US cites thermal damage in 787 battery involved in Boston fire

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:21pm EST

WASHINGTON Jan 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday said its investigation into a fire on a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner in Boston earlier this month had revealed some thermal damage to all eight cells in a special lithium-ion battery used to generate auxiliary power for the plane.

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the safety board, and other NTSB officials will provide an update on the investigation at a news conference on Thursday, according to an NTSB news release.

The agency on Sunday ruled out overcharging as the cause of the battery failure. The implications of the thermal damage cited by the NTSB on Wednesday were not immediately clear.

The NTSB said the battery, made by Japanese company GS Yuasa Corp, had eight cells of 3.7 volts each, and all eight had varying degrees of thermal damage.

Investigators have CT scanned and disassembled six of the eight cells, and their electrodes were being photographed and examined under a microscope, the agency said. The remaining two batteries would be examined in the same way in coming days at the agency's Washington laboratory.

Members of the investigative team had also been working in Arizona, Seattle and Japan, the NTSB said in a brief statement, without providing an additional details.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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