Hazardous Effects of Li-Ion Battery Based Fires

Date
2020-07-31
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems
Abstract

A potential thermal runaway (TR) failure from a computer with a lithium ion (Li-ion) battery is one of many energetic fuel sources present on-board a spacecraft vehicle that poses a fire safety concern. Tests were performed inside an 8 m3 test chamber at White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) to emulate a spacecraft, addressing major aspects related to fire safety prevention, detection, suppression and post fire cleanup. A tablet was forced into TR by using a 60 W patch heater on a single pouch cell and comparisons with a higher energy unit laptop are presented as the worst-case representation of a fire. Initial venting of electrolyte is first observed on a failed pouch cell followed by an open fire. Pouch cell surface temperatures reach a maximum thermal runaway between 340-544 C across all units tested and during this event a large presence of toxic gases are released. Tablet fires with a maximum of two pouch cells that underwent TR reached a maximum of 14 kW aggressively and over 0.4 m in height. A large presence of carbon monoxide, CO and carbon dioxide, CO2 was measured for higher energy fires and, prior to fire suppression. Levels of acrolein, C3H4O and CO are present above the maximum allowable concentrations levels inside a spacecraft vehicle. Additional gases, such as, measured benzene, C6H6, propylene, C3H6 and acrylonitrile are also present. This work provides insight in to the detection capability and required response times for triggering fire alarms aboard a vehicle. In addition, the data can be used to assess the capacity at which the life support systems capability to provide a hazard free environment.

Description
Rosa Padilla, Universities Space Research Association, US
Ilse Alcantara, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Marit Meyer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Alfredo Juarez, Jacobs Technology, US
Daniel Dietrich, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
David Urban, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Gary Ruff, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
Christopher R. Nagel, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US
ICES509: Fire Safety in Spacecraft and Enclosed Habitats
The proceedings for the 2020 International Conference on Environmental Systems were published from July 31, 2020. The technical papers were not presented in person due to the inability to hold the event as scheduled in Lisbon, Portugal because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Keywords
Toxic gases, Lithium ion batteries, Saffire
Citation