Gas Line Rupture from a Nitrogen Tank

A graduate student was setting up a piece of laboratory equipment that utilized compressed nitrogen. He followed all of the manufacturer's specifications and installed the regulator and tubing. The regulator was set at 200 psi. He left the building to retrieve a tool from another building and returned to find the building in alarm and the fire department on-site. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the tubing was not rated for the 200 psi pressure, hence the line ruptured. The lab worker stated that this specific tubing was specified and supplied by the manufacturer.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Always use gas lines and fittings that are rated for 2 ½ times the operating pressure of the regulator and system, whichever is greater.

Other Important Items for Consideration:

  • Positively secure all gas line connections with approved means to prevent accidental disconnections;
  • Only use gas regulators that are approved for the gas to be used and rated for the pressures that the system will be operated at;
  • Inspect gas regulators before each use to verify that they are in good operating order; and
  • Make sure to locate and secure all gas cylinders, using approved brackets/straps, to prevent accidental tipping or knocking over of the cylinders.

If you have any questions please contact contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer at or call 302-831-8475.