All Hazardous Materials’ definitions agree on one main fact. That is the hazardous materials – or Dangerous Materials (DG) – are items that are capable of posing a threat to health, safety, property, or the environment.
This definition gives an impression that shipping this kind of material is more difficult on an aircraft than by sea or land. Especially, when there are passengers around. The airlines have very strict restrictions on how and what to ship hazardous materials. Therefore, most shippers tend to move them by land or sea freight. Also, since the underlined word here is “hazardous/dangerous” then it makes sense that shipping such materials in consolidation with other types of cargo is not an easy or even possible option.
There are general groups (CLASS NUMBERS) that classify all kinds of dangerous goods :
CLASS 1 : Explosives : This includes any material that can detonate as a result of a chemical reaction this class is broken down into six “sub-class” or “sub-division” for things such as airbags, fireworks, .. etc.
CLASS 2 : Gases : It is broken down to 3 sub-divisions (flammable gases, non-flammable gases, toxic gases). It includes all the types of gases that are compressed or material that is completely gaseous at a standard atomic pressure.
CLASS 3 : Flammable Liquids : This includes either flammable liquids that are with a flash point temperature of no more than 60.5 C or any material in a liquid status that is with a flash point temperature of no more than 37.8 C.
CLASS 4 : Flammable Solids : There are three sub-divisions under CLASS 4 that includes ; flammable solids, Spontaneously Combustible (flammable when in contact with air), and Dangerous when wet.
CLASS 5 : Oxidizing Material, and Organic Peroxides : It is clearly only two sub-divisions; Oxidizing Material which is the material that can contribute to or cause combustion by yielding oxygen as the result of a chemical reaction (such as Bromine). The Organic peroxides are organic compounds containing the peroxide functional group (such as methyl ethyl ketone peroxide) which is used as a catalyst in manufacturing polyester resins.
CLASS 6 : Toxic and Infectious Substances : These are poisonous materials (not in the state of gas) that are toxic to human beings and can result in health hazard during transportation. Class 6 has two sub-divisions (Poisonous Material, and Biohazards)
CLASS 7 : Radioactive Material : These are materials that cause radiation that is harmful during the transportation process ( such as
CLASS 8 : Corrosives : Such material will result in full destruction of human skin if a contact happens for a certain period (such as Sodium Hydroxide)
CLASS 9 : Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials : This class here will welcome any dangerous goods that do not fall under any of the other Classes (such as dry ice, lithium ion batteries, .. etc.)