Scuba tanks were originally made from steel. This is a strong material but the older tanks made in the 1960s and before were very heavy outside of the water. They could only hold about 2,200 pounds of air pressure.
Aluminum tanks became popular in the 1970s. These tanks are much lighter and easier to handle outside of the water. They should be pressure tested periodically. They are filled to 3,000 pounds of air pressure. Recently it has been found that some aluminum tanks were made from a type of aluminum that tended to fail with age.
Chrome Moly Alloys
Some manufactures today especially in Canada are using a chrome moly alloy. This material can have thinner walls, and therefore be lighter, while being extremely strong. They are filled to 3,000 pounds.
Carbon Fiber Tanks
The newest innovation in scuba tanks is the carbon fiber tank. It is very light and yet can be filled to 4,500 pounds. This means you have more available air.
More on Carbon Fiber Tanks
Carbon fiber tanks also are more compact than steel tanks. They are much lighter, so they are much easier to load in a truck or car. They only need to be pressure-tested once every five years.
Article Written By Les Belzer
Les Belzer has been a professor, entrepreneur, farm owner and writer since 1968. He has written in-house articles on education, mathematics and Spanish literature. Since 1999 he has written travel articles for Escapeartist and "International Living." Belzer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Idaho State University and a Master of Science in math from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon.