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Elon Musk: Boeing 787 battery fundamentally unsafe

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#16 DocM

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:43

Uh-Oh....

http://aviationweek....3_p0-550136.xml

Swelling Found In Second Battery On All Nippon 787

Cells in a second lithium-ion battery on a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner forced to make an emergency landing in Japan last month showed slight swelling, a Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) official said on Tuesday.

The jet, flown by All Nippon Airways Co, was forced to make the landing after its main battery failed.

“I do not know the exact discussion taken by the research group on the ground, but I heard that it is a slight swelling (in the auxiliary power unit battery cells). I have so far not heard that there was internal damage,” Masahiro Kudo, a senior accident investigator at the JTSB said in a briefing in Tokyo.

Kudo said that two out of eight cells in the second battery unit showed some bumps and the JTSB would continue to investigate to determine whether this was irregular or not.

The plane’s auxillary power unit (APU) powers the aircraft’s systems when it is on the ground. National Transportation Safety Board investigators in the United States are probing the APU from a Japan Airlines plane that caught fire at Boston’s Logan airport when the plane was parked.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority grounded all 50 Boeing Dreamliners in commercial service on Jan. 16 after the incidents with the two Japanese owned 787 jets.
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#17 DocM

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:45

O_o

Article on "the fix":http://www.aviationweek.com/awmobile/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_02_20_2013_p0-551029.xml

http://www.aviationw...3_p0-550650.xml

Boeing To Present 787 Fix Proposal To FAA

A Boeing team led by Commercial Airplanes President Ray Conner is set to present details of its proposed near-term solution to the 787 battery issues to the FAA later this week, possibly as early as Feb. 21.

According to airline sources, Conner will present details of the manufacturers’ revised battery system directly to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in Washington D.C. If the plans are accepted then Boeing is understood to have provisional plans in place to begin flight testing the modified system immediately, and for fleet-wide retrofit action which would enable the first 787 to return to service as early as mid-March.

However, given the high-profile nature of the battery probe, and the subsequent review of the FAA’s oversight in connection with the original certification of the 787, it is far from clear if the agency will even consider Boeing’s request until the National Transportation Safety Board has completed its investigation. The NTSB, and its Japanese counterpart, the JTSB, are still evaluating the root cause of multiple battery failures in early January which prompted a worldwide grounding of the 787 on Jan. 16.

Boeing, which revealed additional details of the aircraft’s battery and related electrical system features on Feb. 20, declines to comment on the upcoming appeal to the FAA or on reported details of the proposed interim battery modification. Without identifying specifics, Boeing says that details published last weekend in a local newspaper contain “significant errors and speculation.” The manufacturer adds it is “working tirelessly in cooperation with our customers and the appropriate regulatory and investigative authorities. Everyone is working to get to the answer as quickly as possible and good progress is being made.”

Boeing’s bid for approval, which is based on developing a sturdy containment system and additional sensors, comes as investigators from the JTSB reveal that two cells in the second battery of the All Nippon Airways 787 that made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport on Jan. 16 were “swollen.” Although the emergency was prompted by problems with the main battery, which was badly damaged by burning electrolyte, the signs of apparent degradation were found in the auxiliary power unit battery located in the aft electrical/electronic equipment bay.

The JTSB says the APU battery was initially thought to be undamaged, but adds that subsequent tomographic scans revealed evidence of slight swelling. Officials, however, say that the probe remains focused on the causes of the original failure in the main battery.

Airlines meanwhile continue to make contingency plans to cover for the continued grounding of the 787. United Airlines expects the aircraft to remain out of service through March 30, while Air India expresses hope that the 787 will be back in operation by early April.



#18 Nashy

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:58

Getting a bit close the A350 for these issues now Boeing.

I fear for our QANTAS. They were ****ed around with the 380 and it cost them, not they'll be ****ed around with the 787. They are going to have to continue flying their old heaps of **** 767 fleet.

#19 -Razorfold

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:28

I like how one of Boeing's solutions is "put a box around the batteries so any explosion can be contained"

Wtf Boeing...wtf.

Boeing is to meet with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) tomorrow to discuss temporary methods to fix the problems with the 787's auxiliary power unit, it has been reported.

According to the Associated Press, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' CEO, Ray Conner, is to meet with Michael Huerta, head of the FAA. They will discuss adding more ceramic spacers between battery cells, which Boeing believes will contain any potential fire caused by short-circuiting.

Another solution is to encase the cells in a titanium or steel box equipped with a high-pressure vent to contain and expel any fire.

However, yet more confusion was shed on the cause of the fire yesterday when Japan's Transport Ministry disclosed that the auxiliary power unit it examined was improperly wired.

Investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had already found a different issue. It discovered multiple short-circuiting of eight cells, which caused progressively hotter temperatures, known as a 'thermal runway'.

Without complete understanding of the cause, a long-term solution is still far from sight. Meanwhile, Boeing is incurring significant costs and 787s are reportedly piling up as its production plant.

Last week, Imperial Capital analyst, Ken Herbert, estimated it could cost Boeing $25m a month in direct costs. Air India will now be seeking compensation for the delayed delivery of its 787s and United Airlines has announced that it has scheduled for its 787s to be out of action until at least the beginning of April.


Source: http://afm.aero/news...ick-fix-for-787

#20 +LogicalApex

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:42

I don't think Musk is in a position to categorically say that the 787 battery is fundamentally flawed. Li-Ion batteries are inherently dangerous but can be done safely, as is the case in our phones.

I'm not an aeronautical engineer and even if I were I haven't studied the confidential plans for the Boeing like the FAA and other safety boards have. One thing for sure is that Boeing has every incentive to make the plane as safe as possible. AirBus is closing in on them in a very hardcore manner and planes that are known for dangerous conditions won't get them more orders. So, if the battery is flawed I'm sure they'll replace the design otherwise, the problem most likely lies elsewhere.

#21 -Razorfold

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:48

So, if the battery is flawed I'm sure they'll replace the design otherwise, the problem most likely lies elsewhere.

I dunno. When GS Yuasa tested the batteries back in 2007 the same problem showed up, but they still put them on the 787.

The FAA contracting out 90% of the safety tests / checks to Boeing to sign off on probably didn't help either.

#22 Growled

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:50

Without complete understanding of the cause, a long-term solution is still far from sight. Meanwhile, Boeing is incurring significant costs and 787s are reportedly piling up as its production plant.


I can't feel that sorry for them. They should have analysed the risks going in.

#23 DocM

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:07

I don't think Musk is in a position to categorically say that the 787 battery is fundamentally flawed. Li-Ion batteries are inherently dangerous but can be done safely, as is the case in our phones.
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It's a difference in risk mitigation.

What Musk is challenging is the use of large, high volume cells with poor to middling physical and electrical isolation. Each large cell stores more energy, so if/when it fails more heat is released by a larger volume of material, which is also harder to contain.

OTOH, the Panasonic near-AA size cells Tesla & SpaceX use are more easily isolated and release less total heat if/when they fail. This all reduces the risk to other cells and the battery as a whole.