For lithium batteries, UL 2054 defers all component cell level testing to UL 1642, and there are some important changes coming on how we test these cells for safety.

Energy Assurance battery experts sit on the Standards Technical Panels for a number of battery test standards, including UL1642. In recent recirculation of proposed changes on the subject, we can share that one specific change is eminent and further changes are on the horizon.

Previously, in July of 2019, UL 1642 6th edition updates and initial revisions were discussed and comments were issued. At that time, the addition of common coin cell warnings to the standard was the only proposal to reach consensus but will not be put into effect until an agreement can be reached on all three proposed revisions.

The remaining revisions have just now completed a new recirculation phase amongst the committee and additional changes are still being modified and considered.  

One specific update in this phase is to add clarifications to the test setup for Projectile Testing in Section 20.3. For example, when a cell is placed under a flame and ruptures, any projectiles created cannot penetrate a specific screen around the test setup. The description of the setup construction is being updated, however, the purpose and general procedure of the test will remain the same. Changes to the standard are intended to provide better reproducibility and repeatability across test facilities. This revision was able to reach a positive consensus vote in the 2020 recirculation.  

Another change in consideration is additional test requirements for soft case prismatic cells (pouch cells) in section 14A. This new test would include a narrow bar crush test for pouch cells in place of the current impact test. There was a lot of discussion on whether this test is even needed as well as how best to define it for repeatability if it’s added. This test will require further discussion as no consensus was reached during the review. Many comments included alternate test methods and “better” ways to perform it.

To summarize findings from this recirculation:

  • The projectile setup reached a consensus to add it in the most recent recirculation this year and is now final. 
  • The focus will shift to validating the crush test and obtaining a consensus.

The two updates are in their infancy and we aim to report new information as soon as it’s available.

At Energy Assurance, we take pride in the level of expertise we have in this field and are happy to share news of our ever-changing environment. If you have any questions about the changes mentioned in the above post, please reach out to us for a consultation.

Revised 10/6/2020