Chemical Processing eBook

corrosion resistanceWe are very happy to share with you the newest free ebook from Beetle Plastics Chemical Processing eBook: FRP Applications, Opportunities, and Solutions.

In this eBook we cover:

  • What are fiber reinforced polymers (FRP)
  • The corrosion resistance offered by FRP
  • Applications of FRP
  • Engineering services
  • Examples for FRP applications

It’s important to understand the costs of corrosion and why FRP is a preferred solution, because corrosion is a costly problem that affects a wide range of industries and applications.

So download our free ebook Chemical Processing eBook: FRP Applications, Opportunities, and Solutions to learn more about FRP and its role in battling the costs of corrosion.

Storing Sulfuric Acid Using Fiberglass as a Material of Construction

storing sulfuric acidChoosing the proper material of construction for acid storage is critical to the success of your project and will depend on a number of factors, such as, storage temperature, concentration or purity, tank size, and costs.  By many accounts carbon steel is the most common material of construction for this application. However, there are other options, for example, fiberglass, which has been employed in some of the most chemically aggressive and corrosive environments in a multitude of industries including chemical processing and storage.  With respect to alloys, as materials of construction, stainless steel, anode protection, and or phenolic or glass linings are sometimes utilized, perhaps less frequently, and their use often contingent upon design specifications.

Fiberglass is a unique material that can be utilized effectively for corrosive storage, including sulfuric acid.  When considering the entire portfolio of benefits an end-user may leverage or enjoy when employing fiberglass it becomes clear that there are multi-functional attributes of fiberglass that may increase its cost-effectiveness.  Further, the constructability of custom fiberglass materials imparts multi-functional qualities that are desirable, such as, ease of installation and design synchronization; fiberglass designed to your specifications will interface with existing infrastructure or plant layout.  You’ll want to refer to a resin manufacture guide and or speak with our team of engineers to discuss specifications and design considerations

Perhaps often overlooked in these types of articles is the interdependence between complex operating systems and their functional components or elements of design (tanks, pipe, etc.). Moreover, fiberglass boasts long-life cycles in extremely corrosive environments and it should be considered that there may exist a significant connection between fiberglass and resiliency of the plant or and or operation, and or sustainability of function regarding plant operations. How does a plant or complex system deal with change or a disturbance in flow of day-to-day operations?  Fiberglass may provide some answers to this question by providing a diverse range of positive attributes. Which is to say, there is something worth exploring or potentially redeeming about the notion of adaptability in the context of the materials used, flexibility of the plant, relationships or connections that exist between life-cycles, cost-effectiveness, service life, ease of repair, and importantly—reduced plant down time.

Corrosion resistance is chief among concerns for any firm handling acids or other corrosives such as sulfuric acid. Corrosion resistance of fiberglass is a function both of resin content and the specific resin used in the laminate.  Generally speaking, the higher the resin content, the more corrosion resistant the laminate.  The inherent corrosion resistant characteristic of our fiberglass materials makes it a cost-effective, strong, lightweight solution for corrosion resistant equipment applications in the chemical process industries. The selection of the proper type and thickness of the corrosion barrier/liner can more than double the service life of the material. When storing or handling sulfuric acid, the addition of a corrosion barrier/liner is essential and can become an important cost savings to the end- user, providing the lowest cost per year of service life.

There are few good options for storing sulfuric acid.  Fiberglass is an exceptional material of construction when considering the entire portfolio of benefits is imparts to the end-user, and a highly effective option for the storage of sulfuric acid.  Fiberglass benefits include: high strength-to-weight ratio, can be customized/formulated for corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, smoke retardance, posses long life-cycles when compared to other materials, ease of repair, and overall durability. 

Beetle Plastics and Inbound Marketing

Beetle PlasticsWe’re very excited to share with you an article about Beetle Plastics in this month’s edition of Composites Manufacturing.

The article, “Taking Care of Business: Profitable Companies Care As Much About Shrewd Business Practices As They Do About Production,” was written by Terin Bufford and Susan Keen Flynn of Composites Manufacturing. Profiling three composites manufacturing  companies across a wide range of industries, the article looks at the tactics the three companies use that bring together operations, human resources, marketing, sales, and finance.

Bufford and Flynn focused on Beetle Plastics recent forays into inbound marketing as a way to attract and convert customers online. Highlighting the new content creation and lead nurturing efforts that Beetle has engaged in, the article illustrated the power of inbound marketing even for B2B manufacturing companies.

