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they are a federal requirement for all pressure vessels.Burst discs... Never seen one. Are they common in the US?
When they burst there is no shrapnel, just a loud noise and a very cold valve. They burst by being punctured by a needle. They are consumable devices and must be replaced. It's a sporty experience I've witnessed 3x in the last decade. Usually from valves that did not have them replaced at hydro time since they do wear out over time from constant cycling, though one was from a 2250psi burst disc *designed to blow around 3300psi* being installed on an AL80 for some reason which are filled to about 3500psi to cool to about 3000 and it went off. That caused me to jump.
The history goes back to boiler explosions at the turn of the last century and they are required on all pressure vessels regardless of use. In the EU they are required for pressure vessels for the same reason however they are actually banned on breathing vessels which is a nice exception they've made. Unfortunately I do not see that happening in this country.
Outlined in the image below as "one-piece safety" though there are 3-piece designs.