Boeing’s Flaming Battery Fix: Time to Slow Down?

787dreamlinerJust a quick note for those following this fascinating story.

Michael Sinnett, Boeing’s chief project engineer, said in a recent briefing that “Boeing is redesigning its batteries to ensure a fire isn’t possible. Among the new features will be a fire-resistant stainless steel case that will prevent oxygen from reaching the cells so fire can’t erupt.” (from “NTSB Contradicts Boeing Claim of No Fire in 787 Battery,” by Alan Levin , 15 Mar 2013 Bloomberg).

The problem with that statement is that once a lithium battery is heated sufficiently, it releases its own oxygen to fuel continued burning/explosion. That’s why lithium fires are extremely difficult to extinguish, and why an outer case, although it may keep a fire from spreading, will not prevent a fire from erupting.

-Ed Walker

Posted on March 15, 2013, in Batteries, Failure Analysis, Risk Assessment, Thermal, Troubleshooting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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