Behind Dreamliner's Woes: Lithium Batteries
Leaks can cause all kinds of damage: experts
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 17, 2013 6:47 AM CST
A United Airlines Boeing 787 is parked at Narita Airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(Newser) – Just weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal warned of the dangers of lithium batteries—and lo and behold, the batteries have taken center stage in a string of Boeing 787 mishaps. Leaky batteries are a significant fire risk, as emphasized in a blaze that lasted 40 minutes in Boston and a battery leak that prompted an emergency landing in Japan. The highly corrosive battery fluid can wreak havoc on wiring and other components, the AP reports.

That's particularly worrying given the Dreamliner's heavy dependence on electrical systems. And if the electrolyte fluid spreads, it can spark fires, cause short-circuiting, and potentially rattle the electrical signals pilots need to fly the plane, experts say. It also poses a threat to the plane's structure. The 787 uses "the same batteries that are in the electric cars, and they are running into the same problems with the 787 as the problems that have shown up in electric cars," says an engineer. But even with the planes currently grounded, Boeing says it remains "confident," with the Dreamliner's chief engineer noting that the batteries had no internal faults over 1.3 million hours of total operation.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Dreamliner's Woes Blamed on Lithium Batteries is...
5%
28%
2%
6%
55%
5%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 10 comments
backpath2
Jan 29, 2013 5:48 AM CST
So, this is "progress", eh? I'll keep my feet on the ground, thank you very much.
HANKHILL
Jan 25, 2013 8:29 AM CST
i bet the batteries are made in china or the arab middle east!
ppaca
Jan 21, 2013 11:46 AM CST
Who made the batteries? 0bama's A123? They went bankrupt and were bought by the Chinese! PAYBACK !!!