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WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY? There are two main types of lithium batteries – Primary Lithium (UN3090) and Lithium–Ion (UN 3480). The risk of fi re created by both of these battery types has long been recognised by the authorities with both classifi ed as Class 9 hazardous materials in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the Hazardous Materials Regulations and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions. A fi re at Los Angeles Airport in 1999 involving 120,000 lithium

primary cells resulted in the issue of fi ve separate fi re and safety recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board which conducted an investigation, to the Research & Special Programs Administration and FAA, alongside the issue of FAA Dangerous Goods Advisory Bulletin (DAGB) 00-02 on this subject. With subsequent studies demonstrating that primary lithium cell

fi res cannot be adequately suppressed by halon, primary lithium batteries were banned on passenger aircraft by the FAA in 2005 and by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from the start of 2015. Meanwhile FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 16001: Risks

of Fire or Explosion when Transporting Lithium Ion or Lithium Metal Batteries as Cargo on Passenger and Cargo Aircraft, supports recommendations that before operators engage in the transport of lithium ion or lithium metal batteries in cargo aircraft they should be aware that both ICAO and major airframe manufactures (Boeing and Airbus) have recommended that operators perform risk assessments to establish whether and how they can manage the risks associated with the transportation of these items. These recommendations only go so far, but regulations are becoming much more stringent. February 22nd 2016 saw the ICAO pass a prohibition on the carrying of UN3480 lithium ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft, which came into eff ect on 1st April 2016.

As well as detailing this requirement, ICAO ‘Technical Instructions

for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air’ 2015/16 (Document 9284) also stipulates that lithium ion cells and batteries must be off ered for transport as a state of charge (SoC) of no more than 30% of their rated design capacity, with details relating to what constitutes acceptable packaging and labelling. While the carrying of primary lithium and lithium ion batteries

may be subject to increased restriction, however, no such limits have been placed on the transport of these products within the main aircraft cabin. Even so, airlines themselves have recognised a need to tackle this issue.

THE SOLUTION Recognising the problems associated with overheating batteries

Thomas Schwarz and Peter Ermtraud are from Morgan Advanced Materials, Thermal Products division


Further information is available on request from Peter Ermtraud ( or Thomas Schwarz (

Further information on Morgan technologies can be found at www.morganfi

May / June 2016 / AF / 13

and the need to minimise fi re risk and provide insulation to contain heat spread, Morgan set out to harness the capabilities of its extensive range of state-of-the-art insulation technologies to develop a solution. Morgan’s expertise in the area of high-performance insulation to

prevent the spread of thermal energy is globally renowned, not least in the supply of materials used to encapsulate fl ight data recorder FDR and cockpit voice recorder (CVR)products, and perhaps even more so in the Oil & Gas sector where its FireMaster® Marine Plus Blanket used to surround the living quarters in off shore extraction facilities, protecting the structure to allow suffi cient time for those working on the rig to escape in case of a fi re outbreak. Various confi gurations and combinations of Morgan’s material

range were examined and considered to contain heat and fi re, minimise further fi re risk and counter the issue of heat transfer. The ideal bag solution uses at its core the same product–

FireMaster Marine Plus blanket, which is typically used to protect FRP composite, steel and aluminium structures for extended periods.

The outer layer comprises a silicone-coated glass cloth and hook- and-loop tape fastener to secure the bag once the contents had been placed inside. The materials have been chosen to maintain their integrity even when they come into contact with water, which can be added immediately to help cool down the overheated battery.

The dimensions of the bags are 500mm x 500mm and are bound with a high-temperature yarn which is typically used in heat protection clothing and welding equipment. The bags have been extensively tested together with Germanwings, which is part of the Lufthansa group.

Thomas Schwarz and Peter Ermtraud are from Morgan Advanced Materials, Thermal Products division

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