New tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration suggest that lithium batteries pose more dangers to planes than previously thought.
The tests showed that the batteries -- when shipped in bulk in the cargo holds of passenger airplanes, as is common -- can explode and burn violently enough to potentially render aircraft fire-suppression systems ineffective. (Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was reported to have been carrying 440 pounds of lithium-ion batteries in its cargo, leaving open the possibility that they were involved in the plane's disappearance.)
FAA tests show that lithium batteries can explode and burn even more violently than previously thought, raising questions about their use and shipment on passenger flights.
Just recently, the Department of Transportation issued new standards for lithium battery transport. A working group of government and private officials is scheduled to meet Sept. 9 to determine if additional restrictions are needed, based on the new research. For more, see the FAA's full list of Aviation Cargo and Passenger Baggage Incidents Involving Smoke, Fire, Extreme Heat or Explosion.
In product news this week, Linear Technology introduced the LTC4121 40V, 400mA synchronous stepdown battery charger for lithium-ion, LiFePO4, and lead-acid batteries. The company also announced the 45V-VIN LT3061 micropower, low-noise 100mA LDO linear regulator with output discharge.
Texas Instruments has introduced the TPS25940 and TPS25942 bidirectional 18V, 5A protection switches for portables. The company calls them the smallest such devices available. It also announced digital multiphase Vcore solutions with the TPS53661, TPS53641, and TPS53631 DC/DC controllers and the CSD95372B and CSD95373B NexFET smart power stages. TI also introduced seven high-performance power management, SuperSpeed USB, and logic products for in-vehicle infotainment and charging automotive applications.
New high-accuracy current sensor ICs from Allegro MicroSystems are suited for low-power applications incorporating high-output voltage swings at low currents. The ACS722 and ACS723 are true bidirectional ±5A or unidirectional 10A devices featuring internal galvanic isolation.
International Rectifier has expanded its Power Block family of power MOSFETs. The PQFN-packaged 25V IRFHE4250D FastIRFET dual N-channel power MOSFET is targeted at 12V-input DC/DC synchronous buck applications including advanced telecom/netcom equipment, servers, graphic cards, and desktop, Ultrabook, and notebook computers.
An adjustable LDO linear regulator from Diodes Incorporated supports point-of-load duties with input voltages from 2.5 V to 15 V. The AZ2085 features a minimum load current of 1 mA, a maximum of 3 A, and an adjust pin current of 6 µA.
Rohm has introduced 100-mΩ chip resistors specifically optimized for current detection applications in compact devices such as smartphones and wearables. The company says the 0.6mm x 0.3mm UCR006 thick-film low-ohmic chip resistors feature twice the rated power of other available products the same size.
Finally, CUI has expanded its DIN-rail DC/DC converter product line with the addition of more than 90 high-wattage models in the 50~600W range. The VHK and VFK DIN series high-efficiency isolated DC-DC converters are packaged in a rugged aluminum case that can accept a 4:1 input range.