PSA Solutions for Safe Battery Transportation: Navigating Regulations in the EV Era

Mactac North America 2/9/2024

One of the overlooked challenges of the EV & e-mobility revolution is the transportation of batteries. Since many of today’s high-capacity batteries are based on lithium chemistries they are regulated as hazardous materials by the Department of Transportation in the US and similar regulatory bodies worldwide. Special care must be taken to comply with regulations and ensure safe transportation due to the flammability and electrical risks they pose. 

Whether shipping completed pack assemblies, modules, individual cells, or expired and/or damaged batteries for recycling, specialized packaging solutions are required to ensure safety and compliance. Batteries that are mishandled or damaged during shipping due to improper packaging can potentially overheat or short circuit leading to thermal runaway and ultimately fire.  Once ignited battery fires can be especially hard to extinguish if not impossible.

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs) play several key roles in the transportation of batteries & battery components. In returnable dunnage applications, PSAs are used to secure softer dampening materials to the more rigid protective shell.  These applications involve bonding materials such as expanded styrene & ethylene foams, cross-linked polyethylene & EVA foams, polyurethane foams, and various types of foamed rubbers or rubber sheeting.  PSA tapes are an excellent option for adhering these shock absorbing materials to rigid materials such as steel, aluminum, corrugate, composites, extruded plastics, and wood. 

Tapes allow for easier manufacturing versus structural adhesives and require no specialized application equipment while providing long service life. Dunnage using PSA tapes can easily last years and exceed more than 100 trips. 

When dealing with the transportation of damaged batteries or batteries heading for recycling, it is critical that the terminals of each cell or pack do not come into contact with each other. The Mactac line of insulating tapes provides the necessary dielectric protection to prevent electrical shorts, arcing and/or stray currents that can lead to fires. 

Our Foam and Materials Bonding Guide is a great place to find which material and adhesive combination will be the best option for your battery packaging needs.