Chlorine Storage and Handling Using Fiberglass Tanks and Pipe

chlorine storage tanksThe corrosion and abrasion resistance of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) make FRP ideal for handling caustic and abrasive manufacturing processes. The manufacturing of chlorine is one application where the benefits of FRP can make a large impact on the level of maintenance a facility will need and the overall efficiency of the process. To understand the impact FRP can have on chlorine manufacturing it is helpful to have an understanding of the process by which chlorine is produced.  

Manufacturing Chlorine

Chlorine can be manufactured by the electrolysis of a sodium chloride solution or a potassium chloride solution.  In the former, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and hydrogen gas are two co-products created as a result.  In the latter, caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) and hydrogen gas are two co-products created.

Because hydrogen is by-product of the electrolysis process, cost-effective considerations must be given to how it is properly and cost-effectively handled.  There are some common industrial approaches to this: hydrogen produced may be vented unprocessed directly to the atmosphere or cooled, compressed and dried for use in other processes on site or sold to a customer via pipeline, cylinders or trucks. Furthermore, some possible uses include the manufacture of hydrochloric acid or hydrogen peroxide, as well as desulphurization of petroleum oils, or use as a fuel in boilers or fuel cells.

Because the hydrogen gas must be cooled, condensation and moisture are always issues in this industry.  Cooling is imperative, as it improves the efficiency of both the compression and the liquefaction stage that follows. Chlorine exiting is ideally between 18°C and 25°C. After cooling the gas stream passes through a series of towers with counter flowing sulfuric acid. These towers progressively remove any remaining moisture from the chlorine gas. After exiting the drying towers the chlorine is filtered to remove any remaining sulfuric acid.

The Role of FRP

Chlorine gas exiting the cell line must be cooled and dried since the exit gas can be over 80°C and contains moisture that allows chlorine gas to be corrosive to iron piping.  FRP pipe, ductwork, tanks and other custom products can be created to be corrosion and abrasion resistant, making it ideal for handling the gas.   

Chlorine gas must also be compressed and liquefied during the manufacturing of chlorine.  Methods of compression include liquid ring, reciprocating, or centrifugal.  After compression, chlorine gas flows to the liquefiers, where it is cooled enough to liquefy. Non condensable gases and remaining chlorine gas are vented off as part of the pressure control of the liquefaction systems. These gases are routed to a gas scrubber. These vented off gases can cause corrosion and decrease plant efficiency. FRP chlorine gas scrubbers, towers stacks/shroud, fan casing, and inlet bell can also be utilized in plant design to leverage FRP’s corrosion and abrasion resistance to successfully increase plant efficiency and reduce maintenance.

FRP products are ideal for cooling and storage applications during the compression and liquefaction stages of chlorine gas production. Custom FRP components such as walkways, decking, bridges, stairs, and railings can further enhance structure, functionality and over-all durability of the plant.

Westar Uses Limestone Slurry Piping To Reduce Plant Down Time

westar energy

Westar Energy is the largest electric power producer in Kansas. From their various “energy centers” they produce electricity from wind, coal, nuclear, natural gas and landfill gas. Three years ago, in one of their coal fired centers, they refurbished their Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) system. The purpose of this system is to remove the sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the flue gas emissions. Limestone slurry is a product used in the flue gas emissions process to remove SO2. The limestone is abrasive and requires an abrasive resistant piping system. Abrasion resistant fiberglass pipe was chosen to move the limestone slurry within the system.

Westar fiberglass pipeAfter some time in operation, it was determined that there were areas of “high wear” in one of the 8 inch fiberglass pipe lines at some of the elbow locations. In order to replace the worn elbows, it required the shutting down of the system, draining of the lines, and time for fiberglass service crews to cut out and replace the elbow sections with butt and wrap joints.

Beetle Fiberglass repairThe Beetle Plastics LLC Technical Services Group, along with our sales representative Steve Furman of Tompkins, Furman & Associates, worked with Westar personnel at the site to understand the problem and to develop a design change to reduce their downtime due to these “high wear” elbows. The end design was to replace the “butt and wrap” fiberglass pipe elbows with flanged elbow connections. This design allows quick change out of the elbows when the wear issues occur. These change outs can be done by plant personnel without the time and expense for outside fiberglass field service crews, thus reducing cost and shortening the down time for the replacements.

