high pressure tanks in vehicles

Michael Chisena ka2zev at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 21 14:06:43 CST 2012

Some time back I had to transport an electronic weapon from where we were testing back to NRL.

It was a high power RF source that worked buy dumping a lot of DC into an antenna via a spark gap.
To run the voltages up before the spark gap fired, the gap and antenna assembly was in a resin pressure tank.
The whole system fit just fine into a Pelican case.

If I remember the specs right, the thing wanted nearly 800psi of dry nitrogen, the best we could get out of our tank / regulator was about 600psi.
More than enough for the days test program.
Lots of energy in that box.

I saw what this thing did to some electronic test items when triggered. 

Killed them dead.

A few hours later, it's sitting in my truck, in a power down state but the tank pressure was still up there.
If that pressure tank had failed there is no way the pelican case would have held that much energy back.
The frag from the tank and the case would have been impressive.

There would have simply been a thin haze of Italian out the drivers side window.
A very ginger trip back to HQ for sure.

I have to admit that the idea of a compressed gas vehicle makes me twitch a bit.
There is a huge amount of energy in compressed gas.

Most normal drivers have never had to deal with a vehicle trying to 'run away'.
It's happened to me a few times in 30 years. 
Where the throttle sticks near wide open.
In a vehicle with an ignition system, it can be turned off, and after a moment the parts stop spinning.

How would one shut down a stuck open air valve running as a throttle?

Could be an exciting ride.

Keep it safe


Michael F. Chisena
KA2ZEV at Yahoo.com
703 863 4574 "You are, what you do, when it counts" 
The Masso
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