Batteries are a common feature within aircraft, often being used during the preflight phase to power the electrical system for engines and the auxiliary power unit to begin operations. These aircraft batteries are much more robust as compared to the batteries found in typical personal devices and electronics, and their complexity ensures the proper operation of advanced aircraft electrical systems. Generally, there are two main aircraft battery types that are found in aircraft, those of which are nickel-cadmium and lithium-ion batteries. In this blog, we will discuss both in brief detail, allowing you to have a better understanding of their functionality.
Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries feature cells with nickel hydrate and sponge cadmium as the active ingredients situated in the charged positive and negative plate respectively. Meanwhile, the electrode comes in the form of a potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution that is present in distilled water in a concentration of 20-34% by weight of pure KOH. During operations, a charging current will be induced to the battery, causing the negative plate to lose oxygen for the formation of metallic cadmium. In the positive plates, nickel-hydroxide begins to reach high oxidation levels. Until the charging current is removed or all oxygen leaves the negative plates, this process will continue unabated.
When Ni-Cd batteries begin to reach the end of their charging cycle, their cells will start to emit gas. Generally, the point at which gas will begin emitting from the battery will vary based on the charging voltage and temperature. As gassing will occur every time one attempts to fully charge the battery, water is often used during such processes. Due to the nature of discharging, Ni-Cd batteries only require water when they are fully charged.
Ni-Cd batteries are often used in lieu of lead-acid batteries, and they can serve as a replacement as long as the aircraft battery compartment is fully cleaned to remove all traces of acid. To best maintain a Ni-Cd battery, one should hydrate cells when they are overcharged, maintain intercell connectors for the correct torque, and keep all cells clean and dry. If spills occur, they should be cleaned as soon as it is safe to do so, and personnel should always wear the proper protective equipment.
While lithium-ion batteries are widely used in many forms of consumer equipment, they have also proved highly beneficial for commercial and military aircraft. Lithium-ion batteries consist of three primary components, those of which are the positive and negative electrodes, and the electrolyte. The most popular choice for the positive electrode is a metal oxide, while the negative electrode will often be made from carbon. For the electrolyte, a lithium salt within an organic solvent is typical.
Due to the materials and operations of lithium-ion batteries, they run the risk of posing a safety hazard when facing certain conditions. As they have a flammable electrolyte and are pressurized, overheating and fires can occur. To prevent such dangers from occurring, lithium-ion batteries should be regularly inspected and cared for to ensure that they are always operating with peak condition and health.
If you find yourself in need of various aircraft battery types, rechargeable battery components, or other aircraft components, there is no better alternative to Veritable Aviation. Veritable Aviation is a premier purchasing platform for parts, and we are a leading supplier of aircraft batteries that have come from top global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our current set of offerings as you see fit, and our RFQ service is always available for customers to request quotes for their comparisons. If you are ready to experience the future of part procurement, fill out and submit a completed RFQ form at your earliest convenience and connect with a Veritable Aviation representative!
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