The cost to shut down a power plant for an emergency repair is very high, both in the cost of power generation lost and manpower to make the repair. The solution developed through the cooperation between the personnel at Beetle, Westar and Tompkins, Furman will help to reduce future pipe maintenance costs in this FGD system and assure continued supply of electric power to Westar’s many customers.

Large Diameter Pipe for Water Circulating Project

The photo shows one of many large diameter pipe spools for a circulating water project. We worked closely with the customer’s installation contractor to meet their delivery needs. The jobsite had limited laydown area and to transport each pipe multiple times onsite was not economical or efficient. We staged pipe at our facility and held a strict production schedule to ship just in time.

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Fiberglass reinforced composite resin “fiberglass pipe” has several benefits over traditional
ductile iron, concrete, thermoplastics and vitrified clay systems:

  • lightweight and easy to handle compared to other materials.
  • excellent chemical resistant in corrosive environments.
  • high strength.
  • very low Fluid flow resistance
  • long life and durability

Fiberglass pipe is lightweight compared to ductile iron, concrete and vitrified clay. It can be easily moved into place during installation. Fiberglass pipe can be made with many different types of resin to meet the particular corrosive environments needed. Fiberglass welded joints have long wear compared to vitrified clay and concrete which may crack and be susceptible to chemical attack. Another benefit is that fiberglass pipe has a high strength ratio compared to thermoplastics. Lastly it has a very low Hazen-Williams Coefficient compared to steel and concrete. In some applications pump size can be reduced which reduces power consumption with money savings in yearly operating costs.

When you need fiberglass piping for your water circulating and waste water needs, call us here at Beetle Plastics to see how we can deliver a custom solution.

FRP Pipe Testing using a Vacuum

Have you ever wondered what would happen to a 26″ diameter pipe in a vacuum? Well, we have and because we’re always looking for ways to make our products better, we found out.

We performed vacuum testing on a 26″ diameter pipe to study the effects of fiberglass pipe when subjected to a vacuum condition. The test performed was in accordance with ASTM D2924 and allowed us to determine the vacuum required to cause failure as well as the ultimate failure for analysis. With some outside of the box thinking our engineering was able to set up the test so that the inside of the pipe could be seen throughout the test. What was going on inside the pipe when exposed to a vacuum condition was one of those interesting things that we could not visualize, so we found a way to watch it. The results of the testing provided us important data about our product that can be utilized by our engineering and design personnel and contribute to the continuous product improvement at Beetle Plastics.

The ASTM Test D2924 was conducted on a 26” Diameter Pipe to determine the vacuum required to cause failure mode, and ultimate failure for analysis. The results of the test showed the failure mode was cracking along the lateral line of the inside of the pipe, however the outer wall of the pipe had no visible damage.

FRP Pipe Industry Leaders

frpBeetle Plastics has a rich history of strength in engineering and technical support. Overtime, our image in the industry has changed, as is so often the case for long lived companies. However, since Midwest Towers purchased Beetle a concerted effort has been made to rebuild our engineering base and great strides have been made to be an active player in the technical aspects of the industry.

We now have 3 individuals, Keith Sherman (Beetle Engineering and Design), Bill Daugherty (Beetle Engineering Design and Fabrication), and Tom Toth (Senior Structural Engineer @ MTI) that are directly involved in national committees developing standards and certifications. One particular committee that is of importance to end users, engineering firms, and manufacturers is the ASME Committee on Nonmetallic Pressure Piping Systems. This committee is comprised of respected engineering minds in the fiberglass industry and Tom, Keith, and Bill are active members.

Of particular interest is the development of a new FRP piping standard. The new standard will include design, material, manufacturing, fabrication, installation, installation, inspection, testing, and examination requirements and will affect nearly all users of FRP piping systems. Since this standard will be applied to the pipe, along with bolting, gaskets, valves, fittings, and almost all other components related to FRP piping, we are very excited that three of our own people will have a hand in shaping this industry standard.

We are excited to again be at the forefront of the technical side of the industry and look forward to providing our readers with the newest in industry updates.

The Large Diameter Composite Pipe Market Continues to Grow

Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) is our passion here at Beetle, which is why we were very pleased to see a recent article published by Reinforced “Large diameter composite pipe is gaining market share at the expense of pipe made with commodity materials, in general-purpose as well as specialty applications, ” Ben E Bogner in the article “Large Diameter Composite Pipe: Lasting Function in a World of Growth.” It’s no secret that FRP pipe isn’t the most glamorous of FRP applications, but functionality and durability have allowed the large diameter composite pipe industry to gain in strength as pipe made with iron and concrete lose market shares.

