Shop Floor Talk  

Go Back   Shop Floor Talk > Welding and Metalworking Forums > Welding

SFT Search:   
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-12-2012, 12:01 AM
mccutter's Avatar
mccutter mccutter is offline
Post Fiend
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 8,313
Exclamation Warning! Hydro-tested Argon Cylinder--LITERALLY! And Argon Prices at Airgas...

I have a little 40cf I use for "travel" or as a backup. I used it recently and it seemed to not last very long, 5,10 minutes tops. As I moved it to my trunk, I noticed some sloshing INSIDE the cylinder! It obviously had a liquid in it.

When I brought it to my LWS, Airgas, we opened the valve, tipped it upside down and about a half-gallon of a "black" liquid came out. (no pics) The liquid had no scent so it was probably water. He gave me another cylinder for free although he did not mark the returned cylinder in any way as I suggested--"let the fill center figure it out..."

The price of Argon to fill the 40cf is just over $30. The price to fill a 300cf, and the main reason I was there, was just under $100.

PS: I should add that as I "own" my cylinders (including the 300cf ) it is just a simple swap for like-sized cylinders. They never question me or ask to see a lease on the big tank. One issue I have is that I also have 150cf Argon and C25 cylinders but their "size" is 125cf. So I have to look for the "tall" cylinders when I swap out to assure I am getting a 150cf back...

Noticing a little moisture in my trunk when I got back to the shop, I determined water was coming from the replacement 40cf cylinder. I got about a 1/4 cup of water to drain from the area between the valve and cylinder body as shown in the pics.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	wetcyl1.jpg
Views:	2430
Size:	59.3 KB
ID:	96615   Click image for larger version

Name:	wetcyl2.jpg
Views:	865
Size:	71.1 KB
ID:	96616  
__________________

TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
Lincoln Patriot autodark (freebie)
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...

Last edited by mccutter; 10-12-2012 at 09:12 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-12-2012, 12:43 AM
Gadgeteer's Avatar
Gadgeteer Gadgeteer is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Southern Montana
Posts: 1,788
Default

You've confirmed my suspicion of water-contaminated bottles. We should all follow your discovery by turning the valve on after inverting new bottles.

Water remains liquid, while under high pressure in the bottles, but becomes gaseous, as the pressure lowers. This explains why a "new" bottle will supply "good" gas, until its pressure drops. Then, gradually, the gas will become "bad", as it becomes mixed (and contaminated) with water vapor. Of course when a bottle like this is returned to the supplier they will just shake their collective heads and say they've never seen anything like it. It's happened to me two out of three times for my last bottles... usually around 500 psi.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:06 AM
Windy_Acres's Avatar
Windy_Acres Windy_Acres is offline
Chairman of the Headboard
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Where ever I hang my hat...
Posts: 5,762
Default

School me, where and how is the H20 getting in there ?
__________________
Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars, Oak tree you're in my way....
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:41 AM
mccutter's Avatar
mccutter mccutter is offline
Post Fiend
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 8,313
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windy_Acres View Post
School me, where and how is the H20 getting in there ?
I'm sure water got into the area between the valve and cyl. body from being outside in the rain--and we get a lot of it here during the season. That in itself is NBD. All of my larger cylinders have caps which helps keep the water out and the replacement 40cf tank was missing its cap but I got one before I left the LWS. Most of their 40s DON'T have caps nor the provision for one. There are also no gaps between the valve and body to hold water on the type without cap provisions (ie: threads).

Water INSIDE is more of a mystery to me. I know with scuba tanks, they will submerge the tank in water to cool it as gas will heat up as it is compressed. A scuba tank is filled to 3000psi. Argon is 1500-2000psi usually when "new". At any rate, the gas would be under pressure and would keep any water out if the fill connection was loose. Or maybe there was a "venturi effect" as the gas was pumped in, drawing water in through a loose valve connection? Maybe the valve was open and "up" in the back of a previous customer's truck? Or the valve was open during a flood and the tank was submerged? Or a hydro-tested cylinder was not emptied before a valve was installed by a careless Airgas employee? This is one mystery I think we will never know the answer to...

I usually use my cylinders to "empty" then I will close the valve. Even then, there is still 10-15psi of pressure which will keep the inside of the tank unspoiled. Not everyone is this thoughtful...
__________________

TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
Lincoln Patriot autodark (freebie)
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...

Last edited by mccutter; 10-12-2012 at 09:48 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:48 AM
monckywrench's Avatar
monckywrench monckywrench is offline
trust but verify
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Elsewhere
Posts: 4,299
Default

Water INSIDE is unsatisfactory. I'd send the pics to Airgas corporate with the comment that you can't afford to ruin work because of slobs at the refill center.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-12-2012, 10:14 AM
mccutter's Avatar
mccutter mccutter is offline
Post Fiend
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 8,313
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by monckywrench View Post
Water INSIDE is unsatisfactory. I'd send the pics to Airgas corporate with the comment that you can't afford to ruin work because of slobs at the refill center.
I didn't have pics of the returned tank/water on the ground but I did send corporate an email regarding this issue. Hopefully it will help...
__________________

TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
Lincoln Patriot autodark (freebie)
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-12-2012, 08:31 PM
FusionKing FusionKing is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Lake of the Ozarks MO
Posts: 159
Default

If the bottle is sitting in the rain, valve partially open, the bottle being cooler than air will cause it to have a low pressure condition. It will then suck the rain in.
Barrels do the same thing when the bung is loose.
__________________
www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
Miller 700 Dynasty
Miller 350P PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
Miller 280 Dynasty with expansion card
Miller Dynasty 200DX Blue Lightning
Miller Bobcat 225NT WC-115-A / 30-A Spoolgun
Vulcan MigMax 215


enuff power and hand tools and crap to make or fix ONE of anything but not enuff to mass produce anything
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:53 PM
Gadgeteer's Avatar
Gadgeteer Gadgeteer is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Southern Montana
Posts: 1,788
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windy_Acres View Post
School me, where and how is the H20 getting in there ?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_test

I'm betting that the testers fail to purge all of the water from the tanks, and just go ahead and fill them with gas... knowing what we don't know won't hurt them (the testers).

According the OP, he got about a half gallon of water out of his inverted 40cf bottle. This water would allow the gas to reach its maximum pressure when filling the bottle without reaching its maximum volume, since the water would act as a cheap "fill", displacing gas. Looks like a good deal for the gas people.

This is not unlike what Hershey has done with their "Air Delight" candy. They have mixed air into their bars and kisses, so they can use less chocolate.

Last edited by Gadgeteer; 10-12-2012 at 10:43 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-02-2013, 11:44 AM
mccutter's Avatar
mccutter mccutter is offline
Post Fiend
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 8,313
Smile UPDATE: LWS finally did right by me...

I probably mentioned that the LWS gave me the fill on the "wet" 40cf for "free", but when I got my invoice at the end of the month (I have a charge acct.), it was ON there! I called them about this and they said they'll give me a credit the next time I go in as I had already paid the bill before I noticed. I'm mired in paperwork so it is not uncommon for me to just pay something and check it later...

Next time I went in, the "guy" that would adjust the fill was not in. And the time after that... And the time after that...

Finally, yesterday, I had to swap out a 125cf (they had a 150 for me! ) and the "guy" was there. I jogged his memory about the issue and he gave me the 125 fill for "free"! No paperwork, just a straight swap... I can live with that!

PS: he did mention he marked the cylinder as "wet" inside. Apparently, they are supposed to draw a vacuum on them to purge them before they fill and that one somehow was missed.
__________________

TA Arcmaster 185 w/tig/stick kit
MillerMatic 252 w/3rd gen 30A
MM140 w/o AS, w/CO2
Hobart (Miller) 625 plasma
Hobart 250ci plasma
Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
Lincoln Patriot autodark (freebie)
45ACP Black Talons for those stubborn jobs...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-03-2013, 09:15 PM
Jim-TX's Avatar
Jim-TX Jim-TX is offline
Chairman of the Headboard
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Abilene, TX
Posts: 2,412
Default

I've never checked a cylinder for water. Maybe I need to start. My local welding supply sold to Airgas a year or so ago. NOT the same for sure. I used to enjoy going to my LWS. They knew my name and it was a very friendly place. Now it's just Airgas. I do get the privilege of unloading and loading my cylinders by myself now.
__________________
Jim
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Web Search:

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.