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NTSB issues sixth update on JAL Boeing 787 Li-ion battery fire investigation

30 January 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board released the sixth update on its investigation into the 7 January fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston. The examination of the damaged battery continues. The work has transitioned from macroscopic to microscopic examinations and into chemical and elemental analysis of the areas of internal short circuiting and thermal damage.

Examination and testing of the exemplar battery from the JAL airplane has begun at the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center laboratories. Detailed examinations will be looking for signs of in-service damage and manufacturing defects. The test program will include mechanical and electrical tests to determine the performance of the battery, and to uncover signs of any degradation in expected performance.

As a party contributing to the investigation, Boeing is providing pertinent fleet information, which will help investigators understand the operating history of lithium-ion batteries on those airplanes.

An investigative group continued to interpret data from the two digital flight data recorders on the aircraft, and is examining recorded signals to determine if they might yield additional information about the performance of the battery and the operation of the charging system.

In addition to the activities in Washington, investigators are continuing their work in Seattle and Japan.

January 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

There is a very interesting piece by Verge interviewing Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO on the Dreamliner issue.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/29/3930502/boeing-787-dreamliner-battery-structure-inherently-unsafe-says-elon-musk

Apparently large lithium cells are more unstable than small cells and they require more expensive packaging if they are to be made as safe as similar small cells. I would not be surprised if Musk was one of a few engineers and managers in the auto industry who is bright enough to actually see and understand this.

The fact that a small startup with very limited resources compared to a global automaker can do a car like the Model S is credence to the brilliance of Musk and his team.

Why they chose lithium-cobalt for the an aircraft application is beyond me.

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