Site Feedback

Title 49

Displaying title 49, up to date as of 9/17/2021. Title 49 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 49

eCFR Content

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the official legal print publication containing the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) is a continuously updated online version of the CFR. It is not an official legal edition of the CFR.

Learn more about the eCFR, its status, and the editorial process.

§ 178.38 Specification 3B seamless steel cylinders.

(a) Type, size, and service pressure. A DOT 3B cylinder is seamless steel cylinder with a water capacity (nominal) of not over 1,000 pounds and a service pressure of at least 150 to not over 500 psig.

(b) Steel. Open-hearth or electric steel of uniform quality must be used. Content percent may not exceed the following: carbon, 0.55; phosphorus, 0.045; sulphur, 0.050.

(c) Identification of material. Material must be identified by any suitable method except that plates and billets for hot-drawn cylinders must be marked with the heat number.

(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 cylinder appreciably. A reasonably smooth and uniform surface finish is required. If not originally free from such defects, the surface may be machined or otherwise treated to eliminate these defects. The thickness of the bottoms of cylinders welded or formed by spinning is, under no condition, to be less than two times the minimum wall thickness of the cylindrical shell; such bottom thicknesses to be measured within an area bounded by a line representing the points of contact between the cylinder and floor when the cylinder is in a vertical position.

(e) Welding or brazing. Welding or brazing for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited except as follows:

(1) Welding or brazing is authorized for the attachment of neckrings and footrings which are non-pressure parts, and only to the tops and bottoms of cylinders having a service pressure of 500 psig or less. Cylinders, neckrings, and footrings must be made of weldable steel, carbon content of which may not exceed 0.25 percent except in the case of 4130X steel which may be used with proper welding procedure.

(2) As permitted in paragraph (d) of this section.

(f) Wall thickness. The wall stress may not exceed 24,000 psi. The minimum wall thickness is 0.090 inch for any cylinder with an outside diameter of 6 inches. Calculation must be made by the following formula:

S = [P(1.3D2 + 0.4d2)]/(D2−d2)


S = wall stress in psi;

P = at least two times service pressure or 450 psig, whichever is the greater;

D = outside diameter in inches;

d = inside diameter in inches.

(g) Heat treatment. The completed cylinders must be uniformly and properly heat-treated prior to tests.

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

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

(2) Taper threads when used, must be of a length not less than as specified for American Standard taper pipe threads.

(3) Straight threads having at least 4 engaged threads are authorized. Straight threads must have a tight fit, and calculated shear strength 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 defined 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) Cylinders must be tested as follows:

(i) Each cylinder to at least two (2) times its service pressure; or

(ii) One (1) cylinder out of each lot of 200 or fewer to at least three (3) times its service pressure. When one (1) cylinder out of each lot of 200 or less is tested to at least 3 times service pressure, the balance of the lot must be pressure tested by the proof pressure, water-jacket or direct expansion test method as prescribed in CGA C-1. The cylinders must be subjected to at least 2 times service pressure and show no defect. 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 5.7.2 or 7.1.2, as appropriate. Determination of expansion properties is not required.

(3) When each cylinder is tested to the minimum test pressure, 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) 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 to1/2-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.

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

(1) The test is required on 2 specimens cut from 1 cylinder taken at random out of each lot of 200 or less. For lots of 30 or less, physical 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.

(2) Specimens must conform to the following:

(i) Gauge length of 8 inches with a width of not over 11/2 inches; or a gauge length of 2 inches with a width of not over 11/2 inches; or a gauge length at least 24 times the thickness with a width not over 6 times thickness is authorized when a cylinder wall is not over3/16 inch thick.

(ii) 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.

(iii) 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 record of physical tests detailed information in regard to such specimens.

(iv) 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. The following conditions apply:

(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, and the strain indicator reading being set at the calculated corresponding strain.

(iv) Cross-head speed of the testing machine may not exceed1/8 inch per minute during yield strength determination.

(l) Acceptable results for physical and flattening tests. Either of the following is an acceptable result:

(1) An elongation of at least 40 percent for a 2-inch gauge length or at least 20 percent in other cases and yield strength not over 73 percent of tensile strength. In this instance, the flattening test is not required.

(2) An elongation of at least 20 percent for a 2-inch gauge length or 10 percent in other cases and yield strength not over 73 percent of tensile strength. Flattening is required, without cracking, to 6 times the wall thickness.

(m) Leakage test. All spun cylinders and plugged cylinders must be tested for leakage by gas or 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 no less than service pressure, must be applied to one side of the finished bottom over an area of at least1/16 of the total area of the bottom but not less than3/4 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 (n) of this section, a cylinder must be rejected if there is any leaking.

(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, he should design his 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.

(n) Rejected cylinders. Reheat treatment of rejected cylinders is authorized. Subsequent thereto, cylinders must pass all prescribed tests to be acceptable. Repair by welding or spinning is not authorized. Spun cylinders rejected under the provisions of paragraph (m) of this section may be removed from the spun cylinder category by drilling to remove defective material, tapping and plugging.

(o) Marking. Markings may be stamped into the sidewalls of cylinders having a service pressure of 150 psig if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) Wall stress at test pressure may not exceed 24,000 psi.

(2) Minimum wall thickness must be not less than 0.090 inch.

(3) Depth of stamping must be no greater than 15 percent of the minimum wall thickness, but may not exceed 0.015 inch.

(4) Maximum outside diameter of cylinder may not exceed 5 inches.

(5) Carbon content of cylinder may not exceed 0.25 percent. If the carbon content exceeds 0.25 percent, the complete cylinder must be normalized after stamping.

(6) Stamping must be adjacent to the top head.

[Amdt. 178-114, 61 FR 25942, May 23, 1996, as amended by 66 FR 45185, 45386, Aug. 28, 2001; 67 FR 51652, Aug. 8, 2002; 68 FR 75748, Dec. 31, 2003; 85 FR 85420, Dec. 28, 2020]