UN/DOT 38.3 – Transportation Testing of Lithium Metal and Lithium Batteries

Transportation Testing of Lithium Metal and Lithium Batteries

The seventh edition of ST/SG/AC.10/11, Recommendation on the “TRANSPORT OF DANGEROUS GOODS, Manual of Test and Criteria” contains the criteria, test methods, and procedures to be used for the classification of dangerous goods according to the provisions of Part 2 and 3 of the Model regulations, as well as the chemicals presenting physical hazards according to the “Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)”. More specifically, the seventh edition covers updated procedures for the classification of lithium metal and lithium-ion cells and batteries (sub-section 38.3).

The transport of lithium metals and lithium batteries/cells is subject to national and international regulations, as detailed by the United Nations (UN) in the U.N. Manual of Tests and Criteria, Sub-section 38.3 (UN 38.3, UN International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the United States DOT (Department of Transportation), which defines shipping regulations for the U.S. under 49 CFR, Sections 100 – 185.

The 38.3 sub-section defines how a cell or battery type is to be tested, the number and condition of cells and batteries of each type, how many samples are to be tested, and the sequence of tests to be followed.

UN/DOT 38.3 Test Procedures

UN/DOT 38.3 details environmental, mechanical, and electrical requirements for all lithium cells and batteries. Manufacturers of lithium batteries and products using lithium batteries must demonstrate compliance in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of their products.

This test simulates air transportation under low-pressure conditions.
This test assesses cell and battery seal integrity and internal electrical connections. This test is conducted using rapid and extreme temperature changes.
This test simulates vibration occurring during transportation.
This test assesses the robustness of cells and batteries against cumulative shocks.
This test simulates an external short circuit.
This test simulates mechanical abuse from an impact or crush that may result in an internal short circuit.
This test evaluates the ability of a rechargeable battery or a single cell rechargeable battery to withstand an overcharge condition.
This test evaluates the ability of a primary or a rechargeable cell to withstand a forced discharge condition.

Benefits of working with LabTest


LabTest Certification is an ISO 17025 accredited Testing Laboratory, accredited by an ILAC Signatory member, for testing to UN 38.3.

LC Verified Label

The “LC UN 38.3 Verified” label is proof of compliance with regulations for transportation of dangerous goods, as per the U.N. Manual of Tests and Criteria, Sub-section 38.3.

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