Why do batteries 101 to 160 watt hours need special approval to take on airplanes?

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My friend did this and got a slip of paper saying that if there’s any issue then they’ll be responsible for it.

Isn’t that true for any battery or anything a passenger brings on the plane? So why specifically 101 to 160?

In: Chemistry

6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It has to do with how much energy is stored. If something goes wrong with these larger batteries, they have the potential to burn through the nearly anything on board and potentially the skin of the plane itself.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Over 160 Wh are forbidden as too risky.
100Wh and lower don’t require approval as they are considered to be safe.
Between the two, i.e., 101 to 160 is the yellow card zone.

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

There was an in-air aircraft fire, flight UPS 006, that crashed because of the damage from the fire. The aircraft has palettes of lithium batteries that somehow caught fire. Trying to put out a lithium fire is extremely difficult and conventional firefighting techniques are either ineffective or contributes to the fire. They learned to limit the battery load, battery size, battery charge. This is also why they don’t want you putting anything with lithium batteries in the cargo hold. If a lithium battery catches fire in the passenger cabin, it will be identified far more quickly, with more opportunity to contain it.

There’s a Reddit user who goes by the name Admiral Cloudberg. She wrote an article about UPS 006, and did a podcast as well. Please note neither pilot survived, but the copilot survived the longest and, well, let’s just say he did everything humanly possible and is a >!fucking!< hero for his efforts. It’s not an easy read emotionally, but it was one of the flights that directly impacted the handling of lithium batteries on planes.

https://admiralcloudberg.medium.com/alone-in-the-inferno-the-crash-of-ups-airlines-flight-6-507d13f3e481

Anonymous 0 Comments

Would discharged batteries be less risky? They have less energy content. Just asking.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because the International Air Transport Association has produced guidance (https://www.iata.org/contentassets/6fea26dd84d24b26a7a1fd5788561d6e/passenger-lithium-battery.pdf) that most (all?) carriers accept.

Why have they produced that guidance? Because of the risk of fire if lithium rechargeable batteries are faulty or damaged. The bigger the battery, the more energy they may store, and the harder any such fire will be to contain or extinguish.