The international transportation of lithium cells and batteries is regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions and corresponding International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.
Under United Nations transportation regulations, primary lithium and rechargeable lithium ion and lithium polymer cells and batteries must comply with the UN T1 - T8 testing requirements.
The UN tests listed below are specified in the latest revision of the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria, which can be viewed here.
T1: Altitude Simulation
T5: External Short Circuit
T8: Forced Discharge
These tests only must be performed once for each cell or battery type of a given design. Additional testing is required when a previously tested cell or battery undergoes design or construction changes as follows:
- a. For primary cells and batteries, a change of more than 0.1 g or 20% by mass, whichever is greater, to the cathode, to the anode, or to the electrolyte;
- b. For rechargeable cells and batteries, a change in Watt-hours of more than 20% or an increase in voltage of more than 20%; or
- c. A change that would lead to failure of any of the tests.
Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website for more information and tips for traveling with batteries and battery-powered devices.