Chemistry safety folks have long warned students that a significant hazard associated with gas cylinder use/handling is that a snapped-off valve can turn the cylinder into a rocket capable of penetratin g concrete block walls. I have searched on-line for an anecdote o r report of such an incident and cannot find such an account. Further, in the book, “The Laboratory Companion,” (Gary S. Coyne, Wiley, 2006) on page 270 it says: “The Compressed Gas Association claims that t his orifice is too small for the tank to become a projectile.” (No reference is given for this statement; I could find nothing, easily, at the CGA website to confirm or refute this claim.)
My questions to the group are: 1) Does anyone know of such a (real) incident? 2) Does anyone know of a CGA, or similar , source that definitively comments on “rocket plausibility”? or 3) Has the intuitive application of Newton’s Third Law of Motion l ed us to believe for decades something that isn’t true?
Professor of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Chemistry
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