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Boeing looking at interim 787 fixes: WSJ
reuters.com ^ | 2-13-13 | (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

Posted on 02/13/2013 9:20:08 PM PST by rawhide

Two test flights of Boeing Co's (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner have not revealed the cause of the battery malfunctions that grounded the jets, leaving it to focus on low-tech interim fixes, the Wall Street Journal said, citing government and industry officials.

More test flights are planned, including efforts to assess potential fixes, although no significant new clues emerged to help pinpoint the cause of the problem, the Journal said.

Boeing is now considering putting the lithium ion batteries in a sturdier container to stop heat, flames and toxic chemicals from escaping if the power packs overheat, the newspaper said.

People familiar with the design of the container told the Journal that titanium is a possible material for its construction.

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


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; battery; boeing
Boeing is now considering putting the lithium ion batteries in a sturdier container to stop heat, flames and toxic chemicals from escaping if the power packs overheat, the newspaper said.

This has to be one the most asinine thing I have ever heard! The FAA cannot allow this happen!

1 posted on 02/13/2013 9:20:17 PM PST by rawhide
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To: rawhide
This has to be one the most asinine thing I have ever heard!

Me too.

The FAA cannot allow this happen!

Wanna bet?

2 posted on 02/13/2013 9:25:14 PM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable tyranny.)
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To: rawhide

An “interim fix”? Like giving all passengers a bus ticket?


3 posted on 02/13/2013 9:25:28 PM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: rawhide

Why not use aircraft rated lead acid batteries?
They seem to work on fighter aircraft...


4 posted on 02/13/2013 9:32:09 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: rawhide
This has to be one the most asinine thing I have ever heard!

Singular faults that cannot be recreated are the bane of some industries; aviation and space vehicles are among them, but even down to the Earth Toyota got plenty of flak for the stuck accelerator pedal in some cars.

Given what we know, there is only one obvious solution, short of canceling the 787 project and refunding the purchase price. That solution would be:

  1. Make sure that the battery failure will not affect the safety of the aircraft. Prove that to FAA.
  2. Instrument everything that is close to the suspect areas, in all 787 airplanes that exist. Wait for the next failure. Management to have fireproof business suits at the ready; they will need them.
  3. Examine the recorded fault conditions and try to recreate them. Make the battery fail on the ground. Once that happens you have solved 90% of the problem.

5 posted on 02/13/2013 9:35:11 PM PST by Greysard
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To: Jet Jaguar

They don’t meet the RoHS requirements?


6 posted on 02/13/2013 9:35:29 PM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable tyranny.)
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To: rawhide

Plastic piece of CRAP.

This is going to be the end of Boeing.


7 posted on 02/13/2013 9:39:06 PM PST by kennyboy509 ( Ha! I kill me!!!)
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To: rawhide
Hmmm, since it apparently takes more than a few flights for dendrites for form on lithium ion batts, I do not feel especially comforted.

If I was Boeing, I might consider scrapping the lithium in favor of more proven cadmium, weight and space penalty and all.

(Note: I am not a chemical engineer, so I reserve the privilege to be in complete ignorance on this topic.)

.

8 posted on 02/13/2013 9:39:21 PM PST by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: Greysard

Boeing is running these 2-3 hours tests.

What they need to do is fly the 787 on a overseas flight, with all the electronics going full blast, tv’s and cooking appliances and the such, as in the real world. And weigh the plane down as if you have a full load of people, then fly halfway out into the Pacific and then return home. That will tell you more than these short-hop tests they are running.


9 posted on 02/13/2013 9:40:29 PM PST by rawhide
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To: Greysard
... but even down to the Earth Toyota got plenty of flak for the stuck accelerator pedal in some cars.

Which they couldn't re-create because it had never happened in the first place. The "stuck accelerator pedal" turned out to be a hoax.

10 posted on 02/13/2013 9:42:55 PM PST by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Greysard
Suggested revision:

Boeing lawyers Management to have fireproof business suits at the ready

11 posted on 02/13/2013 9:43:21 PM PST by llevrok (The only thing Obama has achieved are rapid executive orders.)
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To: kennyboy509

“Plastic piece of CRAP.”

Far exceeds the life and strength of aluminum!!!


12 posted on 02/13/2013 9:46:18 PM PST by dalereed
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To: rawhide
"Center fuel tank"...

Its a spark that "jumps" (cough 800 cough).

Don't worry...this will be just fine.

13 posted on 02/13/2013 9:55:04 PM PST by Michael Barnes (Obamaa+ Downgrade)
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To: Seaplaner
In a 2010 article, Gizmag quoted Professor Clare Grey as saying, "Fire safety is a major problem that must be solved before we can get to the next generation of lithium-ion batteries and before we can safely use these batteries in a wider range of transportation applications."

I guess we are lucky that nobody was reckless enough to stuff a car with half a ton of those Li-Ion firebombs. Otherwise it might be bad news for owners of those cars.

If I was Boeing, I might consider scrapping the lithium in favor of more proven cadmium, weight and space penalty and all.

