Packagings for Lithium batteries
Lithium batteries are widely used in everyday life due to their ability to provide excellent performance and a long charge. There are mainly two types of lithium batteries on the market:
- Lithium Metal Batteries contain metallic lithium, are NOT rechargeable and have a higher energy density.
- Lithium Ion Batteries do not contain metallic lithium and are considered more stable over time, commonly used in smartphones, tablets, computers and notebooks.
Lithium batteries belong to CLASS 9 MISCELLANEOUS DANGEROUS GOODS and are classified as:
UN 3090, Lithium Metal Batteries (when shipped alone);
UN 3480, Lithium Ion Batteries (when shipped alone);
UN 3091, Lithium Metal Batteries contained in or packed together with a device;
UN 3481, Lithium Ion Batteries contained in or packed together with a device;
Lithium batteries are characterized by “thermal runaway”.
The shipment of this type of products is considered at risk since in case of short circuit, perforation and high temperatures could undergo an uncontrolled and unstoppable rise in temperature. A chain reaction that could lead to combustion and, in the absence of an outlet, to the explosion.
Large quantities of lithium batteries therefore represent a significant safety risk, particularly for aircraft. For this reason, it is no longer possible to ship them in any packaging, but it is necessary to follow precise packaging instructions and shipping methods, referring to the prescriptions in the manuals of the sector, indicated with the following packing instructions:
• P903 - U.N. 38.3 certified batteries
• P908 - damaged or defective batteries not at fire risk (also with possible electrolyte loss)
• P909 - batteries for disposal or recycling
• P910 – prototypes
• P911 - batteries at risk of fire
• LP903 - U.N. 38.3 certified batteries
• LP904 - damaged or defective batteries not at fire risk (also with possible electrolyte loss)
• LP905 – prototypes
• LP906 - batteries at risk of fire
The regulations governing the transport of lithium batteries are increasingly restrictive and carriers are obliged to strictly comply with them, updating themselves and following certified training courses.