About Aircraft batteries Parts and Its Product Range:
Just as car batteries are used to start the engines, such are the purpose of aircraft batteries. However, there are many more differences than similarities, as an aircraft battery is extremely more expensive and complex than a simple car battery. Aircraft batteries are crucial as a safety mechanism in the situation that electrical failure in the aircraft creates an emergency in which the batteries must be able to power the essential components of the plane until landing and evacuation. In addition, they need to be able to restart plane engines after engine flame-out and also serve as a buffer regulating the DC network voltage in order to maintain power quality. Whereas a car battery can just be jumped or replaced when it reaches the end of its life, an aircraft battery must be maintained with the utmost care as there are huge safety hazards if such batteries cannot power the essential aircraft components at any given time.
Let’s briefly discuss the specifics and dynamics for the aircraft batteries that are used in general aviation today before moving on to discussing the next phase of technology and what we can expect to be developed in the near future. Aircraft batteries utilize either nickel cadmium or lead-acid. Each of these chemistries can either be vented or valve regulated, each of which are reserved for specific applications. Lead-acid batteries in general are usually only found in light and smaller aircraft. On the other hand, Vented nickel cadmium is reserved for the batteries used in large aircraft and helicopters. Business jets are known to use any of the aforementioned. Ni-Cd (nickel cadmium) aircraft batteries are composed a metal box that contains 20 separate series-cells connecting by nickel-plated and highly conducted copper cell links. These are secured by nickel-plated copper nuts on the cell terminals. These are contained in a rigid plastic container that allows the cells to fit side-by-side in the battery case. Lead-acid batteries use either one 12-cell or two 6-cell plastic containers to house the individual but series-connected cells, giving it a voltage of 24 volts.
As mentioned, it is very important to properly maintain the aircraft batteries and be able to predict with high accuracy when they need to be scrapped, recycled, and replaced. There are some main mechanisms of failure in Ni-Cd batteries that allow us to predict these, which include oxygen barrier failure, separator failure, and irreversible capacity loss due to degradation of active materials. These can all be foreseen through regular maintenance techniques. On the other hand, in lead-acid batteries, these are capacity loss due to degradation of active material, loss of active material from current collecting structure, and corrosion of current collecting structure. However, these failure mechanisms are not as readily detectable as in Ni-Cd batteries. There are basic maintenance procedures for all aircraft batteries which are performed in dedicated battery shops. Maintenance intervals are defined by the aircraft manufacturer for each specific aircraft and its corresponding usage.
In the near future, lithium-ion technology will be the new basis for all aircraft batteries, due to the growing requirements of weight reduction in aircraft as well as the need for more electric aircraft. Older aircraft components are powered hydraulically, whereas newer aircraft are becoming more “electrified,” subsequently requiring more high voltage power sources.