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UN 38.3 Testing and Certificate for Lithium Metal and Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium metal and lithium ion batteries are widely used in a variety of applications, including electronics, electric vehicles, and energy storage. These batteries are also becoming increasingly popular for air transportation. However, lithium batteries are classified as dangerous goods by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) due to their potential to catch fire or explode. To ensure the safe transportation of lithium batteries by air, IATA has developed a set of testing requirements known as UN 38.3. These tests are designed to assess the safety of lithium batteries under a variety of conditions, including:

Each cell and battery type shall be subjected to tests 1 to 8. Tests 1 to 5 shall be conducted in sequence on the same cell or battery. Tests 6 and 8 shall be conducted using not otherwise tested cells or batteries. Test 7 may be conducted using undamaged batteries previously used in Tests 1 to 5 for purposes of testing on cycled batteries. UN 38.3 Testing Procedure
This test simulates air transport under low-pressure conditions. 38.3.4.1.1 Purpose 38.3.4.1 Test T.1: Altitude Simulation
Test cells and batteries shall be stored at a pressure of 11.6 kPa or less for at least six hours at ambient temperature (20 ± 5 °C). 38.3.4.1.2 Test Procedure
Cells and batteries meet this requirement if there is no mass loss, no leakage, no venting, no disassembly, no rupture and no fire and if the open circuit voltage of each test cell or battery after testing is not less than 90% of its voltage immediately prior to this procedure. The requirement relating to voltage is not applicable to test cells and batteries at fully discharged states. 38.3.4.1.3 Requirement
This test assesses cell and battery seal integrity and internal electrical connections. The test is conducted using rapid and extreme temperature changes. 38.3.4.2.1 Purpose 38.3.4.2 Test T.2: Thermal Test
Test cells and batteries are to be stored for at least six hours at a test temperature equal to 75 ± 2 °C, followed by storage for at least six hours at a test temperature equal to – 40 ± 2 °C. The maximum time interval between test temperature extremes is 30 minutes. This procedure is to be repeated 10 times, after which all test cells and batteries are to be stored for 24 hours at ambient temperature (20 ± 5 °C). For large cells and batteries the duration of exposure to the test temperature extremes should be at least 12 hours. 38.3.4.2.2 Test Procedure
Cells and batteries meet this requirement if there is no mass loss, no leakage, no venting, no disassembly, no rupture and no fire and if the open circuit voltage of each test cell or battery after testing is not less than 90% of its voltage immediately prior to this procedure. The requirement relating to voltage is not applicable to test cells and batteries at fully discharged states. 38.3.4.2.3 Requirement
This test simulates vibration during transport. 38.3.4.3.1 Purpose 38.3.4.3 Test T.3: Vibration
Cells and batteries are firmly secured to the platform of the vibration machine without distorting the cells in such a manner as to faithfully transmit the vibration. The vibration shall be a sinusoidal waveform with a logarithmic sweep between 7 Hz and 200 Hz and back to 7 Hz traversed in 15 minutes. This cycle shall be repeated 12 times for a total of 3 hours for each of three mutually perpendicular mounting positions of the cell. One of the directions of vibration must be perpendicular to the terminal face. 38.3.4.3.2 Test procedure
The logarithmic frequency sweep is as follows: from 7 Hz a peak acceleration of 1 gn is maintained until 18 Hz is reached. The amplitude is then maintained at 0.8 mm (1.6 mm total excursion) and the frequency increased until a peak acceleration of 8 gn occurs (approximately 50 Hz). A peak acceleration of 8 gn is then maintained until the frequency is increased to 200 Hz.
Cells and batteries meet this requirement if there is no mass loss, no leakage, no venting, no disassembly, no rupture and no fire and if the open circuit voltage of each test cell or battery after testing is not less than 90% of its voltage immediately prior to this procedure. The requirement relating to voltage is not applicable to test cells and batteries at fully discharged states. 38.3.4.3.3 Requirement
This test simulates possible impacts during transport. 38.3.4.4.1 Purpose 38.3.4.4 Test T.4: Shock
Test cells and batteries shall be secured to the testing machine by means of a rigid mount which will support all mounting surfaces of each test battery. Each cell or battery shall be subjected to a half- sine shock of peak acceleration of 150 gn and pulse duration of 6 milliseconds. Each cell or battery shall be subjected to three shocks in the positive direction followed by three shocks in the negative direction of three mutually perpendicular mounting positions of the cell or battery for a total of 18 shocks. 38.3.4.4.2 Test Procedure
However, large cells and large batteries shall be subjected to a half-sine shock of peak acceleration of 50 gn and pulse duration of 11 milliseconds. Each cell or battery is subjected to three shocks in the positive direction followed by three shocks in the negative direction of each of three mutually perpendicular mounting positions of the cell for a total of 18 shocks.
Cells and batteries meet this requirement if there is no mass loss, no leakage, no venting, no disassembly, no rupture and no fire and if the open circuit voltage of each test cell or battery after testing is not less than 90% of its voltage immediately prior to this procedure. The requirement relating to voltage is not applicable to test cells and batteries at fully discharged states. 38.3.4.4.3 Requirement
This test simulates an external short circuit.    38.3.4.5.1 Purpose 38.3.4.5 Test T.5: External Short Circuit
