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Review of Composite SCBA Cylinders and DOT SCBA Life Extension Approval

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  • Review of Composite SCBA Cylinders and DOT SCBA Life Extension Approval

    Digital Wave Corporation(DWC) has been working the US DOT on the SCBA life extension program. Currently the DOT has issued SCBA life extension for US Navy owned SCBA's via DOT Special Permit SP-15720. The DOT has also issued SP-16343 for life extension of Navy owned composite pressure vessels used for inflating life rafts. These life raft vessels are essentially the same as an SCBA and are built to the same standards as the CFFC SCBA vessel. To help educate people on the history as to why SCBA life was initially set at 15 years, how manufacturers have the ability to extend this life and the current state of SCBA life extension work that Digital Wave Corporation has conducted with the DOT, we have created a PDF white paper. This is just a casual read and is basically meant to throw on the magazine rack or kitchen table at the station. We hope to have news of the formal SP approval in the near future. This will allow the life extension of civilian SCBA vessels, not just for military applications currently available.

    Below is the link to this PDF white paper:


    There is also a video of a SCBA bursting in a burst chamber at nearly 13,000 PSI posted to YouTube. This burst test was conducted during the DOT life extension study at DWC. This is just one of hundreds of SCBA vessels either cycle tested, notched, chemical exposure and/or burst in the test program. The beginning of the video is a bit dry, actually very dry, but it describes the test being conducted. The actual burst portion of the video starts at about the 4:05 minute mark. The specific SCBA in this video bursts low at around 13,000 PSI. This is because the composite overwrap was intentionally notched half way through as part of the DOT study. Even with such a severe axial notch the SCBA, it nearly makes the min burst pressure for this cylinder type. This just goes to show how overly designed the DOT CFFC manufacturing criteria is for SCBA’s and how safe these composite cylinders actually are! They can easily go a second 15 years, or even infinite life with regular requalifications just like their metallic brethren.

    Below is the YouTube link to the SCBA burst test:


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