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Compressed Gases: Managing Cylinders Safely

By ExxonMobil Research & Engineering |

Compressed gas cylinders are widely used in research, pilot plant, laboratory and small-scale manufacturing and processing operations as a way to provide a convenient, economical and safe source of high-pressure gases for various applications. These gases can be inert, flammable, toxic or oxidizing (or mixtures of any or all), and are typically supplied at pressures from 800 to 6,000 psig, with 2,250 psig being common. A compressed gas is defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as any materials or mixtures in containers having an absolute pressure in excess of 40 psi at 70oF, or in excess of 104 psi at 130oF. Cylinder basics Gas cylinders have several major components, including the cylinder body, a steel or aluminum cylinder with a strengthened, threaded neck, a flat bottom rim for standing level, the valve assembly to control the gas flow, and a protective cap. Each cylinder is stamped with its design information, as shown in Figure 1. Items of particular interest include the cylinder size (which is required for calculating the content volume), the cylinder maximum design pressure, and the cylinder test date. Figure 1. Key components of an appropriately appointed compressed-gas cylinder are shown here If it is…
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