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What is the UN 38.3 Certification and why’s it matter?

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What is the UN 38.3 Certification and why’s it matter?

Since batteries are classified as dangerous goods by the United Nations, the transportation of lithium batteries is heavily regulated because they can pose a critical safety risk. When manufacturing batteries, companies must keep these regulations in mind. The UN has created several tests that batteries need to pass in order to receive the 38.3 certifications that ensure batteries are safe for transportation. These test include environmental, mechanical, and electrical stresses to ensure that the lithium batteries are durable and reliable to be transported via air, sea, or road.

Altitude Simulation Test: This test simulates low-pressure conditions such as airplanes or aircraft cabins at a 15,000-meter altitude after storing the batteries at 11.6kPa for at least 6 hours. To pass this test, there should be no mass loss, leaking, venting, disassembly, rupture of fire, and the end voltage must be at least 90% of the sample’s voltage measured before the test.

Thermal Test: This test covers changes in temperature extremes from -40°C to 75°C and are stored for 6 hours (12 hours total), at each temperature for a total of 10 cycles. To pass this test, the sample must not leak, vent, disassemble, rupture, or ignite. The end voltage must be at least 90% of the sample’s voltage measured before the test.

Vibration Test: This test simulates vibration during transportation. During the test, the battery is secured to a vibration machine and subjected to vibrations over a three hour period. In order to pass this test, the sample must not leak, vent, disassemble, rupture, or ignite. The end voltage must be at least 90% of the sample’s voltage measured before the test.

Shock Test: This test simulates possible impact during transportation. During the test, the battery is secured to a testing device and subjected to three shocks in both a positive and negative direction in three mounting positions, for a total of 18 shocks. In order to pass this test, the sample must not leak, vent, disassemble, rupture, or ignite. The end voltage must be at least 90% of the sample’s voltage measured before the test.

External Short Circuit Test: This test simulates an external short to the terminals of the cell or battery. During the test, a battery is subjected to a short circuit condition for at least one hour and is observed for an additional six-hour period. In order to pass this test, the temperature of the sample must not exceed 170°C, and the sample must not disassemble, vent, or ignite during the test, or within the six-hour period following the test.

Impact Test: This test determines if the battery can withstand an impact that may result in an internal short circuit. During the test, the battery is subjected to an impact from a mass dropped from a specified height. During the crush test, a sample is crushed between two flat surfaces until either the applied force reaches a calculated limit, the voltage of the cell drops by at least 100 mV, or the cell is deformed by 50%. To pass this test, the temperature of the battery must not exceed 170°C and must not disassemble, vent, or ignite during the test, or within the six-hour period following the test.

Overcharge Test: The overcharge test evaluates the ability of a cell or battery to withstand an overcharge condition without adverse consequences. During the test, a sample is subjected to a current charge equal to twice that of the manufacturer’s maximum recommended continuous charge current at ambient temperature for a period of 24 hours. To pass this test, the sample must not disassemble or ignite during the test, or within the seven day period following the test.

Forced Discharge Test: The forced discharge test assesses the ability of a cell or battery to withstand a forced discharge condition. During the test, a sample is forced discharged at ambient temperature at an initial current equal to the maximum discharge current specified by the manufacturer and for a calculated time interval. To pass the test, the sample must not disassemble or ignite during the test, or within the seven day period following the test.

The UN 38.3 Certification ensures that our batteries pass all testing and safety requirements under the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. We do this to ensure that our batteries are not only safe for you, but for your customers as well. Before purchasing a battery, make sure it is UN 38.3 Certified to ensure the best quality possible.

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