Japan Traces Lithium-Ion Battery Fires On 787 To Faulty Wiring


787 Dream

Japan’s Transportation Safety Board has been attempting to get to the bottom of why an All Nippon Airlines Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing due to a lithium-ion battery fire.  According to the Associated Press, Japan has traced the cause of the fire aboard the 787 Dreamliner to faulty wiring.  Apparently, “The aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, which contains a lithium-ion battery, was improperly connected to the main battery that overheated.”  The report said, more analysis and testing is needed.  The fire in Japan is similar to the one that occurred in Boston.  That fire, according to the National Transportation Safety Board “started with multiple short-circuits in one of the battery’s eight cells.  That created an uncontrolled chemical reaction known as “thermal runaway.”  The reaction caused “progressively hotter temperatures” that spread the short-circuit to the other cells resulting in the fire.  The NTSB findings differed with Boeing’s test and report that concluded that, “any short-circuiting could be contained within a single cell, preventing thermal runaway and fire from spreading.”  Either way, there appears to be a serious problem with the wiring, which, if proven, is a positive for Boeing.  Once the cause is determined, a solution will be found.  If the shorts are indeed a result of faulty wiring, one possible solution will be more ceramic spacers that would prevent any fire from spreading, although it would make the battery housing, considerably larger.  Although unsure as to how much the grounding is costing Boeing, according to the AP, “Imperial Capital analyst Ken estimated last week that it could cost Boeing $25 million a month in direct costs with the total price tag climbing past $1 billion including spending to fix the problem and expenses for delayed deliveries.”  While that seems like a huge sum of money, Boeing will be more than happy to swallow that if it means putting this behind it and getting the deliveries of the Dreamliner back on track.

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