compressor tank failure mode

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My compressor use is limited to using a carry tank for filling tires and very small brad-nailing jobs. The tank used to scare me, thinking of the energy contained in 125 lb of compressed air. And now I see that my tank has an "expiration date" (already passed) embossed on it. And I'll get rid of it if it is a danger. But I was thinking--what does happen if the tank fails? It's not like a bomb, where there is a near-instantaneous increase in pressure that tears the tank apart. It seems to me that what is likely to happen is rust will create a thin spot that will eventually fail, releasing rather unspectacularly all the air in the tank.
Is there any safety risk in using an "expired" tank?
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Depends on the condition of the tank. If it is solid, no internal rust, it can last for many more years. I can't see it from here, nor do I know the condition and past use so I'm not going to give my OK. I'd tap it with a hammer at the very least to feel for rust spots. Proper testing is either using ultrasonic equipment or pressure testing.
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I have never heard of an expiration date on a tank. Sounds more like a tactic to generate sales down the road. Typically a tank will eventually rust inside and a pin hole will developed. The hole will leak and it will get bigger.
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Leon wrote:

All three of my 12 gallon storage tanks have expiration dates stamped near the valve. 20 lb. Propane tanks have had them even longer.
> Sounds more like a tactic to generate sales down the road.
Possibly...
More likely, someone sued and stupidity ensued.
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Yeah, I am not sure what the OP has. The title talks about "compressor tank failure". Then he mentions carrying around a tank for tires and small nail jobs. I have carried a small tank compressor to a location with no electricity and used it to nail a few pieces of trim. IIRC I have seen dates on the stand alone tanks.
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Leon wrote: ...

Virtually positive he's using an old propane tank as a "bubble"...
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Virtually wrong ;-) See link in my reply to Leon.
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Sorry for the confusion. I have a small "carry tank" similar to this: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00988589000P?vName=Automotive&cName=Tools&Equipment&sName=Air%20Compressors%20&%20Inflators&psid=FROOGLE01&sid=IDx20070921x00003a
I made the title more general, since I suspect the same issues apply if you mount a compressor on top of the tank or fill it from a gas station's air hose (except that air from the filling station is very wet in my experience).
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If you are involved with SCUBA or hp gasses you would have heard of them. They show when the tank needs to be inspected (anually) and pressure tested (around every 5 years) if it is a steel tank the falure mode is usually not explosive.
Both ally and steel tanks have been known to last well over 30 years. However as the usual working pressure is around 200 bar they have much stronger walls than most compressor tanks, and the fill is (should be) 0% water so less (0) rust.
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wrote:

No doubt, but I was refering to the Compressor tank failure mentioned in the title of the OP thread.
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"Jerome Meekings" wrote

Same goes for my box of Wheaties ... and, strangely enough, it has about as much to do with the question posed.
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with the folks here. Thanks.
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Leon wrote:

Uh, wrong, certain small sizes are exempt but larger tanks (depending on capacity and dimensions) have expiration dates including scuba tanks, airgun tanks and so on. Metal tanks are usually good for five years between hydro recerts, fiber-wrapped tanks from three to five years depending on the design. Fiber-wrapped tanks can only be recertified three times and then have to be destroyed, but all-metal tanks are good so long as they pass inspection and testing, I've seen fifty-pound CO2 tanks with the earliest markings being WWII-era. In the U.S. this is federal DOT law BTW, although you'll also find additional local requirements, e.g. there are states where you can't get a scuba tank refilled if it doesn't have an annual interior visual inspection sticker even if it has a current hydro-test certificate.
Tanks generally don't develop pinhole leaks that eventually get larger, when they fail they fail suddenly and usually catastrophically. If you don't believe any of that get down to your local scuba shop and ask them, they get bulletins on tank failures and can show you photos.
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On Mon, 21 Apr 2008 13:44:33 -0700, "DGDevin"

Normal compressor tanks run 150psi max and I've never had one hydrotested. My current tank has a hydrotest date on it because it held propane for over 20 years, then sat for several years before being put into service as an air compressor tank. We had a 30 year old truck fuel tank (round saddle tank)that we used as an air tank for over 10 years that did rust through at the bottom. It was brazed twice before we stopped using it (I think one of the guys took it home to use - was at our car club at the time) In the ten years I was service manager at the Toyota dealership the 80 gallon tank was never recertified, and it was the same tank that had been hanging on the wall10 years earlier when I worked in the same shop as a mechanic.
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Find me a typical shop compressor tank that gets anywhere near 2000PSI and I'll worry about it. At 125PSI, there will be no catastrophic failure.
scott
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What is up with the friggin scuba tanks????????????? We are talking low pressure compressor air tanks. And yes those get pin hole leaks and leak, been there done that.
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"Leon" wrote

ROTFL ... hell, if you know something, anything, make damn sure everyone else knows you know it, whether it's relevant or not. :)
Gotta get back to those Wheaties before they're out of date.
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Is your e-mail working yet?

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"Leon" wrote

Still yoyo'ing ... damn u-Verse was rock solid for 3 months, now 'suddenly last sunday' it starting bouncing like a rubber ball. 10 hours of dealing with technicians yesterday (they left here at 10 PM) and still no joy, except briefly.
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I kinda went through the same thing back around 2000 with ATT DSL. I and perhaps you are fortunate that it was and is new to your area and have the benefit of a technician actually working directly with you..
Any way, I forwarded you an e-mail that I got from Christy George with Riverway. I think it was in response to my e-mail I sent to her last week about the contract cancellation. I pretty much let her know what I thought about people that did not hold up their end of the bargain and mentioned that no opt outs were mentioned on the telephone when the called me to sign me up. Her e-mail said,
Dear Sir or Madam,
Riverway Power values its customers and after reviewing the plan cancellation notice sent to you earlier, we have kept your rate plan the same and no adjustments will be made. Please disregard the previous notice.
Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience this may have caused.
Kinda looks like a form letter so you might get one too.
Also I have some drawings for you so let me know when your e-mail is working or I can come by and show you. There are some issues I have with the posts.
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