Practical Failure Analysis

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 78–82 | Cite as

Pressurized 3-piece steel container explosions and failure mechanisms

  • M. Fox
  • R. Hastings
Peer Rerieved Articles


The design of 3-piece steel pressurized containers includes double seams that connect the bottom and top of the container to the container body. These seams have some inherent design features, such as crevices, that can lead to corrosion and other forms of failure. Since the 3-piece containers are pressurized with liquefied propellants, such as propane, failure can lead to catastrophic separation of the top or bottom from the body. This creates a “rocket” effect with the potential to cause serious personal injury and/or property damage. This paper presents the analysis of several such failures and demonstrates that corrosion, weld cracking, and stress concentrations act to cause sudden, unexpected, explosive failures. Several changes in construction that could minimize the tendency for explosion are also discussed.


Achilles’heel aerosol corrosion explosion failure mechanism 3-piece container 


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Copyright information

© ASM International - The Materials Information Society 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Fox
    • 1
  • R. Hastings
    • 2
  1. 1.Chemical Accident Reconstruction Services, Inc.Tucson
  2. 2.Material Science DepartmentUniversity of ArizonaTucson

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