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NTSB Lithium Batteries as Cargo on Aircraft Feb 9, 2016

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NTSB Lithium Batteries as Cargo on Aircraft Feb 9, 2016

Old 13th Feb 2016, 06:43
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NTSB Lithium Batteries as Cargo on Aircraft Feb 9, 2016

From the NTSB:


http://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-relea...R20160209.aspx

http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-re...16-001-002.pdf
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 07:29
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Well this is strangely and disturbingly ignorant !
They do not specify what lithium chemistry or state of charge

Lithium iron phosphate does not thermal runaway. There are many different types of lithium batteries and they have quite different properties! State of charge is also very significant

Without any analysis of different lithium chemistrys this is just knee jerk.
I am dissapointed and slightly alarmed.
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 07:54
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This is not the rule, it is a proposal that a rule be established. It isn't even that, it's a press release. Given the loss of life, and property damage, from known Li-io incidents this is probably a good thing.

Any decision needs to be processed through ICAO incorporated into the IATA dangerous goods manual, just for consistency.
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Old 13th Feb 2016, 16:14
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I see nothing disturbing on issuing a recommendation to segregate lithium batteries from other flammable materials. Its common sense. They're just asking for this matter to be better regulated.

NTSB:

Therefore, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendations to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

A-16-001
Require that Class 3 flammable liquids and fully regulated Class 9 lithium batteries be physically segregated when stowed on board an aircraft such that packages containing these materials may not be placed on the same or adjacent pallets or ULDs.

A-16-002
Establish maximum loading density requirements that restrict the quantities of Class 3 flammable hazardous materials or Class 9 lithium batteries stowed on a single pallet or ULD, or on a group of pallets or ULDs, within an aircraft such that cargo fires can be effectively managed by on-board fire suppression capabilities.
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Old 14th Feb 2016, 14:02
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February 9- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued a safety alert to U.S. and foreign commercial passenger and cargo airlines, urging them to conduct a safety risk assessment to manage the risks associated with transporting lithium batteries as cargo. The FAA also is issuing guidance to its own inspectors to help them determine whether the airlines have adequately assessed the risk of handling and carrying lithium batteries as cargo.

FAA battery fire testing has highlighted the potential risk of a catastrophic aircraft loss due to damage resulting from a lithium battery fire or explosion. Current cargo fire suppression systems cannot effectively control a lithium battery fire. As a result of those tests, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have advised airlines about the dangers associated with carrying lithium batteries as cargo and also have encouraged them to conduct safety risk assessments.

Hazardous materials rules currently ban passenger airlines from carrying lithium-metal batteries as cargo. In addition, a number of large commercial passenger airlines have decided voluntarily not to carry rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries. The safety risk assessment process is designed to identify and mitigate risks for the airlines that still carry lithium batteries and to help those that don't carry them from inadvertently accepting them for transport.

The FAA's Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) (PDF) http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviat.../SAFO16001.pdf
encourages airlines that previously conducted safety assessments to reevaluate them in light of new evidence from the agency's recent lithium battery fire tests.
FAA Urges Airlines to Assess Lithium Battery Risks
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 02:06
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Billions of these batteries are in daily use around the world. The vast majority of them do not explode or burst into flames.

Nearly all such incidents have resulted from assembly faults, physical damage to the battery or severe overcharging or short circuiting of the batteries.

As has previously been pointed out, lithium batteries exist with many different chemistries and capacities. Lumping all lithium batteries as extremely dangerous and a hazard to safe flight is foolhardy.

Safer methods (more expensive methods) need to be adopted to keep batteries sufficiently separated and isolated in transport so that if one catches fire, it doesn't affect the others. A single lithium battery fire is spectacular but it usually burns out quickly and self extinguishes. Multiple battery packs are much more dangerous and almost impossible to put out if they catch fire. Isolation and separation would appear to be the key to solving the problem.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 08:19
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seeing into the future

and the date on the press release is this coming Friday

I'm sure it's just a typo

Just commenting

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Old 15th Feb 2016, 15:57
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A properly-designed safe battery has the cells far enough apart that should one cell decide to catch fire, the adjacent cells are sufficiently-well insulated from the heat that they don't go up as well. Certification usually includes testing this, which must be fun to watch from a safe distance. Obviously if there's something else heat-sensitive nearby that will react to the heat then it may cause a general temperature rise that can cause a cascade failure of the remaining cells and a far worse fire.

Any form of lithium cell can generate heat - an internal short will convert all the chemical energy to heat and raise the temperature. Even if it's not a chemistry that will spontaneously catch fire on its own, it may generate enough heat to set off something else, even if it's just the packaging.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 18:05
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Just one word. Hoverboards.

Their batteries not universally designed well. Prone to fires and now banned as hold/carry-on baggage by most airlines

I don't see a problem with well designed batteries, I do see a problem with industries where good design is not important and where their time pressures dictate that they take risks.

It's unlikely that regulations can improve their safety records. But perhaps aviation regulations can save some lives.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 10:36
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The above-posted NTSB recommendation were derived from the investigation of in-flight fire and crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 991 on July 28, 2011.

In that case the B747-400F cargo hold contained two pallets of lithium ion batteries to power an electric car.

There were 18 li-ion batteries -- each 571 pounds (259 kg). Intermixed with the li-ion batteries on the same pallets were flammable liquids.

Each of those batteries is approximately the weight used in a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle.

The actual ignition source was never determined.

If cargo planes are going to carry around mixed pallets of li-ion electric vehicle batteries and flammable liquids, I guess some additional rules or guidelines might be useful.

I hope I am not restricted from taking some spare camera batteries because of this.
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 15:40
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Originally Posted by G0ULI
Billions of these batteries are in daily use around the world. The vast majority of them do not explode or burst into flames.

