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Several pressurized air containers (i.e., diving tanks) made of non-heat-treatable Al-5Mg aluminum alloy failed catastrophically. Catastrophic failure occurred when a subcritical stress corrosion crack reached a critical size. Critical crack size for unstable propagation was reached prior to wall penetration, which could have led to subsequent loss of pressure, resulting in explosion of the cylinder. It was recommended that more stress corrosion resistant alloys be used for sea diving applications. Furthermore, cylinders should have a reduced wall thickness that can be determined employing the “leak-before-break” design philosophy, developed using fracture mechanics, to eliminate the possibility of catastrophic ruptures.

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