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Thread: Boeing 787 Dreamliner & Battery Issues

  1. #1
    FFE until Model 3 rabar10's Avatar
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    Boeing 787 Dreamliner & Battery Issues

    Reuters - Most Boeing Dreamliners grounded for battery checks

    I wondered when the FUD tie-ins to EVs would happen...

    AP - Lithium batteries central to Boeing 787 woes
    The 787 is the first airliner to make extensive use of lithium-ion batteries to help power its energy-hungry electrical systems. The batteries charge faster and can be better molded to space-saving shapes compared with other airplane batteries.

    "Unfortunately, what Boeing did to save weight is use the same batteries that are in the electric cars, and they are running into the same problems with the 787 as the problems that have shown up in electric cars," said Paul Czysz, professor emeritus of aeronautical engineering at St. Louis University.

    The lithium-ion batteries in several Chevrolet Volts used for crash-testing caught fire in 2011. General Motors engineers eventually figured out that the fires were the result of a battery coolant leak that caused electrical shorts after side-impact crash tests. GM retrofitted the car with more steel to protect the battery. No fires were ever reported on real-world roads.
    This quote from Dr. Czysz is a cheap shot. Yes, Li-ions require special handling, and Boeing needs to figure out what's going on here, but I highly doubt these aircraft battery issues were caused by a battery coolant leak, and they certainly weren't the result of crash-testing. Separate issues.
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    It's about THIS car. Al Sherman's Avatar
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    Is battery coolant more flammable than 30 gallons of gasoline?
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    There was an article here today in a technical magazine that blamed the battery chemistry: Article

    This is the relevant bit, where it's shown how prone to thermal runaway the different chemistries are. The batteries in question are LiCoO2 which weren't entirely stable.
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    I'm sure there's also some design error in the battery packs, which allow them to go into thermal runaway in the first place. (Or maybe faulty cells?)
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  4. #4
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    There are all kinds of hazardous materials in an airplane, e.g. kerosene. Vapours from kerosene have caused airplanes to blow out of the sky.

    Preventing that is a matter of careful design and operation to eliminate the risks. The process for getting an aircraft certified as incredibly thorough. Due to that level of attention, mechanical causes of aircraft accidents are actually pretty rare. Boeing and the supplier of that component have both made a serious error in design, testing, and validation.

    I should also point that a car that catches on fire can be stopped and abandoned in a few seconds. Not so for an airplane.
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    Boeing & Battery Issue

    Is there a comparability between the lithium batteries being used in the Boeing Dreamliner and the Tesla Model S? Given the current news events regarding potential concerns with lithium batteries allegedly causing concerns in the Boeing Dreamliner fleet it would seem prudent for Tesla to clarify if there is or why there should not be any similar issue or concern.

    I would assume that this is a factual question and other posters may well know the answer to this question.

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    moderator TEG's Avatar
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    Lithium-ion batteries pack a lot of energy and challenges | Business & Technology | The Seattle Times
    ...“It’s clear that there are some issues associated with thermal management,” said Donald Sadoway, a battery expert and the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT...
    ...Tesla roadsters addressed the issue by using thousands of little, finger-sized batteries, clustered together...
    ...Boeing is the first company to use lithium-ion technology for the main batteries in a commercial airplane. The supplier of those recently also won a contract to upgrade the international space station to lithium-ion batteries...
    ...Boeing seems to have “an engineering issue that just has to be resolved. But I would be surprised if they don’t continue to use lithium-ion batteries in the 787.”...
    ...Based on information posted on its website, Boeing supplier GS Yuasa appears to be using lithium cobalt oxide cathode material...
    - - - Updated - - -

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news...o-overheating/
    ...
    Lithium-ion batteries have been known to cause fires in cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles. But such problems are extremely rare, and usually result from damage to the battery—such as piercing or overcharging—or problems with the manufacturing process that introduce flaws in the cells.
    Boeing’s 787 is the first commercial aircraft to use lithium-ion batteries, according to GS Yuasa, the Japanese battery manufacturer that supplies the batteries. The company also supplies batteries for the International Space Station and electric railcars, among other applications.
    The chemistry—and safety—of lithium-ion batteries varies. According to GS Yuasa’s website, the batteries it uses for Boeing’s 787 use lithium cobalt oxide electrodes. These are known for high-energy storage capacity, but other battery chemistries, such as lithium iron phosphate, are more resistant to overheating. Because of safety concerns, many electric vehicle makers have shifted to alternative chemistries, sacrificing some energy storage capacity...
    http://www.s399157097.onlinehome.us/...s/LVP10-65.pdf
    ...“Inappropriate handling or application of the cells can result in reduced cell life and performance, electrolyte leakage, high cell temperatures, and even the possibility of smoke generation and fire.”...
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    S-P85#8,766 X-Sig#1,372 araxara's Avatar
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    Shouldn't that NTSB Federal Investigator be wearing gloves? I would think they need to minimize the contamination at the site - at least that's what they do on crime drama TV shows.

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    Member Puyallup Bill's Avatar
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    I, for one, am not the least bit concerned. I am not aware of any Model S, Roadster, LEAF, or Volt battery fires, except the Volt fire caused by NTSB's failure to observe proper procedures after a crash.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    We've been using these things on satellites (e.g. LiNi-AlCoO2 chemistry) for a decade without mishap, and they take some real abuse during the launch and can claim a lifetime to 80% of 18 years. So there is nothing fundamentally novel about aerospace use of Li-ion.

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