Nearly all such incidents have resulted from assembly faults, physical damage to the battery or severe overcharging or short circuiting of the batteries.

As has previously been pointed out, lithium batteries exist with many different chemistries and capacities. Lumping all lithium batteries as extremely dangerous and a hazard to safe flight is foolhardy.

Safer methods (more expensive methods) need to be adopted to keep batteries sufficiently separated and isolated in transport so that if one catches fire, it doesn't affect the others. A single lithium battery fire is spectacular but it usually burns out quickly and self extinguishes. Multiple battery packs are much more dangerous and almost impossible to put out if they catch fire. Isolation and separation would appear to be the key to solving the problem.
Great. Now, do you want to be responsible for deciding which individual battery designs of the thousands out there are permissible, and for policing the policy, including verifying that each battery is authentic and not counterfeit?
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 16:27
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What the world needs is a bit more policing by China of the QA in their manufacturing plants. There are all kinds of standards that may be applicable, but too many of the mfgrs go for the CHEAPEST possible product. OTOH, too many consumers demand cheaper and cheaper goods...
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 10:05
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Batteries & Battery-Powered Devices

FYI, (I posted this before), from the FAA:

Subfoot

As of January 15, 2016, 171 air/airport incidents involving batteries carried as cargo or baggage that have been recorded since March 20, 1991

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/...dent_chart.pdf
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 09:24
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I think such batteries should be banned from ALL passenger aircraft holds, and I personally would ban them cargo aircraft too....

there is just too much unreliability and unpredictability , and it's impossible to police from source to transportation. They are too dangerous for air transportation.

If they are too time sensitive to be sent on container vessels around the Globe, then perhaps the manufacturers should cough up and have plants on each continent rather than just having a race to the bottom on production costs and having their plants located in the Far East for example.....
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 11:20
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Would you want this e cig on your plane? France: Exploding e-cigarette sets four cars ablaze - The Local
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 13:39
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The vaping forums are full of modifications to lithium ion batteries in order to bypass protection mechanisms and maximise current flow through the device. More current equals more power to the heating element and a denser smoke or vapour experience.

Applying what is effectively a short circuit to an unprotected lithium ion battery is a well known method for destroying such a battery as evidenced by numerous YouTube videos.

So this battery was either modified or an unprotected design being subjected to abuse by being required to supply current in excess of the design limits.

The article doesn't mention whether the victim was using a commercially available unmodified e-cigarette or one of the vaping devices that use 18650 lithium ion batteries. The 18650 batteries certainly have the power concentration to cause a vehicle fire. The smaller semi-disposable/disposable e-cigarettes with relatively tiny batteries are unlikely to heat up to that extent.

The fact that the victim threw the device onto the passenger seat rather than out the window tends to indicate that it was perhaps somewhat more valuable to her than a bog standard e-cigarette.

I would hope that airport security would remove such a device from a passenger intending to board an aircraft.
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 15:18
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Originally Posted by G0ULI
"So this battery was either modified or an unprotected design being subjected to abuse by being required to supply current in excess of the design limits."
If you read the FAA report, many of the lithium ion fire/smoke incidents on airliners have been caused by e-cigarettes. Do you think all these were modified? How about all the other li-ion incidents from cell phones, camera batteries, flashlights, etc. Were they all modified?: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/...dent_chart.pdf
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 16:07
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joema

It is clear from many of these reports that the batteries were carried loose or in a way that allowed the terminals to short out, or that the electronic cigarettes were packed or carried in such a way that the activation button could be continually pressed. Some of the other devices were being used with non standard chargers or accessories. The point of sales devices used by crew members are a bit more of a puzzle, but intensive use and constant wear and tear on the devices could result in a short circuit developing in flexible cables or connectors.

So no, I do not think that all these devices were modified. I think that they were carelessly packed or used and abused over a period of time until failure occured. Lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries have a huge power density and are dangerous unless treated with a measure of respect.

Boeing, despite recent problems, are still pursuing lithium battery technology in their latest aircraft. If an aircraft manufacturer deems them safe to fit as standard flight equipment then the risks must be manageable at some level.

Carrying pallets of huge lithium cells with an unproven safety record and dubious manufacturing standards on cargo aircraft is another matter altogether. There cannot be any doubt whatsoever that these need to be subject to stingent checks and controls.

Banning what many passengers regard as essential consumer devices for business or holiday use would be pointless. Some would inevitably find their way aboard. Metal bins placed at intervals in the cabin for the containment of faulty consumer devices carried by passengers might be sufficient to migitate some of the risks. Or existing containers on board could be modified and used for such a purpose.

These batteries are here to stay and they are going to end up being carried in aircraft knowingly or smuggled aboard. The important thing is to be aware of the dangers and to be prepared to deal with the problem if an incident occurs.
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 16:41
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E-cigs and "hover boards": a large number of them are improperly designed, lacking over-charge protection circuits to one or more battery cells. So even without any modifications, the batteries are being damaged each time they are left on the chargers. Many also lack suitable over-discharge protection, causing the the cell's anode and cathode to breakdown after each use, eventually leading to a short circuit.

Phones, laptops, and POS devices, usually one or more of:
  • Previous physical / impact damage due to dropping, crushing (e.g., wedged on reclining seats), excessive vibrations, etc.
  • Counterfeit replacement or "extended" batteries
  • Manufacturing defects -- e.g., on older laptops with recalled batteries
The rest tend to be loose spares or improperly packaged batteries shorting on metal cases, coins in bags/pockets, etc.
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 18:11
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Gouli

No point arguing with you, but lithium-ion batteries poorly designed and poorly manufactured are prevalent. There is no way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so strict regulations, based on the lowest common denominator need to be introduced and enforced. Sooner rather than later.

And if that increases the price of gadgets, so be it.
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