Check out the full article on page 15 of the November-December 2013 edition of Composites Manufacturing.

And a special thanks goes out to Top Line Results, the people that introduced us to, and help us with, inbound marketing.


FRP vs Aluminum: A Snapshot Comparison of Two Materials

frp vs aluminumFRP and Fiberglass

Fiberglass is ubiquitous in a wide range of industries from pulp and paper, wastewater, desalination, and power generation to mining and mineral extraction, marine, petrochemical and chemical processing. There are significant differences with respect to mechanical properties when comparing fiberglass or fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) with metals such as steel or aluminum. Fiberglass is anisotropic, that is, they posses mechanical properties only in the direction of the applied load. In other words, their best mechanical properties are in the direction of the fiber placement. Conversely, steel and aluminum are isotropic, giving them uniform properties in all directions, independent of the applied load.

Fiberglass has exceptional inherent dimensional stability potential due to its unique formulations. Because composites are customizable, they can be designed to maximize the benefits of structural properties. Furthermore, fiberglass materials are often selected by engineers for applications requiring stringent dimensional stability under a variety of extreme conditions. Good dimensional stability or structure, and other properties such as lightweight, strength, toughness, damage tolerance, fatigue and fracture resistance, notch sensitivity, and general durability, make fiberglass desirable for many applications. Moreover, the inherent corrosion resistant characteristic of fiberglass makes it a cost-­‐effective, strong, lightweight solution for corrosion resistant equipment applications in a multitude of industries including chemical processing, wastewater management, and oil and gas.

When comparing strength of materials of equivalent thicknesses and sizes, fiberglass will weigh one seventh as much as steel and half as much as aluminum. There are other very distinct advantages to having specific strength. For example, lightweight properties are important when considering the cost and ease of installation, especially for pipe and tank. FRP has another inherent edge over other products when equipment must be mounted on uneven services, existing structures, such as scrubbers, and on mezzanines or rooftops. Having lightweight properties also works well for specialty applications such as tank trailers.

Aluminum

Aluminum is an abundant element in the Earth’s crust that is widely used throughout the world in a broad range of applications, almost always as an alloy for construction purposes. Its unique combination of properties makes aluminum one of the most versatile engineering and construction materials. Aluminum is refined through the Bayer Process from aluminum ore or bauxite and once refined can be easily formed, machined and cast.

Some key properties include lightweight (about 1/3 mass, of equivalent volumes of steel, copper), excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, highly reflective to radiant energy, highly corrosion resistant to air and water (including sea water), and it’s highly workable into almost any structural shape. Corrosion resistance is a crucial property that can’t be overlooked; when aluminum is exposed to atmospheric conditions a thin oxide layer forms and protects the metal from further oxidation—this makes aluminum attractive as long-­‐term viable solution for many applications. This coating or layer provides protection and allows aluminum to often be used without any type of coating or paint.

One of the most important components of aluminum’s corrosion resistance is that the aluminum oxide layer formed is impermeable, adheres well to the parent material, and if damaged the oxide layer can repair itself immediately, generally speaking the layer is stable in a pH range of 4-­‐9.

So how does aluminum react in chemical environments? Generally speaking aluminum has good resistance to many organic compounds and some moderately alkaline water solutions, and most inorganic salts. As such aluminum materials are often used in the production and storage of many chemicals. One point of interest, for this article involves the pH range. A low or high pH range (below 4 or above 9) can lead to the oxide layer dissolving and corrosive attack. For example inorganic acids, strong alkaline solutions, and heavy metal salts are extremely corrosive to aluminum.

A key takeaway from this article, with respect to aluminum, is that there are important corrosion resistant limitations, and or chemical resistance limitations. For example, aluminum is susceptible to pitting corrosion, this typically happens in the presence of an electrolyte in dissolved salts, usually chlorides. Fiberglass is not susceptible to pitting corrosion in the presence of chlorides.

As with any material, limitations of one create opportunities for others. For example, aluminum is not compatible with, and should not be used in applications that included hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid. Similarly it is not recommended for service environments that contain chlorine, sodium hypochlorite and ferric chloride, thus making it not an ideal candidate for some wastewater treatment applications.
Conversely, fiberglass has excellent corrosion properties for organic and inorganic compounds, alkaline and acidic environments including chemical resistance to the chemicals mentioned above. Fiberglass is now commonly used in wastewater treatment and or chemical processing applications using sodium hypochlorite, chlorine and or ferric chloride.

