Are oxygen tanks explosive? What makes an oxygen tank explode?

Recently, the application of oxygen tanks has dramatically bumped up due to the crucial pandemic situation. It has become one of the necessitated things to save people’s lives if they can get it. The hospitals have been permitted to buy oxygen tanks or cylinders, but unfortunately, it is less available.

As a firefighter, I should explain things like are oxygen tanks explosive or not. This will help you to avoid any unwanted situation.

In short, an oxygen tank is not explosive if maintained under prescribed conditions. But, under specific conditions, it can explode. Like, if it leaks in close vicinity of explosive or flammable oil or gas, in the presence of excessive heat. Otherwise, it’s not explosive.

What is an oxygen cylinder & What are the major functions?

What is an oxygen cylinder

Basically, oxygen tanks are a kind of vessel or container which allows you to keep a sufficient amount of oxygen. This is also commonly known as oxygen cylinders, and they differ in size and price. Without the authorization of medical prescription, experts and pulmonologists have strictly forbidden to apply the oxygen tanks at your home because they may be dangerous or may catch fire.

You have already heard that in many countries of the covid-19, patients had departed their life due to the leaking and explosion of the oxygen tanks

Are oxygen tanks explosive?

Oxygen tanks are not usually explosive, but they can sometimes explode under certain conditions. It is an oxidizer that supports the combustion of other fuels, so oxygen itself does not explode if the gas burns into flames and cannot catch fire if there is no fuel.

In addition, liquid oxygen does not explode unless it combines with oil or other flammable chemicals.  Oxygen tanks should not be kept in a place where the temperature is above 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

The causes of explosions are primarily due to the result of a combustion reaction.

If the temperature and pressure inside the oxygen tanks increase, and if there are flammable objects, oxygen tanks can explode or burst. There is a risk of an explosion if the oxygen tanks are unhandled. The reaction between oxygen and oil or grease is extremely explosive. If mistakenly they get mixed, oxygen tanks can explode due to the resulting fire, bringing people’s death or meeting a nasty accident.

Is oxygen in an oxygen tank flammable?

Oxygen in an oxygen tank is not flammable because it is just an oxidizer inside a coarctation oxygen tank. Therefore, it is not a combustible gas. Still, it can make other materials catch fire more rapidly. But when the temperature and pressure increase, it can lead to an explosion.

This container maintains the flow rate and is kept under suitable pressure in a tank with a proper system. You must keep the flammable gases away from the flammable objects. If the temperature is too high, it will catch fire, but oxygen itself will never catch fire.

What makes an oxygen tank explode?

Heat causes oxygen tanks to explode. The principal causes of fires and explosions inside the oxygen tanks are: 

  • Improve the structure of the oxygen tanks
  • If you do not use the proper oxygen, adaptable can cause an explosion
  • Always try to use the equipment that is perfectly designed for oxygen. If you do not have clear ideas about it, ask experts for safety. 
  • Misuse of oxygen equipment can cause lead to a serious explosion

Do oxygen canisters explode?

An oxygen canister is like an oxygen tank or cylinder. Still, it is small in size and portable which contains pressurized gases. If it is thrown or dropped, it can sometimes explode under some conditions. However, it will not explode if you use it accurately and cause trauma if you do not use it effectively. 

Can a home oxygen tank explode?

A home oxygen tank does not explode, but I personally think using an oxygen concentrator is much better than using big, bulky tanks or cylinders if you want to use them at your home. It is the preferable and easy solution for supplying oxygen as you do not have to change it repeatedly.

It can explode when it makes contact with a fire or flammable gases or objects such as candles, oil, or greasy materials. As you all know, oxygen is a fire hazard, so there can be a risk of combustion.

Can you smoke around oxygen tanks?

Smoking itself is hazardous for health which causes cancer, lung diseases, and heart attack. Now, think how dangerous it is to smoke around oxygen tanks?

Smoking around oxygen tanks is tremendously dangerous because it is highly flammable and will catch fire speedily and burn the surroundings destructively, burning your clothes or body and hair as it will make a fire burn hotter and faster.

There are some basic tips you should not smoke while you are around the oxygen tanks. They are: 

  • Avoid smoke or do not let other smoke around oxygen tanks or cylinders. 
  • You have to make sure that you are at least 2 meters away from the oxygen tanks while smoking. Still, it is much better if you do not smoke if someone is using oxygen tanks at home or anywhere.
  • Do not apply any cream or lotions like Vaseline on any part of the body while smoking around the oxygen tanks or cylinders.

What should you not do while on oxygen? 

Oxygen is a safe and nontoxic gas if you use it properly. However, when it makes contact with something flammable, it may explode or catch fire. So, you should know the basic techniques which can help you to prevent the danger of oxygen. They are: 

  • Follow what the prescription of the doctor has given and do not change the rate of flow of the oxygen
  • When you are using anything related to oxygen, keep yourself away from flammable objects at least six meters.
  • Keep the body spray, insect killer spray away from the oxygen tanks as they are flammable.
  • Do not allow your children to touch oxygen tanks or cylinders
  • Use a non-electric razor as it prevents you from burning. 
  • Do not keep the oxygen canisters near the open flames.
Are Oxygen Tanks Explosive 2

Why is oxygen dangerous?

Oxygen is dangerous because of the explosion that occurs if they make contact with a flammable object or gases results in burning due to the fire. There are also other problems: pure oxygen is very dangerous because a high amount of oxygen produces free radicals in the lungs, resulting in lung diseases and muscle twitching.

The radicals of oxygen damage proteins, fats, and nucleotides such as DNA and RNA in your body and reduce the power of the eyes; for this, you can’t see properly. In addition, if you make contact with liquid oxygen, your skin can burn, have skin rashes, etc.

Can oxygen tanks be left in a hot car?

Yes, you can keep oxygen tanks in the car but keep something such as a pillow or thick clothes which will support the tanks or cylinders not to move or roll over and avoid keeping the oxygen cylinders in the edge of the cars. It is vital to ensure your oxygen cylinders are tightly and fixed when you keep them inside the cars.

But when the car’s temperature is above 125 degrees Fahrenheit, you should not allow oxygen cylinders to keep in your cars. Also, do not keep oxygen tanks in a closed vehicle because it can result in critical conditions such as flaming, which may spread and even bring you death.


I hope this article has given you a clear idea of oxygen tanks and some vital information. Please convey these messages to your friends and families; we must disseminate the life-saving information to all.

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