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Not so Smart phones (again)

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Not so Smart phones (again)

Old 12th Apr 2021, 14:02
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Not so Smart phones (again)

Another lucky escape with a pallet load of mobile phones burning itself out on the apron at HKG yesterday. Somewhat alarmingly no sign of a a fire service in the 3-minute video while two adjacent pallets also ignited and handlers standing around chuckling? The potential for further disaster on the ground or after loading is horrendous. Clearly we haven't learned much after losing UPS and MAS .....
https://www.airlive.net/incident-car...-kong-airport/




Last edited by Senior Pilot; 12th Apr 2021 at 22:15. Reason: Add video: it isn’t difficult
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 15:18
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Exclamation

It is clear to me, that the Airport Fire Service was arriving at the scene right at the very start of the video in your link! However, still very worrying that that this type of cargo can burst into such an intense fire so readily. 😬

Edit / Actually I think the video you saw got swapped for another!

Last edited by Out Of Trim; 12th Apr 2021 at 15:39.
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 16:58
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I think that Li ion batteries are supposed to be mostly discharged before transport on airplanes, if that's not the case here then it's pretty scary.

Last edited by Pugilistic Animus; 22nd Apr 2021 at 22:43.
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 17:13
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Li ion batteries do not like being completely discharged, typically those fitted in mobile phones are charged to about 40% capacity so that the gradual drain of a powered off phone does not discharge them to the point of damage during pre-sale storage.
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Old 12th Apr 2021, 22:01
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Feathers McGraw...ah I see, thanks
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Old 13th Apr 2021, 01:05
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offa

On the right, big red fire truck, right at the start of the video.
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Old 13th Apr 2021, 08:13
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I am not a pilot - merely a keen aeromodeller who uses lithium polymer (li-po) batteries to power radio-controlled model aircraft. We have taken an old, smallish (3 cell, 2200mah) li-po in a clapped out, discharged state (3 volts a cell approx, compared with 3.7 volts nominal and 4.2 volts fully charged), placed it on a brick in the middle of a field, shorted it out and run off.

The result is a battery which puffs up and then generates a phenomenal amount of smoke with significant charring to the wet grass around the brick. So much for clapped out. Catastrophic in a plane I should think.

Most of the incidents with these batteries in the aeromodelling world appear to be caused by faulty battery chargers/electronic component failure in aircraft or human error in handling (dropping batteries, crashing planes etc). We never leave batteries unattended when charging and whenever possible charge in the open air.

Some time ago the AAIB reported on batteries which had caught fire in a full-size glider which had an electric motor, fortunately on landing if I remember correctly.

So, items to be handled and stored with the greatest of care. My laptop and mobile phone haven't caught fire while I have been writing this, fortunately, but their batteries may be lithium ion about which I know little.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 05:15
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Garuda are now refusing to carry shipments of the VIVO Y20 phones. Looks like another Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/gar...-airport-fire/
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 07:10
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So according to the news report, the hazardous phones are now loaded onto passenger flights instead of cargo planes
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 19:55
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Arrive and observe?

Originally Posted by Out Of Trim View Post
It is clear to me, that the Airport Fire Service was arriving at the scene right at the very start of the video in your link! However, still very worrying that that this type of cargo can burst into such an intense fire so readily. 😬

Edit / Actually I think the video you saw got swapped for another!
Arriving but not appearing to do anything for 3 minutes e.g. try and put the fire out or separate from the adjacent pallets or remove it from the vicinity of other aircraft?
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 19:56
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Originally Posted by Feathers McGraw View Post
Li ion batteries do not like being completely discharged, typically those fitted in mobile phones are charged to about 40% capacity so that the gradual drain of a powered off phone does not discharge them to the point of damage during pre-sale storage.
These are Li-Po batteries but I guess same applies ....
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 20:08
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The type of lithium-based battery depends on a number of things, one designed for use in a phone will have internal protection against overcharge,over (and under) temperature, over current on discharge and will also terminate discharge at a recoverable voltage. However, there is always an internal point where a short circuit in a battery is between the battery material and the protection circuit which means an internal failure or damage is not protected.

A friend of mine is currently building an electric scooter using raw, unprotected battery packs with a charging and motor drive system of his own design. The degree of additional paperwork he had to sign to obtain these is considerable, they were also not shipped by air but in special packaging by sea.

Whatever you do, a battery is an energy storage device, it is potentially able to turn that energy into heat very rapidly if mistreated. Pushing capacity limits in a cell is a way of increasing the risks, battery development is a continuing process, as we saw with Samsung it is possible to overstep the mark. Boeing also had a similar experience with 787s.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 20:17
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Originally Posted by offa View Post
These are Li-Po batteries but I guess same applies ....
Yes, there is no fundamental difference beween Li-ion and Li-polymer in this regard, they all have electrolytes that give off oxygen when they break down under heat.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 21:05
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and you forgot to add that in this case, unlike normal alkaline batteries, the electrolyte is highly flammable.
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Old 15th Apr 2021, 22:59
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The Batteries in question are serious trouble, I would think the Fire Fighters were aware of the risk and stayed clear. They tend to spit and fizz a bit as each cell reaches ignition temperature. These little batteries are multi cell and, if damaged or defective, can go into "thermal runaway". All it takes is one cell ( batteries can have 36 or probably more these days) to overheat and a chain reaction starts. Testing has shown temperatures over 1000 degrees celsius to occur in only a couple of minutes. Remember the pictures of the melting superstructure of Frigates in the Falklands? Apply that to an aircraft in flight and you get the picture.
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