49 CFR § 178.44 - Specification 3HT seamless steel cylinders for aircraft use.

§ 178.44 Specification 3HT seamless steel cylinders for aircraft use.

(a) Type, size and service pressure. A DOT 3HT cylinder is a seamless steel cylinder with a water capacity (nominal) of not over 150 pounds and a service pressure of at least 900 psig.

(b) Authorized steel. Open hearth or electric furnace steel of uniform quality must be used. A heat of steel made under the specifications listed in Table 1 in this paragraph (b), a check chemical analysis that is slightly out of the specified range is acceptable, if satisfactory in all other respects, provided the tolerances shown in Table 2 in this paragraph (b) are not exceeded. The maximum grain size shall be 6 or finer. The grain size must be determined in accordance with ASTM E 112-88 (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter). Steel of the following chemical analysis is authorized:

Table 1—Authorized Materials

Designation AISI 4130
Carbon 0.28/0.33
Manganese 0.40/0.60
Phosphorus 0.040 maximum
Sulfur 0.040 maximum
Silicon 0.15/0.35
Chromium 0.80/1.10
Molybdenum 0.15/0.25

Table 2—Check Analysis Tolerances

Element Limit or maximum specified (percent) Tolerance
(percent) over the maximum limit or under the
minimum limit
Under minimum limit Over maximum limit
Carbon Over 0.15 to 0.40 incl .03 .04
Manganese To 0.60 incl .03 .03
Phosphorus 1 All ranges .01
Sulphur All ranges .01
Silicon To 0.30 incl .02 .03
Over 0.30 to 1.00 incl .05 .05
Chromium To 0.90 incl .03 .03
Over 0.90 to 2.10 incl .05 .05
Molybdenum To 0.20 incl .01 .01
Over 0.20 to 0.40 incl .02 .02

1 Rephosphorized steels not subject to check analysis for phosphorus.

(c) Identification of material. Material must be identified by any suitable method. Steel stamping of heat identifications may not be made in any area which will eventually become the side wall of the cylinder. Depth of stamping may not encroach upon the minimum prescribed wall thickness of the cylinder.

(d) Manufacture. Cylinders must be manufactured using equipment and processes adequate to ensure that each cylinder produced conforms to the requirements of this subpart. No fissure or other defect is permitted that is likely to weaken the finished container appreciably. The general surface finish may not exceed a roughness of 250 RMS. Individual irregularities such as draw marks, scratches, pits, etc., should be held to a minimum consistent with good high stress pressure vessel manufacturing practices. If the cylinder is not originally free of such defects or does not meet the finish requirements, the surface may be machined or otherwise treated to eliminate these defects. The point of closure of cylinders closed by spinning may not be less than two times the prescribed wall thickness of the cylindrical shell. The cylinder end contour must be hemispherical or ellipsoidal with a ratio of major-to-minor axis not exceeding two to one and with the concave side to pressure.

(e) Welding or brazing. Welding or brazing for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited, except that welding by spinning is permitted to close the bottom of spun cylinders. Machining or grinding to produce proper surface finish at point of closure is required.

(f) Wall thickness.

(1) Minimum wall thickness for any cylinder must be 0.050 inch. The minimum wall thickness must be such that the wall stress at the minimum specified test pressure may not exceed 75 percent of the minimum tensile strength of the steel as determined from the physical tests required in paragraph (m) of this section and may not be over 105,000 psi.

(2) Calculations must be made by the formula:

S = [P(1.3D 2 + 0.4d 2)] / (D 2 − d 2)
S = Wall stress in psi;
P = Minimum test pressure prescribed for water jacket test;
D = Outside diameter in inches;
d = Inside diameter in inches.

(3) Wall thickness of hemispherical bottoms only permitted to 90 percent of minimum wall thickness of cylinder sidewall but may not be less than 0.050 inch. In all other cases, thickness to be no less than prescribed minimum wall.

(g) Heat treatment. The completed cylinders must be uniformly and properly heated prior to tests. Heat treatment of the cylinders of the authorized analysis must be as follows:

(1) All cylinders must be quenched by oil, or other suitable medium.

