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Aluminum scuba cylinders in oxygen-enriched and oxygen service – how do I keep my cylinder clean for use with oxygen or oxygen-enriched gas mixtures?

Here are some basic guidelines for keeping your cylinder clean and for using it with oxygen and oxygen-enriched gas mixtures (more detailed guidelines are available from CGA):

  • Only use an oxygen-clean, oxygen-compatible valve installed by a properly trained, competent technician familiar with the procedures described in current CGA guidelines.
  • Either use no lubricants at all—or use only lubricants that the lubricant manufacturer explicitly recommends for use with oxygen systems and cylinders containing oxygen under pressure. Once you have found an oxygen-safe lubricant, always strictly follow the application and use instructions of the lubricant manufacturer. If a lubricant manufacturer does not specifically state that a lubricant is suitable for compressed oxygen service, don’t use it.
  • Have your cylinder filled only with contaminant-free gas pumped by oxygen-clean systems, including fill lines that are clean and dedicated only to oxygen service and compressors that will not release oils or other contaminants into the gas.
  • Make sure that the inside of your cylinder does not become contaminated by water, dirt, oil residues, body fluids or other contaminants during use and storage. If the cylinder does become contaminated, it must be re-cleaned and tested before being used with oxygen again.
  • If a hydrocarbon or other contaminant is discovered on the outside of the valve-to-cylinder connection, the cylinder must be depressurized and tested to make sure that it is still oxygen-clean. If the cylinder is not clean, then it must be re-cleaned for oxygen and tested again before being filled with oxygen or an oxygen-enriched gas mixture.
  • Ensure that your cylinder is inspected and requalified only by properly trained, competent technicians who are familiar with government requirements regarding oxygen cleanliness and use. If you suspect that your cylinder has been handled by someone who lacks this requisite knowledge, do not use the cylinder for oxygen or oxygen-enriched service until the cylinder has been tested by competent people.
  • A valve should only be removed and reinstalled by a properly trained, competent technician who is familiar with procedures described in current CGA guidelines (see CGA P-38). Attempting to remove a valve without following the proper safety procedures can cause death or serious injury.
  • If a cylinder owner, user, inspector, requalifier, distributor or filler has any doubts concerning the proper cleanliness of a cylinder intended for oxygen or oxygen-enriched service, the cylinder must be tested for oxygen cleanliness before being filled or used.
  • When your cylinder has been exposed to possible contaminants, have it cleaned and tested for oxygen-cleanliness before filling or using it.

Posted by Luxfer