The right thermal management technologies could correct the course of Boeing’s Dreamliner

As this blog discussed last week, the woes that have beset Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners appear to be related to problems with thermal management technologies used in lithium ion batteries onboard the craft.

Several airlines operating Dreamliners have reported swollen and leaking batteries and subsequent fires. Such incidents have prompted emergency landings, flight cancellations and aviation regulatory bodies in several countries issuing orders grounding the jets until their investigations can be completed.

These are the latest in a series of technical difficulties Boeing’s newest 787s have encountered since they were first used in late 2011, not to mention numerous production delays prior to that. So, is the 787 Dreamliner the aviation industry equivalent of a lemon? A recent article in The Verge says that it is not, and makes a compelling argument as to why.

“Government regulators, manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, and Embraer, airlines, and pilots operate out of an abundance of caution because the stakes are so high with every flight that leaves the ground, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single model of airliner that hasn’t been beset with numerous upgrades and retroactive fixes designed to make them safer,” the article says.

The news source goes on to cite a bevy of difficulties other manufacturers and commercial aircraft have faced throughout the years. In the case of the Dreamliner, there doesn’t seem to be a particularly vexing problem that has Boeing engineers scratching their heads. Dealing with thermally conductive materials and innovating the appropriate battery and active solder technologies is something that companies like S-Bond have been doing for years.

Does Boeing have some adjustments to make? Sure. But, thanks to industry leaders that are never caught resting on their laurels, they are far from having to scrap the more than $30 billion The Verge reports Boeing spent on research and development for the Dreamliner.

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