Boeing may simply not have that extra space. Otherwise sure, there are tens of proven chemistries that are inherently safe (from fire, at least.) But they are not as capable. If Boeing depends on a certain discharge current from these batteries, retrofit might take a while (months) and you'd have to recertify, which will take even longer. Electrical failure in an airplane can be an unpleasant surprise in the air, especially if all your controls are electrically actuated.

14 posted on 02/13/2013 10:01:25 PM PST by Greysard
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To: Seaplaner; Jet Jaguar

I just looked up aircraft lead acid battery. Apparently the NiCad batteries might be banned because they are to hazardous to the health of recyclers. The article I found talked about the pitfalls of the Lithium batteries and seemed to suggest (air craft) lead acid batteries are the way to go.


15 posted on 02/13/2013 10:05:52 PM PST by Cold Heart
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To: dalereed

Nah uh!

I is the inspector!

The engineers right out of high school don’t know shisa!


16 posted on 02/13/2013 10:10:01 PM PST by kennyboy509 ( Ha! I kill me!!!)
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To: kennyboy509

My next plane will be a Lancair P4, all glass!!


17 posted on 02/13/2013 10:13:40 PM PST by dalereed
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To: rawhide

I understand, from very knowledable family sources, is that the Dreamliner is an electrical hog, as all normally hydraulic systems have been replaced by electric motors.

I also understand that the Japanese airlines are very, very power consious, and may be depleting the batteries excessively, which may then cause generator recharging of the batteries exceeding rates that they can accept charge, leading to heat.

In a short time, Boeing will get to the bottom of this problem! Crisis over!


18 posted on 02/13/2013 10:14:01 PM PST by Noob1999 (Loose Lips, Sink Ships)
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To: Jet Jaguar
No where near the energy density required so the form factor and weight would be much greater; perhaps some of the cases would fit with a load reduction elsewhere in the aircraft but others are said to be form-fitted and could not easily be replaced with bigger cells.

Actually, all they have to do is change from cobalt li-ion to manganese or nickle li-ion. They took a huge gamble with the slightly higher performance of cobalt and lost big.

19 posted on 02/13/2013 10:18:52 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: Greysard

“Examine the recorded fault conditions and try to recreate them. Make the battery fail on the ground. Once that happens you have solved 90% of the problem.”

The answer is known:

These batteries fail in a catastrophic manner due to internal or external shorts. External shorts can be protected against by proper fusing. Internal shorts are not so easy...

Think of it this way. These batteries, although not the power density of a hydrocarbon fuel, still hold an immense amount of energy. And they are capable of extremely high discharge rates, much higher than a lead acid or nickel cadmium battery.

For example, I have one of these on my electric bike. It is rated at 20 amp hours at 36 volts. My battery is capable of delivering 120 amps into a load in 10 minutes. In the case of my battery, it would explode if you tried that. Like I said, fuses can mitigate that risk...

However, internal shorts are another matter. These batteries are the functional equivalent of a gas tank on your lawnmower (or your car) where the oxygen is stored in the same tank, separated by a thin plastic membrane possibly a couple of thousandth of an inch thick.

If one cell fails, the resulting thermal damage will rupture the other cells in the battery and all of a sudden you have a bomb. A KWH of energy released in 10 seconds is 360 kilowatt seconds.


20 posted on 02/13/2013 10:21:06 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: Noob1999
which may then cause generator recharging of the batteries exceeding rates that they can accept charge, leading to heat.

But the charging circuits are charge rate limited and quad-redundant and if one malfunctioned the others would be lighting up warning blinkers like a Christmas tree. There are current and thermal sensors embedded in the systems. I think it is much more likely that an internal short developed in these batteries.

21 posted on 02/13/2013 10:26:44 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: steve86

” I think it is much more likely that an internal short developed in these batteries.”

I think you are right...


22 posted on 02/13/2013 10:31:11 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: steve86; babygene
I think it is much more likely that an internal short developed in these batteries.

These batteries are said to work well in other vehicles, even in those that experience considerable vibration. Ther must be something unique to 787 that causes the problem. Could be pressure change, could be vibration at certain frequencies, could be stray charged particles (those can impact not just the battery, but the controller too. Is the controller fault-proof?)

One bad cause would be defects in manufacturing of those specific batteries that failed. The fire destroys all the evidence (the microstructures that can short the terminals.) You can stare at the good batteries until the cows come home, and you will see nothing and the tests will show nothing. You have to test *bad* batteries - perhaps a large number of batteries, to find those that are bad.

If Boeing cannot find the trigger then they might just as well start designing these batteries out. You cannot sell 50 airplanes for $200M each and then tell the happy owners that they cannot fly them. It's serious money, and there is serious interest on those credits. I'm sure Boeing does everything they can to mollify the customers; otherwise the very first lawsuit will bring Boeing to their knees - and it will be an open and shut case in any court of the world.