When we talk about large diameter pipe, we’re generally referring to, “pipe that is at least 12 inch in diameter. At the higher end, the sector includes composite pipe in diameters as large as 14 feet.” This sort of pipe is generally used for a number of applications, but the most common, according to the article, are:

  • drinking water projects such as raw water supply lines for potable water systems;
  • irrigation systems for agriculture;
  • feed lines and penstock for hydroelectric power plants;
  • circulation for cooling water systems, primarily for power plants;
  • sanitary sewer projects for pressure as well as gravity sewer systems, and
  • pipeline rehabilitation as ‘slip liners.’

There are a number of features that have contributed to the increased market share controlled by composite large pipes. One of the most attractive features of FRP pipe is that is it resistant to corrosion, even the corrosion you see with sulphuric acid. Composites are also a cost effective  alternative to other kinds of raw materials like pig iron and steel. Even though all kinds of raw materials costs have been steadily creeping upward, the cost of composites hasn’t increased nearly as much.

“Another reason for the increased market share is the fact that FRP pipes for the last 30 years have proven to be a reliable alternative. More than 60 000 km (37 280 miles) of composite large diameter pipe are in operation worldwide to prove that the material will perform long-term as predicted.”

To read the full article, click here.

Corrosive Chemical Storage Problem Solved Using Fiberglass Tanks

When the team at a chemical processing plant needed a new solution for corrosive chemical storage they reached out to a number of tank suppliers and asked them to solve a few core problems.  The existing rubbr lined HDPE tanks were being used to protect against the corrosive nature of the material being stored but were not meeting the needs of the customer.  The rubber liner erodes after a few years and required re-lining causing significant downtime and added costs.

corrosive chemical storage tankThe HDPE leached acid and could not meet the pressure and vacuum requirements. The solution needed to safely store chemicals with very low pH for an extended period at a high temperature.

The tanks needed to be built for an ambient temperature range of 20 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, allow agitation, and not require an internal coating that needed to be repaired or replaced.

“We chose Beetle based on their experience and expertise with this type of corrosive material storage tank.  The fiberglass solution they provided was the best investment in terms of cost and avoiding downtime.  The fiberglass chemical storage tanks from Beetle were delivered on time or even early and the installation and after sales service has been excellent.”

The tanks Beetle supplied were 12’ diameter by approximately 16’ tall and were designed to integrate into the customer’s processes.  One tank was a flat bottom and the other design a conical bottom both of which were custom made to fit the customer’s specific process needs.

Beetle Plastics, founded in the 1950’s, designs and manufactures custom fiberglass pipe, large diameter fiberglass ductwork, fiberglass tanks, fiberglass vessels, other equipment and services relating to fiberglass products. 

Beetle Plastics is a subsidiary of Midwest Towers, Inc., a world-class manufacturer of evaporative water cooling towers. Beetle Plastics operations include our headquarters and plant facilities in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and a nationwide network of sales and representative offices.

Soaring to New Heights with Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer

fiberglass reinforced polymerIn the September-October 2012 issue of Composites Manufacturing we found an awesome rundown of some of the most impressive buildings the world over that are using  fiberglass reinforced polymer, FRP, to achieve their staggering height. “FRP Reaches Record Heights,” (pages 6-7) showcases six fabulous buildings incorporating, or planning to incorporate, FRP composite reinforcement to add the strength necessary to not just break height records, but also to repair damage and withstand earthquakes.

First on their list is the Tokyo Skytree, the second tallest structure in the world. This 2,080 foot tall tower is a telecommunications tower and observation deck that makes use of FRP for its earthquake withstanding strength. The tallest structure, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, uses FRP in its concrete system to reach its 2,712 feet. The Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia is the largest clock tower in the world, and the fourth largest structure, includes, “over 40,000 square-meters of FRP panels and cladding” in its exterior structure.

The article also lays out three future projects that are planning on relying on FRP, one of which is Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia which is slated to be the new tallest building in the world when it completes construction in 2017. “Although the specifics of the project have not been announced, it is anticipated that the building will use similar advanced reinforced concrete and tools to those used in the making of the Burji Khalifa.” One World Trade Center and Wood Innovation Design Center in British Colombia are two more future building projects planning on using FRP to reach farther and stand stronger.

