UN38.3 Certification Explained

Posted June 16, 2020

Did you know the U.S. Department of Transportation and many international regulatory bodies require lithium batteries are certified to UN38.3 prior to transport?

In this video, we explain the process for receiving a UN38.3 certification and the tests each RELiON battery must pass to ensure safety.

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Shipping Standards For Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries must have safeguards built in to withstand the physical and environmental hazards encountered not only during shipping but throughout their lifetimes. UN38.3 is the prevailing United Nations standard that lithium batteries must meet to receive certification for safe transport. The U.S. Department of Transportation and many international regulatory bodies require lithium batteries are certified to UN38.3 prior to transport.

Lithium batteries must undergo a rigorous series of tests to meet UN38.3 performed by an approved independent testing laboratory. Batteries must not rupture, leak, disassemble, or catch fire to receive certification. There are eight tests that that must be passed for a lithium battery to receive the certification.

Testing For UN38.3 Certification

  1. Altitude Simulation, which means that low-pressure testing simulates unpressurized airplane cargo space at 15,000 meters.
  2. Thermal Testing, ensures the cell and battery remain sealed through rapid and extreme temperature changes.
  3. Vibration Testing meaning it simulates vibration during transport, followed by Shock which assesses cells and battery's ability to withstand cumulative physical shock.
  4. External Short Circuit, which assesses a battery's ability to withstand prolonged external short circuit conditions.
  5. Impact & Crush. This simulates a battery's ability to withstand mechanical abuse that could create an internal short circuit.
  6. Overcharge aka evaluating the battery's ability to withstand overcharge conditions, and finally, Forced Discharge, which tests the battery's ability to withstand its stated maximum discharge rating.

The responsibility to ensure that batteries meet the UN standard falls upon the seller and unfortunately, some products in the marketplace do not meet the standard. UN38.3 is an extremely important safeguard for you the customer. A lithium battery could see a 15 year or longer lifetime depending on how often it is discharged and UN38.3 certification should be a primary consideration in your lithium battery purchase.

RELiON is committed to the safety and environmental sustainability of all our lithium battery products. That’s why we invest in UN38.3 certification on our products, ensuring we’re meeting the industry’s quality and safety standards. Contact our team for more information on lithium battery safety.