorts combined with the ability of the battery to source extremely high currents. External short risks are easy to manage with just a fuse. Internal shorts are not so easy to handle.

BTW, my wife has two pacemakers and the batteries are not rechargeable...


30 posted on 02/13/2013 6:58:14 AM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: Western Phil

I’m curious who the manufacturer is, too. It’s pretty telling that we’ve never heard them named. The media sure is having fun cracking Boeing for a VENDOR problem.


31 posted on 02/23/2013 8:17:48 AM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity (Liberalism is a social disease.)
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To: Western Phil

I’m curious who the manufacturer is, too. It’s pretty telling that we’ve never heard them named. The media sure is having fun cracking Boeing for a VENDOR problem.


32 posted on 02/23/2013 8:18:02 AM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity (Liberalism is a social disease.)
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