By now, you may have seen pictures circulating on social media that depict the result of a Pontiac G8 being blown apart by a nitrous bottle explosion. So what happened?
More Than Meets The Eye
At first glance, it’s obvious that the bottle was in the car’s trunk, which is normal. However, since this incident took place in Florida, and during the summer months, temperatures inside vehicles can reach well over 100 degrees. And heat is what builds pressure in a nitrous bottle, but there’s more to this story because this failure is not an expected result of an over-pressured bottle.
Built-In Safety To Prevent Nitrous Bottle Explosions
According to Nitrous Outlet, all nitrous bottles, when new, contain a pressure relief fitting on the side of the valve that includes a burst disc. The disc is rated to rupture if the pressure in the bottle exceeds 3,000 psi, at which point the bottle contents are evacuated through the pressure relief fitting. Bottle operating, or service pressure as it’s called in the industry, is 1,800 psi. DOT certification is 3,000 psi hence the disc rating. When the burst disc functions correctly, the result is expelled nitrous oxide and not an exploded nitrous bottle which points to another problem.
Torched or Not?
Although it is not confirmed, it is worth mentioning that using a torch to heat a nitrous bottle is never acceptable. The melting point of aluminum is 1,221 degrees Fahrenheit. Common consumer-grade butane torches can have a flame temperature of up to approximately 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a torch to heat the bottle up to the desired pressure can distort and weaken the aluminum. Properly installed electric bottle heaters and bottle baths are the safest ways to heat up your nitrous bottles.
In addition to the safety measure installed on new bottle valves, each bottle is stamped with a manufacturer’s certification date. According to Nitrous Outlet, aluminum bottles are supposed to be re-certified every five years. The bottle in question shows a stamp of “04C06,” meaning it was made during the fourth month of 2006. There don’t appear to be any other stamps on the bottle. So it seems that it’s 11 years out of certification.
Although instances like this bottle failure are not commonplace, bottles like this one can be found being used more often than one might think. For this reason, Nitrous Outlet began its Bottle Trade-In Program in 2014.
The program works by customers sending in their nitrous bottles to Nitrous Outlet that are outdated, torched, damaged, or abused. The customer receives $100 off the purchase of a new Nitrous Outlet bottle with their billet high flow valve.
The Nitrous Outlet Bottle Trade-In Program has successfully removed hundreds of outdated, damaged, and potentially faulty bottles from circulation. So give them a call if you require a new bottle and avoid this potentially life-threatening experience.