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Scuba Cylinders: Get INFORMED

Unless you are freediving, you'll have a hard time spending hours underwater without one of these metal cylinders. Cylinders come in a variety of sizes and materials to allow you to select the best equipment for your dive. Typically, cylinders are made from either Aluminum or Steel and are based on volume-- More volume = More Gas. Simple. There are carbon-fiber cylinders in use, but these are best served for rebreathers (CCR) and Self Controlled Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) used by firefighters, military, etc.

Steel Cylinders

Extremely durable and will easily last for decades as long as they are properly cared for. Steel is a denser metal than aluminum, and will typically have better buoyancy characteristics than aluminum cylinders. However, if you find yourself overweight (speaking to you warm water divers), you may find aluminum to be a better fit. Faber’s Cylinders are appreciated worldwide by scuba divers who choose steel tanks for their aqua-lung apparatus. To give you the lightest (and hence an optimum wall thickness) steel tanks (cylinders) with an ideal buoyancy, Faber’s scuba diving cylinders are diligently manufactured using high-quality steel plates. If you are already using steel cylinders when diving you don't need to be convinced about the advantages of steel. Besides the buoyancy attractions, it occupies a far lower volume for the same water capacity allowing you to enjoy greater space and freedom and free from any worries of developing any premature defects such as sustained load cracking (SLC) found in some aluminum-alloy cylinders such as those from alloys AA6351, AA6082. 

Aluminum Tanks

Aluminum cylinders store gases for a wide variety of applications including ultra-high purity gases for electronics manufacturing, specialty and calibration gas, industrial gas, medical oxygen, food, and beverage grade CO2, SCUBA, fire & rescue, alternative fuel, and aerospace. They are the most economical means for dive operators as the cost of the cylinder is typically 40% less expensive--which is why you see aluminum 80cuft/11.1L cylinders in almost every destination around the world. 

As mentioned above, aluminum is less dense than steel and does require a little more precaution when caring for them. They will still easily last for more than 20 years with proper visual inspections and hydro-static inspections. One thing to note is that all-aluminum cylinders, except for ones stamped with an “N,” are positively buoyant at the end of a dive. The “N” on some cylinders means they are ‘neutrally buoyant.’

In Technical, Cave, Self-Reliant [Solo] diving, aluminum cylinders are the go-to standard for stages, decompression cylinders, and other high oxygen mixtures. They are typically lighter than steel cylinders and are preferred when a person can’t handle the extra weight on their body. However, that comes at a cost in terms of volume as the lighter the cylinder, the less volume it can [generally] take.

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