(2) The steel temperature on quenching must be that recommended for the steel analysis, but may not exceed 1750 °F.

(3) The steel must be tempered at a temperature most suitable for the particular steel analysis but not less than 850 °F.

(4) All cylinders must be inspected by the magnetic particle or dye penetrant method to detect the presence of quenching cracks. Any cylinder found to have a quenching crack must be rejected and may not be requalified.

(h) Openings in cylinders and connections (valves, fuse plugs, etc.) for those openings. Threads conforming to the following are required on openings:

(1) Threads must be clean cut, even, without cracks, and to gauge.

(2) Taper threads, when used, must be of length not less than as specified for National Gas Tapered Thread (NGT) as required by American Standard Compressed Gas Cylinder Valve Outlet and Inlet Connections.

(3) Straight threads having at least 6 engaged threads are authorized. Straight threads must have a tight fit and a calculated shear stress of at least 10 times the test pressure of the cylinder. Gaskets, adequate to prevent leakage, are required.

(i) Pressure testing. Each cylinder must successfully withstand a pressure test as follows:

(1) The test must be by water-jacket or direct expansion method as prescribed in CGA C-1 (IBR; see § 171.7 of this subchapter). The testing equipment must be calibrated as prescribed in CGA C-1. All testing equipment and pressure indicating devices must be accurate within the parameters defined in CGA C-1.

(2) Each cylinder must be tested to minimum of 5/3 times service pressure.

(3) The minimum test pressure must be maintained at least 30 seconds and sufficiently longer to ensure complete expansion. Any internal pressure applied after heat-treatment and previous to the official test may not exceed 90 percent of the test pressure. If, due to failure of the test apparatus or operator error, the test pressure cannot be maintained, the test may be repeated in accordance with CGA C-1, section 5.7.2.

(4) Permanent volumetric expansion may not exceed 10 percent of total volumetric expansion at test pressure.

(j) Cycling tests. Prior to the initial shipment of any specific cylinder design, cyclic pressurization tests must have been performed on at least three representative samples without failure as follows:

(1) Pressurization must be performed hydrostatically between approximately zero psig and the service pressure at a rate not in excess of 10 cycles per minute. Adequate recording instrumentation must be provided if equipment is to be left unattended for periods of time.

(2) Tests prescribed in paragraph (j)(1) of this section must be repeated on one random sample out of each lot of cylinders. The cylinder may then be subjected to a burst test.

(3) A lot is defined as a group of cylinders fabricated from the same heat of steel, manufactured by the same process and heat treated in the same equipment under the same conditions of time, temperature, and atmosphere, and may not exceed a quantity of 200 cylinders.

(4) All cylinders used in cycling tests must be destroyed.

(k) Burst test. One cylinder taken at random out of each lot of cylinders must be hydrostatically tested to destruction.

(l) Flattening test. A flattening test must be performed on one cylinder taken at random out of each lot of 200 or less, by placing the cylinder between wedge shaped knife edges having a 60° included angle, rounded to 1/2-inch radius. The longitudinal axis of the cylinder must be at a 90-degree angle to knife edges during the test. For lots of 30 or less, flattening tests are authorized to be made on a ring at least 8 inches long cut from each cylinder and subjected to same heat treatment as the finished cylinder.

(m) Physical tests. A physical test must be conducted to determine yield strength, tensile strength, elongation, and reduction of area of material, as follows:

(1) Test is required on 2 specimens cut from 1 cylinder taken at random out of each lot of cylinders.

(2) Specimens must conform to the following:

(i) A gauge length of at least 24 times the thickness with a width not over six times the thickness. The specimen, exclusive of grip ends, may not be flattened. Grip ends may be flattened to within one inch of each end of the reduced section. When size of cylinder does not permit securing straight specimens, the specimens may be taken in any location or direction and may be straightened or flattened cold by pressure only, not by blows. When specimens are so taken and prepared, the inspector's report must show in connection with the record of physical tests detailed information in regard to such specimens.

(ii) Heating of a specimen for any purpose is not authorized.

(3) The yield strength in tension must be the stress corresponding to a permanent strain of 0.2 percent of the gauge length.