Similarly, there are structural property limits such as fatigue strength or fatigue limit that must be considered by engineers. For example, aluminum has no defined fatigue limit (fatigue failure eventually occurs) engineers must assess loads and designs for a fixed life. In contrast, when designed properly, fiberglass does not

creep, and has outstanding dimensional stability; fiberglass is strong lightweight and durable and in many cases a cost-­‐effective solution.

To summarize, fiberglass has a higher-­‐strength to weight ratio and better corrosion resistance in a wide range of chemical applications, when compared to aluminum. When working with fiberglass corrosion resistance can be enhanced by modifying the corrosion barrier to design specifications. Both offer design flexibility and some degree cost-­‐effectiveness with respect to reduced maintenance and long life cycles. An important structural difference is that fiberglass is anisotropic, while aluminum is isotropic. Both are limited by manufacturing processes and design.

Fiberglass Tanks and the Storage of Caustic Soda

caustic soda storage tanksLiquid caustic soda is corrosive. Currently caustic soda is stored in fiberglass, stainless steel, carbon steel, low-carbon steel, lined steel and plastic materials. The nature of the service environment, including the temperature and concentration, will largely determine which materials are most appropriate. Due to the dynamic nature of chemical storage and chemical processes, it is important to not search for a panacea. Instead there are many opportunities for employing a multitude of materials, where fiberglass can be an excellent choice, depending on circumstance. For example, when storing caustic soda, stress cracking and embrittlement in unlined soft steel has been know to occur when liquid temperatures exceed 45 degrees Celsius. Other considerations such as the use of compressed air during unloading will affect the choice of materials and also operating conditions with respect to those materials.

Storage materials are just one facet of the much larger framework, which once must consider with respect to design elements. Other considerations may likely include, but are not limited to, cavitation, solidification, pressure, vacuum, filling lines, vent lines, overflow lines, tank fluid measurements, tank foundations, tank supports and secondary containment structures when specified by relevant laws and regulations.

The purpose of this article is to identify fiberglass as a key caustic soda storage material, identify benefits of using fiberglass for the storage of corrosive materials and to outline Beetle’s custom tank offerings. A key takeaway from this article is evident when endusers, leverage the inherent strengths of fiberglass, specifically long life cycles, whereby degrees of cost-effectiveness may be realized. Another key takeaway relates to the enhancement of complex design through integration; the constructability of our fiberglass materials imparts the ability to interface to pre-existing design elements or infrastructure; this point also emphasizes design flexibility as a key characteristic of fiberglass in general.

The edict that fiberglass is an excellent corrosive storage material, with many benefits passed on to end-users, is not new. Many scholars and industry professionals alike have cogently argued that fiberglass is a superior construction material when one considers the entirety of its benefits portfolio. The key benefits of fiberglass pertinent to this topic include: light-weight, high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance via customizable corrosion barriers or liners, ease of repair, non-reactive, reduced-maintenance costs, durability, constructability and cost-effectiveness.

Beetle offers single-source design build capabilities combined with over 50 years of fiberglass experience; our products are venerated by a multitude of industries because we understand how to execute and deliver custom fiberglass products. Our tanks and vessels are employed in broad range of applications; we offer horizontal tanks, vertical tanks, chemical storage tanks, chemical vessels, as well as, transport tankers. We offer standard diameters up to 14 feet, with custom diameters available, standard materials or custom formulations.

When designing corrosion resistant fiberglass materials for caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, or any other corrosive substance the corrosion barrier will be critical. The corrosion barrier is typically fabricated with a resin-rich liner or corrosion barrier, followed by a glass-rich structural wall. The corrosion barrier is one component of the entire laminates schedule; it is a critical layer that must be designed properly in order to ensure effectiveness, safety and performance of your fiberglass product. We hope that this article has provided you with some basic details regarding fiberglass as an effective material of construction for caustic soda and other corrosives.

Beetle Plastics to Attend The Chemical Processing Symposium

Beetle PlasticsWe are excited to announce that Beetle Plastics will be exhibiting at booth #117 at The Chemical Processing Symposium at the Galveston Island Convention Center November 6-7 in Galveston, TX.

The Chemical Processing Symposium’s focus is on providing the newest research, case studies, and best practices for the management of chemical corrosion with non-metallics. Beetle Plastics will be sharing information about the corrosion resistant abilities of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP).

Check out some of our most popular corrosion resistance blog post:

Reducing Material Costs with Corrosion Resistant FRP Solutions

Chemical Handling: Corrosion Resistant Tanks and Vessels

What is an FRP Corrosion Barrier?

