Still, safe­guards for lithium-​​ion bat­teries have pro­gressed to the point that a fire on an air­plane should never have hap­pened, said San­jeev Muk­erjee, a chem­istry pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and an expert on batteries.

If a bat­tery of that size catches fire, then a whole bunch of mech­a­nisms didn’t work,” Mr. Muk­erjee said. “Who­ever is making that bat­tery is doing a really bad job.”

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