23 posted on 02/13/2013 10:44:07 PM PST by Greysard
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To: rawhide
From the NTSB-babe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdCYeGrdhE8

So make the battery manufacturer be made to replace them every 10,000 flt. hours(or much less) until they solve the problem(assuming it really IS a "battery" problem).

Make a mandatory(pre-flight)check for battery condition daily/other with internal monitoring systems galore.

(no-bleed system...gutsy call or ???)

If it were a Republican administration pushing(unproven/green)battery technology...the media would have a field day throwing these type stories back in their face.

24 posted on 02/13/2013 11:05:40 PM PST by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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To: dalereed

“Far exceeds the life and strength of aluminum!!!”

Yeah, I’ll just bet “kennyboy” still drives a horse-drawn buggy. Composites are amazing structural materials.


25 posted on 02/13/2013 11:06:19 PM PST by vette6387
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To: Noob1999

“I understand, from very knowledable family sources, is that the Dreamliner is an electrical hog, as all normally hydraulic systems have been replaced by electric motors.”

If I remember correctly, the batteries involved are used to start the APU, which provides ground power and the means to start the engines. So It’s doubtful that the problem is related to in-flight electrical power which is normally provided by the generators on the engines. BTW, if you have a really new car, you may find that the hydraulics that used to power the power steering have been replaced with an electric motor as well. Much simpler, more reliable, and a whole lot lighter.


26 posted on 02/13/2013 11:15:21 PM PST by vette6387
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To: vette6387
"According to Airbus, the A350’s electrical architecture relies on batteries to supply roughly 550 kilowatts of its onboard power — about one-third of the 1,450 kilowatts of battery power on a 787"
27 posted on 02/13/2013 11:23:51 PM PST by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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To: rawhide

these batteries are needed when the airline
is too cheap to run the APU, or not.

please enlighten me.


28 posted on 02/14/2013 12:27:46 AM PST by RockyTx
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To: babygene
A KWH of energy released in 10 seconds is 360 kilowatt seconds.
29 posted on 02/14/2013 2:54:11 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: rawhide

So the battery is overheating and the solution is to put it in an enclosed metal box???!!!


30 posted on 02/14/2013 5:17:01 AM PST by Flick Lives (We're going to be just like the old Soviet Union, but with free cell phones!)
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To: Michael Barnes

LOL, more like unlocked cargo door failure and a payoff.


31 posted on 02/14/2013 5:30:26 AM PST by USAF80
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To: rawhide

Folks, you have the wrong impression of what these batteries are for. They are not used to run the entertainment and hospitality equipment. They are used to start the APU’s and in emergencies, the avionics.

They are the size of an old desktop PC.

With that said, from the photographs I’ve seen, these packs are poorly designed for use in aircraft:

1) The cells are not partitioned with a cooling system - Air or water jacket around each cell to prevent over or under heating.

2) The electronics in the pack are incorrectly supported for aerospace use - They are held via posts instead of frames and slots.

3) If dedrite growth is the issue, 2 - 3 hour flights will not cause a failure in the short term. Repeated, rapid charge and discharge cycles on a bench will cause the dendrite growth which will eventuall pierce the inter-layer membrain of an individual battery leading to thermal runaway.

Also, there’s way to much speculation being taken as fact here. Go to the NTSB web site and read the investigation reports for facts.

Also, let the engineers do their job. Time more than anything will find the source of this problem.

As an interm, Boeing can probably retrofit nickel metal hydride packs. This will require a recertificaiton of the aircraft however. Which can take months.


32 posted on 02/14/2013 5:31:28 AM PST by Freeport (The proper application of high explosives will remove all obstacles.)
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To: Flick Lives

Yes, But its a sturdy box. Plan B is to have the flight attendants pour ice into the box every hour.


33 posted on 02/14/2013 5:36:39 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: RockyTx

Aircraft batteries serve several purposes. One is to start the APU, another is emergency power in the event of total generator outage (flameout of all engines like Sullys Hudson crash), aircraft need a power source for relays etc so that you can hook up external power.

Airlines use gate power, APU or external power carts when on the ground. The only time they use APUs on the ground is when parked away from a gate or during wait times for taxi, etc. There is a fixed fee for using electrical carts, tow bars, etc.

APUs are very fuel efficient. On the DC-9 we would add an extra 500 pounds of jet fuel to accomodate APU usage. We ran the APUs all night.


34 posted on 02/14/2013 6:27:51 AM PST by USAF80
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To: Flick Lives

I’ve seen the result of a lead battery explosion on an aircraft. The battery was enclosed in an armored box that was perfectly round after the explosion. One of the cells had shorted out. No idea how it happened because the bird was parked for the night with no systems left on.


35 posted on 02/14/2013 6:32:48 AM PST by USAF80
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To: dalereed

>>> Far exceeds the life and strength of aluminum!!! <<<

We will see what problems the plastic tube encounters.
You may remember the Comet disaster.


36 posted on 02/15/2013 2:36:22 AM PST by MHalblaub ("Easy my friends, when it comes to the point it is only a drawing made by a non believing Dane...")
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