Electronics & Test
Tesla CEO: Boeing Batteries Needed Better Cooling

Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX: 'Unfortunately, the pack architecture supplied to Boeing is inherently unsafe.' (Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)
Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX: "Unfortunately, the pack architecture supplied to Boeing is inherently unsafe."
(Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)

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Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
robatnorcross   2/1/2013 8:12:16 PM
Lighten up on Tesla. My money is on ANYONE ( I don't care if it's Black and Decker) with several years of experience with tens of thousands of cells in the market place vs. all the computer modeling in the world. I doubt that the computer models on any of the newer technologies are much good at this point.

The manufacturer of the cells is only responsible for the cells if they didn't build the entire battery.

Boeing apparently DOES need "this sort of help".

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Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
ltron   2/1/2013 6:35:20 PM

Tesla crammed 6,800 laptop cells into a box with minimal monitoring. They blatantly ignored the manufacturers general recommendations.

They may well have gotten someone to agree to this but the point is that the Tesla design was very seat of the pants and not generally condoned. It was then hailed as a breakthrough.

Some breakthrough. Break all the rules and build a big bomb then hail this as some fantastic feat. I call it irresponsible grandstanding. Maybe its OK for a one off sports car but certainly not an airliner.

Boeing certinly does not need this sort of help!

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bobjengr   2/1/2013 5:27:42 PM

I find it very difficult to believe Boeing did not test to discover all of the failure modes possible with this battery system.    I feel they must have and I would love to see a chronology of those tests and the pass/fail results.  I don't suspect they will be published but it would be very enlightening.   I think it would be prudent to explore all resources, including TESLA, when trying to find solutions to this problem.


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Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
benmlee   2/1/2013 5:18:30 PM
To say Tesla has no right to talk about battery because they use commercial grade while Boeing used aviation grade battery is absurd. A battery is a battery no matter what grade it is. Fundamental principles are the same. In many case, avaition grade just means there are paper work and trace to go with the product. In many case, there are no difference in quality. That is why you see the trend in military and aviation going to COTS (commercial off the shelf) whenever possible to save money.

Paul Murk
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Tesla Failure anaylisis on Boeing Batteries
Paul Murk   2/1/2013 4:53:21 PM
I appreciate Tesla's reasoning. The Batteries require space and channel cooling which will makes them to heavy for airborne equipment. Fact is the battery sensors did not respond is an issue. Since they proved to function then I assume the rapid heating cause the batteries to burst before the sensors detected the problem. Again these batteries need to be enviromentally screen in airborne mil-STDs to see if they can survive high altitude conditions with jet engine vibration. Since they failed too soon in life expectancy this indicates a problem.

Litium batteries are not properly built for space enviroment at this time. They have inherit mechanical design flaws that cause premature failures. in laptops, phones, cameras, now planes.

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Re: Where's the physical containment structure?
ltron   2/1/2013 2:33:24 PM
Ah it's the sheet metal case that apparently kept all the burning pieces inside. According to Boeing there is also a ventalation system to remove any smoke or fumes.

To me this is some level of evidence that Boeing forsaw this sort of failure. It looks to me like the thing got too hot and the safety systems did thier job.

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Re: Active what?
ltron   2/1/2013 2:27:03 PM
The point is that Lithium batteries don't require active cooling. They require not getting too hot.

The main reason that active cooling is used is not to cool them while in a failure mode it is to keep them from failing in the first place. In a low load application this can easily be done with no cooling at all.

Adding cooling could be an additional safety risk in itself since it would greatly increase the complexity.

Actually if you recall it was the cooling system that caused the fire in the Volt battery pack!

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Boeing Lithium Battery Failure
Sannerwind   2/1/2013 1:37:57 PM
going down mainly wrong tracks.  There a number of potential problem sources, which could account for the failures. There are no guarantees that there are simple fixes.  Prior comment about  inbred, NIH. Based on my many decades of engineering involvement, I would like to presnet my list.   I do not think Boeing should get a free ride, but a modest recompense, public thanks (technical acknowledgement) should suffice.  Sannerwind@gmail.com JR/ CEO    

Arby Bernt
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Where's the physical containment structure?
Arby Bernt   2/1/2013 11:49:12 AM
Having seen dozens of pictures of the battery box, I cannot find any evidence of a physical containment system beyond the sheetmetal case. As lithium batteries are charged, they will physically swell slightly as they approach 90%+ SOC. Uncontained, each charge-discharge cycle slightly degrades internal structures through mechanical action. A prudent design will incorporate structural plates on either end of the battery stack connected with tensioned fasteners, preventing the physical distortion of the battery case by the internal components. '

The failure mode matches this model. Repeated charging slowly degreades the internal structures until an internal short is developed. The short would only be manifested upon charging as the battery once again flexes as it aproaches 100% SOC. The same situation likely occured during the development of the charger when an "event" burned down the development facility.


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Re: Boeing Batteries Need Better Cooling
gatesbe   2/1/2013 11:46:59 AM
Having said Boeing knows what it's doing I'll also say Boeing is a big company, did the satellite battery experience get to the 787 battery? Maybe.

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