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Lithium-Ion Batteries Linked to Airplane Fires 244

smellsofbikes writes "The National Safety Transportation Board thinks it's possible that lithium-ion batteries caused a fire that destroyed a United Parcel Service airplane on Feb 8, 2006. The FAA already bans non-rechargeable lithium batteries from air shipment because aircraft don't carry fire suppression equipment capable of extinguishing lithium fires. The interesting thing is: these batteries aren't being used or charged, they're just being shipped: spontaneous battery combustion. Is this something that happens in the back of computer stores, or just on airplanes?"
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Lithium-Ion Batteries Linked to Airplane Fires

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  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @05:34PM (#15733932)
    That is most likely what they'll let RECHARGEABLE Li batteries onboard but not full capacity non-rechargeable Li batteries. With all the ways the batteries can be damaged before they're put on the planes, there's too much of a risk of fire from latent fires due to damaged cells.

    This is also why there aren't lots of fires in the backrooms of computer stores. All those laptops not only don't have charged batteries but they've probably already been inspected for damaged packaging.

    Atleast that's my theory.

  • Re:squished? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday July 17, 2006 @05:36PM (#15733953) Homepage Journal
    Also, you CAN completely discharge a rechargeable lithium battery and then recharge it. (How do I know it was completely discharged? Stupid me put it in my pocket with change and keys - so you KNOW that it got shorted out at some point - but it was totally dead, so no harm done).

    Assuming you're talking about a fairly modern battery, it probably wasn't completely discharged. Most modern Li-Ion batteries contain a voltage regulator and a low-voltage cutoff. If the voltage drops below a certain point, they cut off power flow out of the battery to prevent you from destroying it by fully discharging it.

  • Re:squished? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RetroGeek ( 206522 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @06:13PM (#15734181) Homepage
    This public service message brought to you by the Society to Protect Stupid People.

    Whatever for?
  • by NeuroManson ( 214835 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @06:17PM (#15734200) Homepage
    It makes one wonder why everyone's touting electric/hybrid vehicles that run off of li-ion or polymer batteries. If people (erroneously) thought that hydrogen cars would do a Hindenberg in their driveway, wait til they find out about this.
  • Re:squished? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dfung ( 68701 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:27PM (#15734538)
    This public service message brought to you by the Society to Protect Stupid People.

    Whatever for?

    If it wasn't for the Society, there would be nobody to get "First Post"!

  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <> on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @08:04AM (#15735587) Homepage
    I don't think the modest pressure drop (from 14.7 psi at sea level to 9.5 psi at 3500 m) is going to cause accidents.

    I don't know if I'd categorize that as a "modest" drop. That's 1/3 of an atmosphere. That's low enough pressure to manifest measurable, visible symptoms of hypoxia in humans not accustomed to the high altitude. Airplanes are forbidden from flying above 10,500 MSL for more than 30 minutes without carrying oxygen. Living at 11,000 full time would definitely affect sea-level folk, and I don't think it's too much of a stretch to consider that it may affect other pressurized items, too.

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