If this is the first time you are going for scuba diving and you need to buy the scuba cylinder, then there are a few facts that you must know. Steel and aluminum – these two materials are used for manufacturing the scuba tank. Are both good? Do both serve similar purpose? Well to know the answers, we have to dig into deep.
Size Of The Diving Tank
Size is the first parameter that you need to check while purchasing the tank as it affects the buoyancy level. If the tank is too big, the female as well as the young divers will face problem. The tanks might hit their heads under the ocean. And if the cylinders are too small, then their capacity will be less and they will carry less gas. Moreover, for the taller divers they are not suitable. Thus, you must choose the tanks that suit you. Steel tanks are smaller than the aluminum ones. But in general, both of them are made with a 7.25 inches diameter.
Weight Of The Dive Tank
The level of buoyancy is also affected by the weight of the diving cylinder. Both of the steel and aluminum tanks weight from 31 to 35 pounds. But steel is much more durable and sturdy than aluminum. Hence, the tanks of aluminum have thicker wall to make them strong. The weight of a typical tank is between 28 and 30 pounds and its capacity is 80 cubic feet. Since steel tanks need fewer materials to manufacture, they are light in weight. But the difference is just a bit.
Pressure And Capacity Of The Scuba Cylinder
Size and pressure rating of the tank determine its capacity. The majority of them have the volume between 50 and 120 cubic feet. The compressed air pressure varies between 2400 psi and 3500 psi. Standard compressed air pressure is 3000 psi, whereas the ones ranging between 2400 and 2650 psi is low and the ones varying from 3300 to 3500 psi is high. Most of the aluminum cylinders are manufactured with a volume of 80 cubic feet and 3000 psi compressed pressure.
If the pressure is more, the tank wall should be thicker and stronger; otherwise they cannot hold the gas securely. In such case, you need to buy a steel cylinder as they are capable of containing more air than the aluminum ones.
Cost, Durability And Maintenance
As aluminum is soft than steel, it cracks and breaks after a few dives, whereas the steel tanks can assist you for several dives owing to its sturdy nature. Besides that, aluminum comes at a cheaper price than the steel tank and maintaining aluminum tank is easier than the steel cylinder. Thus, the occasional as well as recreational divers opt for the cylinders made of aluminum.
But steel is corrosion prone, particularly when you are using it in salty water. If during filling the tank, moisture gets in, the steel tank is damaged. They come at a higher price as well. However, the expert and regular divers opt for the steel scuba tanks.