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Lithium-ion batteries may be banned from some airplanes’ cargo after Boeing 787 fires

Now it appears that the International Air Transport Association, a trade organization, wants to ban shipment of such batteries in the cargo... From reading a recent IATA statement, it appears the ban may apply only to batteries in cargo, and not batteries carried by passengers in devices such as tablets, phones and other computers. ( More...

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Bryan Biggs 5
The difference between cargo and individual pax is the concentration of batteries. There have been on board incidents with single lithium-ion batteries that have been successfully contained. When shipped as cargo there are many batteries all in the same area of the cargo bin. If one battery buried deep inside a shipment has a short that results in a thermal runaway the problem then spreads to the next battery and you end up with a cascade effect. The end result is a very intense and concentrated fire that can and will take down an aircraft. The on board fire and loss of a UPS 747 in the UAE has been traced back to its cargo of lithium-ion batteries. Essentially IATA is finally realizing the threat that these shipments represent to aircraft. I am all for the ban. Ship them by boat, I don't want a bunch of them sitting down below me. They are as bad as large concentrations of O2 generators in my opinion.
Jeff Lawson 5
Fires on cargo boats aren't very ideal either :)
Torsten Hoff 2
The difference is that a fire on a cargo vessel doesn't jeopardize hundreds of lives, and there would be enough time to get everybody off the ship and into lifeboats if the fire can't be contained.
Grahame Higgs 1
The fire can be contained using the right suppression agent. There is an agent called F-500 that extinguishes three dimensional fires by quickly dropping the temperature of the burning object to below it's flash point. Works well on Li batteries.
zachariekd06 1
Grahame, from my understanding of dropping-temperature agents, they would NOT be efficient on packed and concentrated lithium batteries. YES, It would work on a single battery or computer inside a small container. But only IF this container structure can handle thousands of degrees for a couple minutes...(cf my comment ontop).
And by the way free-radical agents don't work on on thoses self running fires (no oxygen needed).
zachariekd06 1
Yep you're right Jeff. But an uncontained fire inside an airship always has to finish on earth... If not landed on a runway quick-enough so that you can prepare and drink your cup of tea, pilots will have to land the aircraft on a non-prepared surface or dich it.
Then, hazard put appart, you gain about 10 minutes carrying thoses goods by boat ;)
AccessAir 1
Very much in the same way that the Oxygen Generators brought down Valujet in the Everglades....
Er.A.K. Mittal 4
An ounce of precaution is better than a pound of cure .
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
We all know from our school level knowledge of Chemistry that while charging , electrical energy is converted into chemical energy and in the process heat is generated . The charging current ( and thus the voltage and time ) depends upon the quantity of chemicals and size of electrodes used . All systems are designed to have a variable resistor to control the current/voltage . As soon as charge is picked up the internal resistance between electrodes increases which reduces the charging current and the heating is also reduced . The impurities invariably create path of least resistance and hence the charging current may increase causing additional/excessive heat ! Purer the chemicals higher will be the resistance and better will be the charge retention . The rest of the story can easily be built by the esteemed readers ! Who faltered and where and how ?
Larry Bassett 1
As always, I learned more reading what the experts have to say (you guys) than anywhere else. Just went around and around with the people at USPS when I tried to ship my old I phone to a relative in Europe. They had notice after notice about allowing them to be shipped yes/no/yes/no with no explanation given. Now I understand what the problem is... Thanks!
zachariekd06 1
Ban those Lithium batteries and you'll have them in your aircraft anyway! This is a big money industry...Shippers will hide them or not declare them if necessary.

The model-airplane industry has been very much concerned with this batteries runaway problems for almost a decade. They developped Kevelar-bags in which to dispose Lithium-Polymer batteries (which are EXTREMELY subjet to runaway and fire-jets).

Thus, I believe being "all for the ban" is not the final option. What do you think of radioactive materials in cargo AND passengers aircraft? This is all the same: the transport industry needs appropriate and CHEAP individual fire containing packages, that shippers can afford and must use.

Some companies i.e. Air France have applyied a strict policy for Lithium batteries in cargo-only Aircraft. But a PACKAGING regulation for these batteries must be the next step and has to be settled by the ICAO and national authorities.
A red-herring? Diversion tactics? Ridiculous and unfounded.
Wingscrubber -2
Hrm... on most passenger flights, probably 3 quarters of the occupants are probably carrying some sort of mobile device powered by a lithium ion battery. This seems a little over-zealous and under-informed to me.
Not under-informed at all. Having watched a laptop battery run onto a chain reaction, with temps reaching 1000f, it is quite hard to contain more than one pack. Mind you, this is both a chemical and metal fire. They are not easily extinguished.

So I rather doubt this is a case of over-reaction.
Grahame Higgs 1
We have had reliable success on chemical/metal three dimensional fires using an Encapsulator Agent rather than foam or water.
Torsten Hoff 0
If something does go up in flames, it is more quickly detected and dealt with in the passenger cabin than buried inside luggage stuffed inside a container.
Wingscrubber 2
Fair enough, that would explain the desire for the ban.
usad 2
The aircraft batteries are also much larger than any of those devices you named, much less their tiny batteries.
Wingscrubber 0
Sort of like the ban on carrying chemical oxygen generators then...
Bryan Biggs 2
Yep exactly, We still have O2 generators as part of the Pax Emerg O2 system. They are never allowed to be shipped together as cargo. That is when the problems arise. If one has a thermal runaway it can be handled, but group them all together and then yes you end up with the tragic UPS and ValueJet outcomes.


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