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Old 28th Jan 2020, 10:17
  #21 (permalink)  
Genghis the Engineer
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 13,774
I suspect that anybody who genuinely knows detail about the cause of the accident isn't putting that knowledge in the public domain this quickly.

But, generically the major issue with Lithium battery fire risk is thermal runaway, cause by some problem of battery thermal management. That can be poor storage, physical damage, incorrect charging cycles - there are plenty of opportunities. The phone industry are reasonably mature in their understanding of that, but with the best will in the world, you can't instantly map knowledge applicable to a $10 phone battery to a $200k aeroplane battery array. There will be more accidents like this, hopefully with similar limitations to only property damage and not loss of life, as our communities develop this knowledge.

Onboard lithium fires in carry on devices, incidentally, are recommended (on the back of quite a lot of research by FAA in particular) to be handled with lots of water - so the use of large quantities of water and foam in this case, would seem entirely consistent. Other firefighting compounds are less likely to cool effectively, and the combustion process does not require external oxygen, so simply excluding air doesn't get you very far.

Most expert commentators have considered the various media releases by Eviation about progress on the Alice to be basically exaggeration and hyperbole. It will be interesting to see how those modify in the light of this.

G
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