The Boeing 787's high-profile battery fire may have been the result of an engineering double-whammy: an energetic battery chemistry combined with a possibly inadequate cooling system.
Battery experts who spoke to Design News this week said that the 787's lithium-ion batteries employed a cobalt oxide cathode, which is known to be more prone to overheating than other lithium battery chemistries. If that chemistry was used without extra measures to draw heat away from the pack, it could be a problem, experts said.
"It's a no-brainer," Elton Cairns, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California and a nationally known battery expert, told us. "If they used a cobalt oxide chemistry, then the battery should use a cooling system."
Note: This article was originally posted to Design News on Jan. 25. Click to read the rest of this story on Design News.