Firefighting

Cylinder failures

Issue 6 and Volume 150.

Cylinder failures Robert S. Frankle Harry F. Wachob Failure Analysis Associates, Inc. Menlo Park, California We have received several inquiries in response to the article “Acidic Fluid Leads to Air Cylinder Failure” (November 1996) from SCBA users seeking additional information about safe fiberglass cylinder operation. Fiberglass under load and exposed to a corrosive environment can fail after a time due to stress-corrosion cracking [cracking under the combined effect of stress (load) and corrosion]. In a fiberglass SCBA cylinder, the load on the glass fibers comes primarily from the pressure in the cylinder. Exposing the loaded fibers to a corrosive environment (such as acid) can lead to stress-corrosion cracking of the glass fibers in the fiberglass composite material. The cracking continues until a sufficient number of fibers have failed and the internal cylinder pressure can no longer be contained. In stress-corrosion cracking, failure of an exposed cylinder can occur at a…

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