(i) The yield strength must be determined by either the “offset” method or the “extension under load” method as prescribed in ASTM E 8 (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter).

(ii) In using the “extension under load” method, the total strain (or “extension under load”) corresponding to the stress at which the 0.2 percent permanent strain occurs may be determined with sufficient accuracy by calculating the elastic extension of the gauge length under appropriate load and adding thereto 0.2 percent of the gauge length. Elastic extension calculations must be based on an elastic modulus of 30,000,000. In the event of controversy, the entire stress-strain diagram must be plotted and the yield strength determined from the 0.2 percent offset.

(iii) For the purpose of strain measurement, the initial strain must be set while the specimen is under a stress of 12,000 psi, the strain indicator reading being set at the calculated corresponding strain.

(iv) Cross-head speed of the testing machine may not exceed 1/8 inch per minute during yield strength determination.

(n) Magnetic particle inspection. Inspection must be performed on the inside of each container before closing and externally on each finished container after heat treatment. Evidence of discontinuities, which in the opinion of a qualified inspector may appreciably weaken or decrease the durability of the cylinder, must be cause for rejection.

(o) Leakage test. All spun cylinders and plugged cylinders must be tested for leakage by dry gas or dry air pressure after the bottom has been cleaned and is free from all moisture, subject to the following conditions and limitations:

(1) Pressure, approximately the same as but not less than service pressure, must be applied to one side of the finished bottom over an area of at least 1/16 of the total area of the bottom but not less than 3/4 inch in diameter, including the closure, for at least one minute, during which time the other side of the bottom exposed to pressure must be covered with water and closely examined for indications of leakage. Except as provided in paragraph (q) of this section, a cylinder must be rejected if there is leakage.

(2) A spun cylinder is one in which an end closure in the finished cylinder has been welded by the spinning process.

(3) A plugged cylinder is one in which a permanent closure in the bottom of a finished cylinder has been effected by a plug.

(4) As a safety precaution, if the manufacturer elects to make this test before the hydrostatic test, the manufacturer should design the test apparatus so that the pressure is applied to the smallest area practicable, around the point of closure, and so as to use the smallest possible volume of air or gas.

(p) Acceptable results of tests. Results of the flattening test, physical tests, burst test, and cycling test must conform to the following:

(1) Flattening required without cracking to ten times the wall thickness of the cylinder.

(2) Physical tests:

(i) An elongation of at least 6 percent for a gauge length of 24 times the wall thickness.

(ii) The tensile strength may not exceed 165,000 p.s.i.

(3) The burst pressure must be at least 4/3 times the test pressure.

(4) Cycling-at least 10,000 pressurizations.

(q) Rejected cylinders. Reheat treatment is authorized for rejected cylinders. Subsequent thereto, cylinders must pass all prescribed tests to be acceptable. Repair by welding or spinning is not authorized. For each cylinder subjected to reheat treatment during original manufacture, sidewall measurements must be made to verify that the minimum sidewall thickness meets specification requirements after the final heat treatment.

(r) Marking.

(1) Cylinders must be marked by low stress type steel stamping in an area and to a depth which will insure that the wall thickness measured from the root of the stamping to the interior surface is equal to or greater than the minimum prescribed wall thickness. Stamping must be permanent and legible. Stamping on side wall not authorized.

(2) The rejection elastic expansion (REE), in cubic cm (cc), must be marked on the cylinder near the date of test. The REE for a cylinder is 1.05 times its original elastic expansion.

(3) Name plates are authorized, provided that they can be permanently and securely attached to the cylinder. Attachment by either brazing or welding is not permitted. Attachment by soldering is permitted provided steel temperature does not exceed 500 °F.

(s) Inspector's report. In addition to the requirements of § 178.35, the inspector's report must indicate the rejection elastic expansion (REE), in cubic cm (cc).

[Amdt. 178-114, 61 FR 25942, May 23, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 51561, Oct. 1, 1997; 65 FR 58631, Sept. 29, 2000; 66 FR 45385, Aug. 28, 2001; 67 FR 51652, Aug. 8, 2002; 68 FR 75748, 75749, Dec. 31, 2003; 85 FR 85421, Dec. 28, 2020]