Common Lithium Battery Testing Standards
Batteries play an important role in our lives, in more ways than one. Just as modern technological solutions continue to evolve, batteries need to advance to keep pace. Testing plays an important role in making sure that batteries can perform safely and effectively.
Lithium batteries, commonly the power source for electronic gadgets, are also used for more critical uses such as powering electric vehicles and life-saving medical equipment. Lithium battery testing standards are in place to ensure batteries meet performance, reliability, and safety requirements.
Types of Lithium Battery Testing Standards
While battery safety can appear complex at first, once you decipher the basic testing standards, you’ll realize that lithium battery certification and regulation are rather straightforward. Each of the lithium battery testing standards is in place to determine how a battery performs when exposed to extreme conditions. They also check that the battery remains safe and functional when working under extreme mechanical loads.
Here are four common standards followed for lithium battery testing.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a non-profit standards organization. Committed to writing international standards for all electrical and related technologies, the IEC has various sub-standards that focus on various aspects of battery testing.
It holds international battery manufacturers accountable to ensure that their batteries are interchangeable, particularly with reference to standard form, fit, and function.
Consider the following criteria of the IEC, each of which prioritizes safety and performance.
● Performance: IEC 61960
● Safety: IEC 62133-2:2017 and IEC 62281:2019
● Testing: IEC 61959:2004
Each of these testing standards serves the end-user as well as the manufacturer. If we look at the IEC62133 test for safety, it involves a molded case stress, external short circuit, free fall, and overcharging of the battery. Passing this test qualifies the battery for international compliance.
The Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers (SAE) International has a focus on aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicles. The professional organization develops standards for engineers to follow when producing products. With the increase in hybrid and fully electrical vehicles, these standards are becoming increasingly important.
SAE testing standards are also applied to lithium battery-powered portable electronic devices.
Key standards include SAE J 2929 testing for lithium-based rechargeable cell’s safety and SAE J 2464 which conducts safety and abuse testing for rechargeable energy storage systems (RESS).
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent, global organization that works closely with industry experts. The main goal is to research and publish census-based safety standards and innovative safety solutions.
UL is committed to testing the latest products and technologies for optimal safety before marketing the product around the world, and this includes lithium batteries. The organization has three key standards when testing lithium batteries.
● UL 1642 - testing lithium battery cells
● UL 2054 - battery level tests for household and commercial batteries
● UL 2580 - batteries for electric vehicles
UL 2054 is mandated by several U.S end device standards. Compliance involves rigorous testing, making it one of the most challenging processes of all tests. However, batteries that are UL listed and UL certified are guaranteed to offer high quality.
United Nations Department of Transportation (UN/DOT) 38.3 testing is used to make sure that lithium-ion (or lithium metal) batteries are safe for shipping and transportation. Companies that want to transport a lithium battery by air, vessel, rail, or truck need to certify the power source with UN/DOT 38.3.
There are eight different test requirements that confirm that the batteries don’t present any environmental, mechanical, or electrical risks. Each of these elements is considered a potential risk during transportation.
● T1 - Altitude simulation
● T2 - Thermal test
● T3 -Vibration
● T4 - Shock
● T5 - External short circuit
● T6 - Impact
● T7 - Overcharge
● T8 - Forced discharge
It’s important to note that transport regulations are also impacted by additional international transportation organizations with their own regulations, such as PHMSA, IATA, ICAO, and IFALPA.
Comprehensive Lithium Battery Testing
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