October 28, 2010 21:03 by Ty
Lithium-ion batteries have been known to catch fire and explode in rare cases and have caught the attention of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The FAA has issued carriers a warning that fire suppressants carried on aircraft are ineffective of extinguishing lithium-metal battery fires and are not foolproof in Lithium-ion battery fires.
Lithium-metal batteries are highly flammable and fire ignition can occur if the battery short-circuits, overheats, is overcharged, is mishandled or is defective. In a rare event that the lithium batteries ignite from overheating or short-circuiting, thermal runaway could occur from self-heating and release of the batteries’ stored energy. Other batteries within the cargo area could also ignite and cause a further catastrophic event, depending on the total number and type of batteries. Halon 1301 fire extinguisher effectiveness is not 100% with lithium-metal battery fires can result in the fire to spread within the cargo area. Lithium-metal batteries are currently prohibited as bulk cargo shipments on passenger-carrying aircraft.
If you are traveling, make sure you keep your batteries and electronics with you or in carry-on baggage. Avoid putting batteries in checked baggage so the flight crew can monitor any type of hazardous activity in the cabin area. TSA security might not allow the batteries to be stored in checked baggage. “As of January 1, 2008, the Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) no longer allows loose lithium batteries in checked baggage. The FAA also no longer allows large, palletized shipments of these batteries to be transported as cargo on passenger aircraft.”
TSA – Safe Travel with Batteries http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/batteries.shtm
FAA - Fighting Fires Caused By Lithium Type Batteries in Portable Electronic Devices - PDF File