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Gas Cylinders

Gas Cylinders General Info

(not all points below pertain to lecture bottles)

See also 


All gas cylinders must be secured above the center of gravity by an approved cylinder support strap or chain. Always firmly cap any cylinders not in use. Uncapped cylinders should be supported individually, not ganged together behind a single chain. Cylinder carts are not a safe way of securing uncapped gases, even "only for a short time." Max storage limits.

Transportation (by foot):  

Use an approved 3- or 4-wheeled cylinder cart and secure the chain or strap carefully.  Use the freight elevator, not the passenger elevator.


All cylinders and lecture bottles must be labeled at all times with the name of the contents, name of the vendor, name of the responsible Purdue staf member, and the purchase order number. See Chem Stores if you need to obtain or replace the vendor and purchase order ID tag.  (Cylinders and bottles brought in from elsewhere need not have a purchase order number.)


This is a monthly fee for the "rental" of the cylinder.  Lecture bottles (and some larger cylinders) are not subject to demurrage, but most are.  The vendor charges Purdue Stores or Chem Stores, and the charges are passed along to the account which purchased the cylinder.  The demurrage fee stops after the cylinder is returned to the vendor.


The MOST expensive way to dispose of a cylinder is through the waste section of REM. This is to be avoided even though (at least for the time being) it's "Purdue" that pays the bill and not you individually or your research funds.  Empty and non-empty cylinders alike should be returned to the company from which they were purchased, and that's the responsibility of the person who last assumed responsibility for the cylinder (unless it is one of the "in stock" items for which you can just walk up to the stores window and ask).

  • Cylinders obtained at the Chem Stores window without any special ordering can be returned to the Storeroom if they have their ID tag.  General stores picks them up from WTHR and they go back to wherever.

  • Cylinders purchased through Chem Stores on a purchase order, and cylinders purchased independently or brought to Purdue from elsewhere are the responsibility of the owner (the last person who assumed responsibility).  Chem Stores is sometimes able to assist with returning these to the manufacturer or vendor, and the costs incurred are born by the owner.

  • Cylinder size/pressure and gas information

  • Lecture bottles - Return of lecture bottles to the vendor or manufacturer is not generally accepted.  "You bought it -- you own it;" it's a container just like a 4L glass bottle at this point, except a slightly uglier disposal problem.  REM will accept all well-identified materials in lecture bottles and other small gas bottles.  Here are some acceptable ways of writing them up on a pickup request:  (Want to use use the web-form pickup request?  Follow all instructions!)

Item ID
Chemical Description
Number of
S, L, G
1 lecture bottle - nitrogen 99.999% 1 500 mL trace U L
2 small gas bottles - contained Argon (Fisher), both empty now 2 1 L 0 S S
3 lecture bottle - hydrogen chloride (Matheson) - valve is frozen shut we think 1 500 mL 100 g S L

Special instructions and/or comments:

Argon bottles (item 2) are definitely empty.  HCl lecture bottle (item 3) we don't really know how much is in there but you can feel and hear it when you move the bottle.

Note - the physical state of the argon bottles is given as S because they are simply scrap metal.  The physical state of the others is given as L because (it is my understanding that) compressed gases aside from hydrogen and helium are actually in a liquid state in the cylinder.  At any rate, if your "chemical description" is quite clear, it won't matter a lot if you say G or L.  The chemical description must include the chemical name/composition AS IT APPEARS on the container label, and you may add some descriptive comments as you like.  What's very important is that the REM people know perfectly what they're coming to get and drive around campus.