Gas cylinder storage for flammable gases, such as acetylene, and inert gases, such as helium, under high pressures.
Many countries have different color coding systems that classify other gases and types of cylinders. These identification markings indicate essential data about the cylinder’s capabilities, ownership, and inspection history. More information can be seen in the image below.
- Cylinder specification
- Cylinder serial number
- Date of manufacture
- Neck ring identification
- Retest markings
- Bar code label
- Cylinder manufacturer’s inspection marking
- Cylinder tare (empty) weight
It is important to note that there are differences in the terms used to describe gas cylinders from country to country. For example, gas cylinders are sometimes called bottled gas in the United States. In addition, different types of gas cylinders (e.g., industrial, medical, or home use) will have various release valves.
Type of Gas
The three main types of compressed gases that are stored in gas cylinders include:
Liquefied gases can become liquids at average temperatures inside cylinders under pressure. They exist inside the cylinder in a liquid-vapor balance or equilibrium. Typical examples are anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, propane, and carbon dioxide.
Non-liquefied gases are also known as compressed, pressurized, or permanent gases. These gases are not liquid when compressed at average temperatures, even at high pressures. Typical examples are oxygen, nitrogen, helium, and argon.
Dissolved gases are volatile. The most common example is acetylene, which can explode even at atmospheric pressure. Acetylene cylinders are fully packed with an inert, porous filler saturated with acetone to prevent explosions. As acetylene is added to the cylinder, the gas dissolves in the acetone making the acetylene solution stable.
State of Gas
Gases in a compressed gas cylinder can be toxic, flammable, oxidizing, corrosive, and inert. Special care should be taken when dealing with compressed gas cylinders, such as an argon gas cylinder, to prevent falling and breaking and to ensure proper ventilation. Typically, a gas cylinder rack or cabinet is used to safely and conveniently store gas cylinders.
Material of Construction
Gas cylinders can be made from aluminum, steel, alloys, and composite materials. Mechanical strength, corrosion resistance, and impact resistance are critical factors in determining the material used. Carbon fiber composite cylinders can be very light due to the high tensile strength of carbon fiber but are more challenging to manufacture.
A commonly used type of gas cylinder is a propane tank. Propane is a gas used in homes, farms, businesses, and industry. Propane is typically used for heating and must be stored in specially designed-propane tanks. Some gases that are very unstable in their confined form, such as acetylene, require specially made gas cylinders (e.g., an acetylene gas cylinder) to reduce the hazards from shock and heat.
Gas cylinders have a valve to control the release of the gases. A cap, collar, or neck ring commonly protects the valve assembly from damage when the gas is unused. A pressure regulator assembly is utilized when dispensing gas from a cylinder to control the gas flow at the desired pressure.
Gas Cylinder storage
Gas cylinders are used in various industries, including food processing, water treatment, and laboratory. They are most commonly found in the manufacturing and medical industries. In manufacturing, gas cylinders are used for storing fuel for heating systems, vehicles, and torches and storing energy for power tools or assembly line machinery.
Medical gas cylinders provide supplemental oxygen, nitrous oxide (anesthetic functions), nitrogen (surgical tools), and carbon dioxide (inflate tissue).
Regulations and Standards
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical committee developing standards for specifying the standardization of gas cylinders and their fittings is ISO/TC 58. Specific criteria include BS EN ISO 102286 for gas cylinder terminology and BS EN ISO 11114-4 for cylinders transporting gas.
Compressed gases are subject to the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) requirement in Title 49 Section 173 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR 173) mandating using hazardous materials placards during shipment.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) maintains standards for gas cylinders.