Come visit Beetle Plastics at booth #117 November 6-7 at the Galveston Island Convention Center, or contact us to learn more about corrosion resistance and FRP.

Fiberglass Pipe Fittings: Where Materials and Human Capital Converge

There are many important design considerations that are fundamental to designing any fiberglass pipe system. For example, operating temperature, service environment or media, pressure, vacuum, and temperature are all critical design aspects that need to be considered. Similarly, there is a necessity to acknowledge the coterminous and interconnected relationship that exists between pipe, joints and fittings as well as the level of human capital applied within the context of aggregate pipe system and performance.

To speak in certain terms, no two fiberglass pipe systems are created equal; to a large degree the quality of fiberglass materials are relative to the level of expertise, experience, as well as, technical knowledge and skills a given labor force has, in this case we are referring to resins and adhesives as primary materials. A key takeaway from this article is that there is an assumed positive correlation between performances of a joint or pipe system and whether or not it’s properly fabricated/completed. For example, with respect to a weld or adhesive joint, there are some important considerations that will ultimately affect the end-user’s product. Considerations such as proper mixing of adhesives or resins, properly prepared joint (shaved, ground), proper curing conditions (dry, temperature, stable), properly trained personnel, and correct resin/adhesive for the type of pipe are included.

Another key takeaway from this article is that in many senses working with fiberglass is an art. This art or acquired skill is founded in the understanding of science, technology, and materials and at the same time constrained by conventional standards, investment of human capital and the notion of precision—among other things. It can be inferred that without a firm understanding of the standards and adherence to them there can be no art or no high quality product produced.

In other words, paramount to achieving fiberglass materials that are optimized for performance, one must understand the basic concept of investment in human capital or that increasing the labor component, a factor of production, is proportional to the resources invested. Beetle has invested heavily in human capital and has created a culture of learning—this is one of our competitive edges. We possess a high level of expertise at all stages of the manufacturing process. This fundamental approach, of offering the best training and education to our team, has developed a forward-thinking technical culture of highly skilled workers. More importantly it contributes to the high quality of our fittings and joints. For example, many of Beetle’s technicians are trained and certified in the following areas:

Certifications

  • ACMA Certified Composite Trained
  • SSPC QP1 Certified: Field Application to Complex Industrial and Marine Structures
  • SSPC QP2 Certified: Field Removal of Hazardous Coatings
  • OSHA 10, OSHA 30

Certifications (Bonder)

  • ASME B31.3 Certified
  • CCT Certified (ACMA)
  • TWIC Certified
  • OSHA Confined Space Certified

Fiberglass joints and fittings of one type or another are essential element of most pipe systems. Beetle offers a wide range of custom fittings; adapters, bushings, couplings, outlets, reducers, crossers, laterals and tees—just to name a few.

Beetle’s custom fittings include:

Adapters

  • Bell x NPT Thread (Male or Female Threads Available)

Bushings and Couplings

  • Threaded Adapter Bushings
  • Reducer Bushings
  • Pipe Couplings
  • Threaded (NPT) Couplings

Elbows

  • Elbows, standard are 22 1/2°, 30°, 45° and 90°
  • Elbows through 48″ Ø are available as smooth radius
  • Mitered Elbows- available in all sizes
  • Reducing Elbows

Flanges

  • Blind Flanges
  • Threaded Flanges
  • Reducing Flanges
  • Orifice Flanges

Outlets

  • Bell Outlets
  • Spigot Outlets
  • Flanged Outlets
  • Saddles, with FRP and Stainless Steel Threaded Outlets

Reducers

  • Concentric Taper Body Reducers
  • Eccentric Taper Body Reducers

Why Isophthalic Polyester Resins are Ideal for Fiberglass Fabrications

Unsaturated type resins, such as polyester resins, are thermoset, capable of being cured under the proper conditions. There are a broad range of polyesters made from different constituents, all having diverse properties—acids, glycols and monomers, for example. Throughout much of the composite or fiberglass industry, in traditional laminating, molding and casting systems two principle types of polyester resins are commonly used, they are orthophthalic polyester resins and isophthalic polyester resins respectively.

As a point of clarification to our audience, this article will address some critical differences between polyester resins which have lead us to select isophthalic polyester resins for the fabrication of fiberglass materials where a polyester type resin has been specified. The scope of this article is limited to polyester resins and will not attempt compare other types of resins in any detail.