The cell or battery to be tested shall be temperature stabilized so that its external case temperature reaches 55 ± 2 °C and then the cell or battery shall be subjected to a short circuit condition with a total external resistance of less than 0.1 ohm at 55 ± 2 °C. This short circuit condition is continued for at least one hour after the cell or battery external case temperature has returned to 55 ± 2 °C. The cell or battery must be observed for a further six hours for the test to be concluded. 38.3.4.5.2 Test Procedure
Cells and batteries meet this requirement if their external temperature does not exceed 170 °C and there is no disassembly, no rupture and no fire within six hours of this test. 38.3.4.5.3 Requirement
This test simulates an impact. 38.3.4.6.1 Purpose 38.3.4.6 Test T.6: Impact
The test sample cell or component cell is to be placed on a flat surface. A 15.8 mm diameter bar is to be placed across the centre of the sample. A 9.1 kg mass is to be dropped from a height of 61 ± 2.5 cm onto the sample. 38.3.4.6.2 Test Procedure
A cylindrical or prismatic cell is to be impacted with its longitudinal axis parallel to the flat surface and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the 15.8 mm diameter curved surface lying across the centre of the test sample. A prismatic cell is also to be rotated 90 degrees around its longitudinal axis so that both the wide and narrow sides will be subjected to the impact. Each sample is to be subjected to only a single impact. Separate samples are to be used for each impact.
A coin or button cell is to be impacted with the flat surface of the sample parallel to the flat surface and the 15.8 mm diameter curved surface lying across its centre.
Cells and component cells meet this requirement if their external temperature does not exceed 170 °C and there is no disassembly and no fire within six hours of this test. 38.3.4.6.3 Requirement
This test evaluates the ability of a rechargeable battery to withstand an overcharge condition. 38.3.4.7.1 Purpose 38.3.4.7 Test T.7: Overcharge
The charge current shall be twice the manufacturer’s recommended maximum continuous charge current. The minimum voltage of the test shall be as follows: 38.3.4.7.2  Test Procedure
(a) when the manufacturer’s recommended charge voltage is not more than 18V, the minimum voltage of the test shall be the lesser of two times the maximum charge voltage of the battery or 22V.
(b) when the manufacturer’s recommended charge voltage is more than 18V, the minimum voltage of the test shall be 1.2 times the maximum charge voltage.
Tests are to be conducted at ambient temperature. The duration of the test shall be 24 hours.
Rechargeable batteries meet this requirement if there is no disassembly and no fire within seven days of the test. 38.3.4.7.3 Requirement
This test evaluates the ability of a primary or a rechargeable cell to withstand a forced discharge condition. 38.3.4.8.1 Purpose 38.3.4.8 Test T.8: Forced Discharge
Each cell shall be forced discharged at ambient temperature by connecting it in series with a 12V D.C. power supply at an initial current equal to the maximum discharge current specified by the manufacturer. 38.3.4.8.2 Test Procedure
The specified discharge current is to be obtained by connecting a resistive load of the appropriate size and rating in series with the test cell. Each cell shall be forced discharged for a time interval (in hours) equal to its rated capacity divided by the initial test current (in ampere).
Primary or rechargeable cells meet this requirement if there is no disassembly and no fire within seven days of the test. 38.3.4.8.3 Requirement
UN 38.3 Testing and Certificate for Lithium Metal and Lithium Ion Batteries
Website Title Description and Service Keywords Link
Battery Space UN 38.3 Lithium Battery Safety Testing Equipment Provides UN 38.3 lithium battery safety testing equipment sales and rental services, including altitude simulation testing, temperature cycling testing, vibration testing, impact testing, external short circuit testing, compression testing, overcharge testing, and forced discharge testing. Battery, Safety, Testing, Equipment, Un38.3, Lithium Battery Please Click Here
MTI-XTL UN 38.3 and UL Lithium Battery Safety Testing Equipment Provides UN 38.3 and UL lithium battery safety testing equipment sales and rental services, including altitude simulation testing, temperature cycling testing, vibration testing, impact testing, external short circuit testing, compression testing, overcharge testing, and forced discharge testing. Battery, Safety, Testing, Equipment, Un38.3, Lithium Battery, UL Please Click Here
TÜV SÜD UN 38.3 Lithium Battery Safety Testing Provides UN 38.3 lithium battery safety testing services, including altitude simulation testing, temperature cycling testing, vibration testing, impact testing, external short circuit testing, compression testing, overcharge testing, and forced discharge testing. Battery, Safety, Testing, Un38.3, Lithium Battery, TUV SUD Please Click Here
TestXchange UN 38.3 Lithium Ion Battery Testing and Certification Presents UN 38.3 lithium ion battery testing and certification requirements, including test methods, test equipment, and test reports. Battery, Safety, Testing, Un38.3, Lithium Ion Battery, Certification Please Click Here
                                  
Battery  Type Description Certification  Required for Air Transportation? Examples
Lithium Metal Batteries Yes Cell/Battery  UN 38.3, Single Package UN 38.3
Lithium Ion Batteries Yes Cell/Battery  UN 38.3, Single Package UN 38.3
Lithium Polymer Batteries Yes Cell/Battery  UN 38.3, Single Package UN 38.3
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) May Varies based on capacity and packaging; consult IATA regulations
Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) May Varies based on capacity and packaging; consult IATA regulations
Lead-Acid Batteries No Generally exempt from UN 38.3, but may require other regulations

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