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Re: Dreamliner battery fix

Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:13 am

Modern airliners already have triple-redundant hydraulic systems (though with somewhat reduced functionality once you're down to one). Going to electric power simply takes a lot of weight out of this as already noted.
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Re: Dreamliner battery fix

Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:43 am

Turkina wrote:
I'm always amused when the topic of electric cars catching fire/exploding comes up - not because it isn't possible, but because the car in your driveway *right now* has lots of explosive material in it (gasoline for starters). Ford has issued a number of recalls (on the Fusion, Escape, and before that on the Expedition) for cars spontaneously catching fire. This is a problem faced by all manufacturers, so it isn't surprising it would be faced when dealing with new technology like the Volt, or Fisker Karma. It is a question of relative risk, and I don't think we have enough data (and it is likely that these technologies will improve over time).

True, but with a caveat -- modern electric cars have major components and wiring paths operating in the range of 200-300V DC and storing energy in the range of 4-20kWh, and when shorted, a battery creates its own ignition source. There's no real analogue for gasoline, which in spite of its movie reputation, is a relatively stable fuel (stores easily in liquid form, quickly evaporates in air) and only tends to be explosive when mixed in a critical fuel/air ratio and provided with an external ignition source. While this doesn't mean that a hybrid or electric car need be more dangerous than any other type, it does present some unique design challenges, and a new range of training difficulties for rescuers.
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