Orthophthalic are known throughout the industry as a basic resin; many contend that orthophthalic resins are a lesser product than general-purpose resins. They are typically less expensive than other resin types, such as, isophthalic polyesters, vinyl esters, and epoxies. Their properties portfolio is inferior with respect to strength, chemical resistance and corrosion resistance when compared with other resin types including isophthalic polyesters.

A comparison of polyester resins, reveals that isophthalic have some key advantages over orthophthalic. Isophthalic polyester resins are undoubtedly of a higher-grade and offer substantially higher strength, better flexibility and chemical resistance. To illustrate the important differences further, in laboratory tests, a fiberglass reinforced isophthalic polyester resin panel showed 10% higher flexural and 20% higher tensile properties than a comparable panel using orthophthalic polyester resin.

It is clear that there are substantial differences between isophthalic and orthophthalic polyester resins. At Beetle we recognize those differences and aim to leverage the strengths of isophthalic resins when fabricating fiberglass materials where a polyester type resin has been specified. By leveraging these strengths we are able to optimize the performance of the fiberglass materials and provide you, our customer, with a high-quality, cost-effective materials solution.

Corrosion Resistant Material

corrosion resistant material When looking for a corrosion resistant material for construction or manufacturing, there are a lot of material options on the market to choose from. When trying to sort through the options one corrosion resistant material stands out: fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP).

Advantages of FRP

There are a number of advantages to FRP as the corrosion resistant material of choice. Once of the biggest advantages has to do with the cost effectiveness of FRP. While other traditional materials like steel or concrete continue to see annual price increases, FRP remains affordable. FRP also has a long service life, making it cost effective in the long term even if it is comparable in price in the short term.

FRP also offers the advantage of flexibility and customization. Working with an experienced company, FRP can be formulated to meet almost any need across a wide range of industries.

How is the Corrosion Barrier/Liner Created?

Corrosion resistance of FRP is a function both of resin content and the specific resin used in the laminate.  Generally speaking, the higher the resin content, the more corrosion resistant the laminate.  Ergo, when building the laminate, the surface area nearest the corrosive or caustic medium is 90% resin and 10% glass (i.e. surfacing-veil layer).  For instances where an extremely corrosive media is present the surfacing-veil layer is then followed by a layer comprised of 75% resin and 25% glass.  Higher glass content may be used where less corrosive resistant qualities are needed.

Corrosion Resistant FRP Applications

FRP is corrosion resistant enough to accommodate a diverse variety of applications including:

  • Hydrochloric acid               
  • Wet chlorine gas
  • Ferric chloride                  
  • Hydrogen sulfide                   
  • Sludge storage                                 
  • Raw and pure water
  • Acid waste neutralization      
  • Caustic storage
  • Industrial waste water                       
  • Industrial water                      
  • Cement industry waste water
  • Oily waste water
  • Chlorides 

Contact us to request a quote or to learn more about the corrosion resistance of FRP.

FRP Products Meet a Diverse Set of Needs

FRP productsIt seems like every time we look at Twitter or the news we see another story about a new way manufacturers are using FRP. The versatility of FRP is one of the many things that make it a great construction and manufacturing material. We may not make fire hydrants or underwater turbines, but we do create a lot of FRP products like fiberglass pipe, duct, tanks, and vessels.

Fiberglass Pipe and Duct

Fiberglass pipe and ductwork can be used in virtually any application with diameters from 1/2 to 14 feet and the ability to be created with materials tailored to the specific end use.

Chemical Processing Pipe: FRP pipe is excellent for chemical processing because of its corrosion resistant properties.

Cooling Tower Pipe:Recognized as an industry standard, our cooling tower piping can be customized to meet almost any requirement.

Power Plant Pipe: FRP pipe and duct can be found in many power plant applications and processes.

Wastewater & Water Treatment Pipe: FRP waste water pipes can be used in above and below ground applications and offer a number of advantages over traditional materials like lightweight, durability, and strength.

Pulp and Paper Pipe: Ideally suited for the corrosive environments of the pulp and paper industry, FRP pipe can be found in many pulp and paper applications like sodium salts, methanol, and sulfuric acid.

Pipe Fittings: FRP fittings can be custom made to suit almost any need from bushings to reducers to everything in between.

Abrasion Resistant Pipe & Duct: Through careful selection of resin, reinforcements, and armoring modifiers we have created durable, customizable, abrasion resistant pipe.

Fiberglass Tanks and Vessels

Fiberglass tanks and vessels can be designed to custom design requirements to meet the needs of the individual customer. We offer a wide variety of tanks and vessels, including: