Large Fiberglass Tanks

Large diameter tanks are sought after for a variety of reasons.  When designed properly FRP materials can provide excellent high-temperature capabilities and solvent resistance. Depending on resin selection and other design factors, unique characteristics may be enhanced. In general, FRP withstand many acids, alkalis and oxidizing chemicals. Another one of those reasons is that there can often be an inversely proportional relationship between the cost to store a material and the diameter of the tank; in many cases the cost per gallon to store a material goes down as the diameter of the storage tank goes up. Thus, in some cases large fiberglass tanks may be a means to a more cost-effective solution.

There are many strengths to utilizing fiberglass in your project design. Large diameter fiberglass tanks can be designed with advantageous features suitable for a broad range of applications including, wastewater treatment, oil and gas, chemical processing and agricultural—just to name a few.  Fiberglass is versatile and importantly can be corrosion and abrasion resistant.  When designed properly, large diameter fiberglass tanks can leverage key attributes of fiberglass materials, such as, high strength-to-weight ratio, dimensional stability, long life cycles and low maintenance.

Our large diameter fiberglass tanks can be fabricated to meet your project specifications and meet industry standards; our custom tanks satisfy ASTM D-4907 (contact molded) and ASTM D-3299 (filament wound) standards.  Our sizes range from 12” to 14’ in diameter, with heights as required, custom diameters are available.  Our typical fiberglass tank design limits for pressure and vacuum is +/- 15 psig. Custom applications that exceeding these limits are special projects and are within our capabilities.

We offer horizontal and vertical tanks with customized support systems including saddles and support legs for horizontal tanks.  Regardless of whether this is a new project or an upgrade we can build per your specifications—our high-quality fabrications can also be designed to fully integrate into your existing infrastructure.  Unique and custom tank head and base configurations can be engineered and fabricated to meet your needs. In addition to customized support systems we offer fiberglass ladders, walkways, platforms, decking, support rails, hand rails, stairways and fencing that will enhance and compliment your current design.

In many cases fiberglass tanks larger than 14’ in diameter are not economical to ship, shop-fabrication, field-fit and field erection may then be necessary for custom jobs larger than standard sizes.  More often than not, large diameter, field erected FRP tanks are fabricated using the same materials of construction and fabrication methods as standard shop fabricated tanks. Each service environment is unique and requires special attention to engineering considerations. Special considerations such as concentration, temperature, and pressure, vacuum will need to be addressed to ensure that the product being fabricated is optimized to enhance its performance and meet your specifications. To a large degree your service environment and specifications will influence many important design elements such as resin selection, laminate schedule and corrosion barrier.

Large Fiberglass Tanks

  • 12” to 14’ diameter standard, with heights as required
  • Standard materials and custom formulations
  • ASTM D-4907 (contact molded tanks)
  • ASTM D-3299 (filament wound tanks)
  • Typical design limits for pressure and vacuum +/- 15 psig—custom options available

Beyond design, engineering and fabrication, Beetle can assist you with procurement assistance, anchors guides and support systems, maintenance inspections, supervision repair and installation services, equipment rebuilding, and on-site modifications. Our project management and field At Beetle we offer FRP leadership; design intelligence, far-reaching capabilities, capacity, and over 50 years of fiberglass experience. Let’s share a conversation and get started.

Muriatic Acid Storage and Handling

Muriatic Acid, also known as Hydrochloric Acid, is used in a broad range of applications; the largest of those end uses being related to steel pickling, well acidizing, food manufacturing, the processing of ore, and the production of calcium chloride. It’s also commonly used in oil well acidizing to remove rust, scale and other undesirable carbonate deposits—this helps the crude oil and or gas flow through the well. Although the average person may not think of HCL often, its presence in the manufacturing of finished products we consume in some form or another is somewhat astonishing—high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, gelatins, or as an acid modifier in many sauces.

The two most common materials of construction used to process, store and handle Hydrochloric Acid are rubber-lined steel tanks or Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) tanks. There are obvious trade-offs with either choice; rubber-lined steel tanks tend to be more expensive and are susceptible to corrosion. However, rubber-lined steel tanks are frequently used when tank damage (e.g. puncture or tear) is a concern. On the other hand FRP, when designed and executed properly, is corrosion resistant, has a high strength-to-weight ratio, long life cycles, low maintenance costs, and excellent dimensional stability. As with any custom fabricated material, such as FRP, it is critical to ensure that design meets key requirements and specifications for the environment. For example, the effectiveness of FRP to resist corrosion is dependent upon a properly specified resin selection, laminate schedule, and corrosion barrier—among much else.

One highly sensitive are that will want to be addressed when utilizing FRP materials to store HCL is to ensure proper venting and vacuum design specifications have been met. One common problem in the industry is that FRP tanks are not always properly designed to meet pressure and vacuum conditions—an especially important factor when HCL is loaded/unloaded using air pressure. It is important that all storage tank materials be designed to handle air surges and the displacement of air during these loading and transfer applications. Beetle Plastics should be consulted to determine proper design of the pressure relieve system including venting and openings.

Hydrochloric acid is extremely corrosive to metals including many that are common materials of construction the world over. Carbon steel, stainless steel, nickel, bronze, copper and aluminum are all extremely susceptible to corrosion. FRP materials that are constructed to withstand harsh chemical environments, such as HCL, are specially designed to leverage the chemically resistant properties of resins that are structurally reinforced with glass fibers during the fabrications process.

FRP is an ideal solution not just because of its corrosion resistance, but also because of its versatility. FRP custom tanks, pipes, or vessels can come in a wide variety of sizes from ½” to 14’ in diameter. Also, custom FRP corrosion resistant piping is lightweight when compared to other materials and can be fine-tuned to fit tanker trucks and detailed to meet specific aesthetic requirements. The high quality, durability, strength, corrosion resistance, and customization all make FRP an ideal solution for the challenges associated with HCL.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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. 

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.

FRP for Ferric Chloride Tanks and Waste Water Treatment

ferric chloride tankFerric chloride or FeCl3, is an industrial scale commodity chemical compound that has many important industrial applications. When dissolved in water, FeCl3 undergoes hydrolysis and gives off heat in an exothermic reaction. The resulting brown, acidic, and corrosive solution is used as a flocculant in sewage treatment and drinking water production, and as an etchant for copper-based metals in printed circuit boards.

Ferric chloride is used in many industrial and sanitary wastewater treatment applications, due to its high efficiency, effectiveness in clarification, and utility as a sludge dewatering agent. Ferric chloride is sought after in waste water treatment because it is a superb flocculating and precipitating agent that can absorb colloids, clays, and bacteria.  Furthermore, ferric chloride is also one of the few water treatment chemicals that can sequester odors.

FRP and Ferric Chloride

Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers (FRP) have been used in the construction of corrosion resistant equipment in a multitude of applications including hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, caustic soda, and ferric chloride.  Our FRP offer superior corrosion resistance for ferric chloride at all concentrations.  As such, FRP corrosion resistant tanks are ideal for transportation, handling, and processing of ferric chloride and other corrosive materials. Where steel and other alloys fall short, FRP endures and outperforms conventional materials with lower maintenance costs, longer life cycles, and overall durability.

In the waste water industry, FRP are typically used for clarifiers, basins, tanks, reservoirs, filters(e.g. trickling, roughing, bio), scum baffles, weirs, flumes (e.g. Cutthroat, Parshall, Palmer-Bowlus), influent/effluent channels, gates, stop logs, skimmers and manholes, filter media support grids, elevated platforms and walkways, odor covers, trench and vault covers —among much else.

In the past, ferric chloride tanks were primarily constructed out of rubber lined steel or plastic lined steel, however FRP are now considered a cost-effective alternative that offer many benefits. We offer exceptional FRP that perform well in waste water environments.  Our composites are lightweight, high strength, corrosion/rot resistant, will not swell, or take on moisture, and can be retrofitted to existing municipal and industrial water and wastewater systems.

Corrosion Resistance Makes FRP Ideal for Handling Sodium Hypochlorite

handling sodium hypochlorite

There are many compounds used in industrial processes that require special considerations and materials when handling them.  Sodium Hypochlorite (NaClO) is not an exception.  NaClO is an unstable compound that is used in water purification, typically on a large-scale for surface purification, bleaching, odor removal, and water disinfection. Sodium hypochlorite is poisonous for water organisms- hence its use in water purification and water treatment.

Developed in France, in the late 1700’s, it has been used both domestically and industrially (originally to whiten cotton), for its stain removal and bleaching/whitening abilities. Sodium hypochlorite is a clear, slightly yellowish solution with a characteristic odor.  As a bleaching agent for home use it usually contains 5% sodium hypochlorite with a pH of around 11.

In an industrial application, it most likely contains concentrations of approximately10-15% sodium hypochlorite (with a pH of around 13, it burns and is corrosive). Because this compound is unstable and corrosive special regulations and specifications must be met when processing or handling it. Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers (FRP), provide a perfect answer to handling this and other chemical compounds.

