Storing Gas Cylinders (Safety)
Date: May 2008
I am a local Fire Inspector. Our hospital is wanting to
store hydrogen cylinders in proximity to oxygen cylinders. I ran
across your site and wanted to ask the experts...Is this a safe
There is no incompatibility between hydrogen and oxygen, if anything they
would combine and form water. The large cylinders that I work with are
required to be chained to the wall or something immobile when not in direct
use. The small ones should be clamped down with a chain or similar as well.
The main hazard with cylinders is not actually them causing a fire, but
rather if they fall over and the regulator hits a surface hard and breaks
loose, then you effectively end up with a heavy, metal rocket. The larger
cylinders could easily vent enough pressure to bust through concrete walls.
Sorry for the delayed response. Hydrogen gas and oxygen gas react explosively.
Vendors of these
gas cylinders can and will supply recommended safe handling procedures. I
seriously doubt that storing them in proximity to one another will be a
recommendation. There are issues that apply to each of these gases -- for
example high pressure oxygen should not come into contact with oils and/or
greases; hydrogen cylinders must be securely electrically grounded. In any
case storing them in close proximity certainly will NOT be recommended.
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Update: June 2012