FRP – Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic for Corrosion Resistance

Fiber-Glass-Reinforced plastics (FRP) are used for many varied applications; from boats and bathtubs to missiles.  Examples of industrial and chemical equipment currently fabricated out of fiberglass-reinforced plastics include tanks and vessels, pipe, ducting, hoods, fans, scrubbers, stacks, grating, and specialty fabrications. One of the fastest growing areas is the use of FRP for pollution-control equipment.

What is FRP?

The term FRP, which is common throughout the industry, refers to plastic that has been reinforced with glass fibers. Many reinforcements can be used for plastic materials-including polyester fibers, carbon fibers and, of course, glass fibers. For corrosion-resistant equipment, most of the applications normally involve the use of glass fibers.

Glass fibers can be added to virtually all of the thermosplastic and thermoset resins. For corrosion resistant equipment, the resins used are primarily those of the thermosetting type. These are resins that, once they have “hardened,” remain in their cured configuration when subjected to heat-up to their distortion temperature or the temperature at which they will degrade. Examples of thermoset resins include the epoxies, polyesters, and  vinyl-esters. There are other thermosetting materials, but these four are used in the vast majority of applications for fiber-glass reinforced plastics. The term “polyester” is a generic one that refers to a wide range of materials. It can include everything from a general-purpose resin used in boats and bathtubs to the most exotic, high-temperature corrosion resins. For corrosion-resistant equipment, specialized corrosion-resistant-grade resins are available.

How is FRP fabricated? What are the advantages of FRP? What design considerations must be considered in using equipment made of FRP? And finally, what are the considerations in buying corrosion-resistant equipment? To find out, click the button below to download our updated brochure.

What Are the Advantages of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic?

fiberglass reinforced plasticNow that we have covered what fiberglass reinforced plastic is and how fiberglass reinforced plastic is fabricated, we’ve come to one of the questions we most often get asked, “What are the advantages of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic?”

Corrosion Resistance

Perhaps the prime reason for using fiber-glass-reinforced plastics (FRP) is because of their inherent corrosion resistance. In many cases, they are the only materials that will handle a given service environment; and in other cases, their corrosion resistance is combined with their economy to make them the most economical acceptable solution. Corrosion resistance of FRP is a function of both the resin content and the specific resin used in the laminate. Generally speaking, the higher the resin content, the more corrosion resistant the laminate.

Weight Advantages

Another very distinct advantage of FRP is its low weight-to-strength ratio. As a rule of thumb, for the same strength, FRP will weigh approximately one seventh as much as steel, and half as much as aluminum.

Lightweight properties are important when considering the cost and ease of installation, especially for pipe and tanks. FRP’s inherent lightweight is an advantage when equipment must be mounted on existing structures, such as scrubbers on mezzanines or rooftops, and for specialty applications such as FRP tank trailers.

High Strength

While not as important for corrosion-resistant equipment, high strength does play a major role in the design of FRP equipment for such applications as missiles, pultruded shapes, etc. For filament wound pipe and duct, the high strength gives the lightweight features discussed earlier.


Often, a major advantage of FRP is its lower cost. When comparing materials for corrosion service, rubber lining, titanium, Monel, Hastelloy, Carpenter 20, and the exotic stainless materials are very frequently alternatives to FRP. In these cases, FRP may offer both a satisfactory solution to corrosion problems and the lowest cost. There is no rule of thumb for comparing costs of FRP with other materials. These costs depend upon the application, the design considerations, the pressures (or vacuums) involved, the product configurations, and raw material cost and availability.


Too many people overlook the versatility of FRP. It is best for many applications because you can do things with it that cannot be done economically with other materials. You can mold almost any configuration, or piece of equipment, for which you can build a temporary or permanent mold. For ductwork, for example, you can make all types of elbows, rectangular to circular transitions, Tee inlets, and flanges all in a wide proliferation of round and rectangular sizes and shapes at minimal tooling cost. It is also possible to use FRP to line existing structures

What Should I Know About Designing or Purchasing FRP Products/Equipment?

To learn more about designing for fiberglass reinforced plastic or buying FRP, please download our free whitepaper, “Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics for Corrosion Resistance.”