FRP custom products are unique in many ways, but one attribute has gotten a lot of attention recently- corrosion resistance.  FRP products can be formulated with special resins and advanced laminate scheduling techniques to provide a corrosive or abrasive barrier. This is particularly useful in FRP products such as pipe, ductwork, tanks, basins, and vessels. 

How does Sodium Hypochlorite React with Water?

Understanding the connection or chemical reaction that takes place between water and sodium hypochlorite can help to illustrate the inherent attributes that make FRP so valuable.  The reaction that takes place my interest you.

Some basic information; when sodium hypochlorite is dissolved into water two things transpire.  First, the pH of the water is increased. Secondly, two things form as a result of the chemical reaction: hypochlorous acid and the more inert hypochlorite ion. 

How are Sodium Hypochlorite and Hydrochloric Acid Connected?

In some circumstances when sodium hypochlorite or any compound is used in a process, another reagent must be used to counteract it effects.  In this case, the chemical reagents typically used to lower the pH of the water (during treatment) after it has increased, are hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), or acetic acid (CH3CO2H).  FRP is an excellent material choice for handling corrosive, unstable, and acidic compounds.

FRP Has a Key Role in This Process

Because FRP products are so versatile and have many desirable attributes (i.e. corrosion resistance) they are the ideal choice for storage, processing, and hauling of chemicals.  Another often overlooked benefit of FRP is that it is a non-reactive surface, which is critical when dealing with many chemical compounds such as sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid. FRP products can also be customized to meet industry regulations, specifications, and codes. 

The Storage of Sulfuric Acid in FRP Composite Tanks

Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is a chemical that presents unique handling and storage problems. In the higher concentration ranges (96% to 97%), sulfuric acid (66Be’) can be stored in cast iron or carbon steel.  High concentrations of sulphuric acid, however, are very detrimental to FRP composite equipment. At these higher concentrations, sulfuric acid must not come in contact with FRP laminates.

Diluted sulfuric acid, on the other hand, is very aggressive toward cast iron or steel tanks, but can be stored and handled very well in FRP composite equipment. FRP composite equipment is best suited for concentrations of 70% sulfuric acid and below. At 75% sulfuric acid, the maximum temperature allowed with vinyl ester resins is 100° to 120°F. As the concentration decreases, the allowable temperature limits increase.

The procedure for dilution of concentrated sulphuric acid that has worked best in fiberglass composite vessels is as follows:

1. First, add to the storage vessel the entire amount of water required to achieve the desired solution concentration.

2. Then add the concentrated acid slowly into the center of tank by using one of the following suggested fittings:
a) an FRP top nozzle with a PVC flanged down pipe.
b) a PVC coupling and down pipe.
c) a 316 stainless steel coupling with a 316 stainless steel down pipe. The reason the concentrated sulfuric acid is added to the tank center is to prevent concentrated acid from coming in contact with an FRP composite nozzle, or sidewalls of the tank. The concentrated acid should not be allowed to drop onto the liquid surface. Introduce the concentrated sulfuric acid 2” to 3” below the liquid surface. One method of accomplishing this is to create vortex by adding baffles from the bottom of the tank to the height that concentrated acid is first added to the tank. Another alternate method is to extend the down pipe 6” below
the liquid surface.

3. During the dilution process, the mixture must be continually agitated to insure adequate dilution and prevent high concentrations of sulfuric acid from settling and damaging the FRP composite tank. To insure adequate dilution, a rubber-coated agitator, or pumping the tank continuously through a side bottom drain,is required. Circulation through any nozzle on the tank bottom could result in heavy viscous concentrated acid settling to the tank bottom and destroying the FRP composite tank below the nozzle.

4. The dilution of sulfuric acid generates considerable amounts of heat. The temperature of the diluted sulfuric acid must be controlled below 150°F for finished concentrations of 50% or less, and 140°F for 50-70% sulfuric acid solutions. This can be accomplished by regulating the flow rate of concentrated sulfuric acid addition, or by external cooling of the tank contents.

5. The preferred type of FRP composite vessel for storing sulfuric acid is a non-insulated, vertical, above ground tank. Even underground tanks, with the ground acting as an insulator, may have excessive storage temperatures.

6. Sulfuric acid (H2SO4) with trace organic impurities can cause reduced service life of FRP composite laminates.

Contact us today about your fiberglass pipe and fiberglass tank requirements.