Packaging of dangerous goods
Safe packaging and transportation
Dangerous goods are all substances and items that, in the context of transporting them, can constitute hazards for the environment, humans, animals and public safety and order. This is why the transportation of dangerous goods is subject to strict regulations. On the road or by air freight – anyone shipping dangerous goods has to observe numerous regulations.
Regulations for the transport
The European agreement on the international transportation of dangerous goods by road is a comprehensive body of rules and regulations. In particular, it includes regulations for the classification, packaging, labelling and documentation of dangerous goods, handling during transportation and the vehicles used.
Link (only for Germany): Federal Ministry of Transport
Link UNECE: UNECE ADR
European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways. The ADN includes regulations for the classification, packaging, labelling and documentation of dangerous goods, the construction, equipment and approval of vessels and for handling during transportation
Link (only for Germany): Federal Ministry of Transport
UNECE ADN Link: UNECE ADN
International Air Transport Association, Dangerous Goods Regulations. When dangerous goods are transported by air, the transport regulations for this mode of transport have to be observed. The IATA dangerous goods regulations are updated annually.
International Civil Aviation Organization, Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The technical instructions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation govern the transportation of dangerous goods by air.
International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code. The IMDG code serves to identify dangerous goods for international transportation on ocean-going vessels. It was developed by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) of the United Nations.
Link: IMO IMDG Code
European agreement on the international transportation of dangerous goods by rail. The RID includes regulations for the classification, packaging, labelling and documentation of dangerous goods, and for handling during railway transportation.
The rules for packaging, labelling and documentation for all means of transport have changed significantly for the transportation of lithium batteries since 2009. At the start of 2013, even stricter rules were implemented for transportation by air. In general, lithium batteries and cells are subject to legal requirements for dangerous goods regardless of the means of transport. Depending on the chosen means of transport, the provisions described above are derived from the UN regulations UN3090, UN3091, UN3480 and UN3481.
Transporting defective lithium batteries
Transporting damaged or defective lithium batteries is problematic and special measures are required. If the batteries no longer comply with the applicable regulations according to the tests and criteria for the model in the manual, the provisions of special regulation 376 respectively ADR 2015 (European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) have to be observed.
According to this special regulation, transportation is permitted if the batteries exhibit no tendency towards dangerous reactions, heat development, the formation of flames or the release of toxic, corrosive or inflammable gases.
For cells and batteries where a dangerous reaction may occur under normal transportation conditions, a determination must be made by the Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung BAM) in Berlin.
Assessing defective batteries is sometimes challenging since the overall condition is difficult to determine from the outside. For example, electrolyte can subsequently leak or internal damage may lead to a thermal runaway. When the electrolyte liquid of lithium batteries burns, hydrogen fluoride also forms due to decomposition.
Requirements for transport packaging
Due to the risks described above, the Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing (BAM) in Berlin as the responsible authority of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Construction and Urban Development (BMVBS) has documented the requirements for the transportation of damaged lithium batteries. The packaging requirements are defined in special regulation 376 and the multilateral agreement M259 with the packaging directions P908 and LP904. The contents of these regulations are adopted in the ADR 2015 (European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road).
Packaging requirements for the transport of damaged lithium batteries
- Every lithium cell or battery must be individually set into an inner package (leak protection).
- Measures to minimise vibrations, shocks and movement of the batteries
- Securing against movement (e.g. with non-combustible filler or cushion module)
- Short circuit protection
- Outer packaging according to the test requirements for packaging group 2
- Leak-proof to prevent the possible discharge of electrolyte
- Leak-tight sealed packaging must have a mechanism for ventilation
- Filled with non-combustible and non-conductive cushioning material, construction material class A1 or A2 (non-combustible)
- Sufficient absorbent material for leaking electrolyte liquid
Extover® fire protection fill
Extover® foam glass granulate meets the fundamental requirements for fire protection filler. Accordingly it may be used for conforming special transport containers.