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A fire on a parked mid-sized widebody passenger airliner closed a major airport for nearly 90 minutes in July of 2013. The origin of the fire was traced back to an Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) in the aft of the aircraft that spread through the cabin and burnt through the fuselage. The investigation quickly focused in on this component to find that it contained Lithium-ion batteries. This required the investigation into the circuitry of the ELT and power source.
RTI conducted comprehensive examinations and testing of the Lithium-ion batteries, and the compartment for the batteries and circuitry. RTI performed live scenario fire and explosion testing of the circuitry and components collecting data using wireless thermo data collectors and IR cameras. To ensure that the environment was identical to that of the incident, RTI fabricated replicas of the ELT in its fabrication shop. RTI also conducted simulations utilizing its finite element simulation software in supporting the expert's findings. In preparation for settlement proceedings, RTI’s Imaging Sciences Studio created interactive tutorials explaining how the ELT’s circuitry worked, and how a lithium-ion battery works along with demonstrative evidence driven by the data.
RTI’s investigation, findings, and visuals resulted in a very favorable settlement for the client.
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Joint Inspection Laboratory
Battery Fire Experts