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Can you Bring Lithium Ion Batteries on a Plane-Pros and Cons

Can you Bring Lithium Ion Batteries on a Plane-Pros and Cons

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Most of mobile devices we use are powered by rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries. The main use of the battery is to either be the only source of power (like in smartphones) or to be a backup source of power when you have disconnected the device from grid power. While travelling you will often want to move with some of your devices in order to keep doing some task and also communicate with your loved ones even when your away.

However, if you intend to travel with a plane, there are some restrictions regarding the battery capacity of your device. Depending on the airline company, these restrictions could differ but most of the companies have uniform rules regarding what batteries are safe to on the plane.

The reason why some batteries are not allowed on the plane is because they are vulnerable to catching fire especially in high temperature environments or in a situation where there is a short circuit at the terminals. The more the energy capacity of the battery, the more the danger it will likely cause when the battery catches fire. So, the batteries whose capacities are normally allowed are those whose danger can be contained in case they happen to catch fire.

What lithium ion batteries are not allowed on airplanes?

So, by now you may be asking yourself what lithium batteries are allowed on the plane and which ones are not. Most of the airline companies don’t accommodate devices that have batteries beyond 100wh which is equivalent to about 27,000mah depending on the voltage of the device. Also, batteries that are not installed in their devices are not allowed by on the plane by most airlines. This is because they are more vulnerable to fire than those in use.

For non-rechargeable batteries, the batteries allowed should have less than 2 grams of lithium per battery. If you have a device that has beyond this capacity, you may have to consult the airline team before heading to the airport to be guided on how best to handle your situation.

Fortunately, most of the portable electronics devices we use have less than this capacity. For instance, most of the smartphone batteries have less than 6000mah except some few gaming smartphones that have slightly gone ahead of this mark. Most consumer laptops always have less than 90WH batteries.

Another thing you need to note is that the manufacturers of these electronic devices are aware of these restrictions and they can’t afford to make a device whose battery is beyond the threshold allowed on the planes. So, in most cases all your portable electronics devices will always have batteries that are slightly lower than the maximum capacity allowed on the plane. The only devices that you may worry of are maybe power banks because some of them have capacities beyond 27,000mah.

Does lithium ion battery prevent you from flying?

Lithium-ion batteries won’t prevent you from flying as long they are within the required capacity. The uninstalled batteries are only allowed in the carry-on luggage that the passenger moves in the air craft with. The battery terminals of these uninstalled batteries must be well covered to prevent them from any form of short circuit that may occur. The methods used are simple; you can either leave the uninstalled battery in its packing or cover the terminals with tape.

Some airline companies allow extra 2 batteries that are beyond the maximum capacity. However, you can only bring these on after approval by the airline team. After you are approved, you can bring along a maximum of 2 extra batteries with a capacity between 100Wh to 160Wh.

If you have batteries that are physically damaged, they will automatically won’t allow you to board with them. This is because they pose a lot more danger since they are exposed. So, I would recommend checking your batteries very well before heading to the plane to avoid any form of inconveniences.

What are the pros and cons of bringing lithium ion battery on a plane?

Bringing your devices that have lithium-ion batteries on the plane has pros and cons. The benefits are on the side of the plane users and may include the following.

  • Having your battery allowed onto the plane will enable you to use your devices while on the plane. You could be having some important projects that need to be completed on the go. You may also want use your device for playing games in order to avoid being overly bore while on the trip. You can also communicate using the provided plane Wi-Fi
  • It gives some traders the opportunity of having to transport some of the batteries via the plane for as long they are well packaged and meet the standards required to be moved via the airplane

However, there are some issues that lithium-ion batteries could cause during a flight. These include the following;

  • Unlike other battery technologies, lithium batteries have a high energy density. High energy density means high internal pressure within the battery. This makes them vulnerable to catching fire once the temperatures go beyond a certain limit. This is because at higher temperatures, the internal pressure of the battery goes even higher that may cause the battery to explode and in the worst case catch fire
  • A short circuit could happen at the terminals: A short circuit at the terminals is also another potential cause of fire. It is for this reason that all the batteries that are not installed in the devices have their terminals protected by sealing them off with tape.

Conclusion

Lithium batteries are allowed on the plane as long as their capacity is below the maximum required capacity(100Wh). These restrictions are put because the magnitude of danger that batteries beyond this capacity can cause is way too high to manage during a flight. In case you badly need to have an extra battery that is beyond the maximum capacity, you need to communicate to the airline team so that you are allowed to move with the extra one (there’s also a limit on these as we have seen above).

 

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