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FRP Solves Hydrochloric Acid Storage and Transportation Problems

hydrochloric acid storage tanksHydrochloric Acid (HCL) also known as Muriatic Acid is a corrosive, stable mineral acid that is clear to slightly yellowish in color.  Its versatility lends itself well to many industrial uses including hydraulic fracturing, pulp and paper, steel-making, PVC manufacturing, and chemical processing.  Similarly, it’s also used in the production of high-fructose corn syrups. HCL, while being versatile and widely used is also highly corrosive which makes maintaining supply and hauling a challenge.  

The History

HLC wasn’t always as widely used as it is today. Fuming Hydrochloric Acid’s  history can be traced back to the Middle Ages when common salt was mixed with “Oil of Vitriol” (Sulphuric Acid) to produce Hydrochloric Acid.  The word ‘Muriatic’ literally means ‘pertaining to salt or brine’.  Fast forward a few hundred years and HCL made its recorded debut in the 17th century.  However, it was not until market forces during Industrial Revolution, and an increased demand for alkaline products, that large-scale production of Fuming Hydrochloric Acid took place. Along with the large-scale production of HLC came large-scale needs for corrosion resistant vessels and piping for production, chemical storage, and transportation.

How corrosive is HLC?

In concentrations above 25%, HCL is considered highly corrosive and must be handled with extreme care and caution.  In concentrations of approximately 35% and higher, HCL is referred to as fuming HCL or fuming Muriatic Acid. 

Special requirements for handling, transporting, and storing HLC

When handling, transporting or storing HCL it is essential that is kept cool, dry and well ventilated. Industry specific drainage, venting, and corrosion resistant flooring can also present barriers to safe HCL storage. When storing or transporting HCL in large quantities, you must have a non-reactive, corrosion resistant chemical storage tank, pipe, vessel, or basin. 

The Solution

Fiber Resistant Polymers (FRP) provide a high quality, durable, strong, corrosion resistant solution to this problem. At Beetle all of our FRP pipe, tanks, vessels, and containers for corrosive fluid services have a corrosion barrier or liner. The type and thickness of this corrosion barrier/liner depends upon the specific service environment.

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 esthetic requirements.  The high quality, durability, strength, corrosion resistance, and customization all make FRP an ideal solution for the challenges associated with HLC.

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.

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.

FRP and Abrasion Resistant Lining: Lined Pipe vs. Unlined Pipe

abrasion resistant lining

This is the second in a series of blog posts discussing lined FRP pipe vs. unlined FRP pipe. The first posts discusses corrosion resistance.

In this post, we discuss abrasion resistance.

Abrasion Resistance: There is an element of abrasive wear in almost all fluid service applications.  In the concern for corrosion resistance, this abrasion element of the environment is often overlooked.  Especially for pipe subjected to high flows or where there may be particulate matter contamination (i.e. cooling water applications, river water, waste handling, etc.) abrasion design needs to be considered for all FRP pipe.

As with corrosion resistance, the resin matrix provides the abrasion resistance.  With a properly designed and selected corrosion barrier/liner, the abrasion resistance (and the pipe life) can be up to ten times greater than for unlined pipe, where the glass filaments are directly exposed to the service wear.  With unlined pipe, very rapid wear can occur, with the roving filaments being “picked” away from the surface.

Through further modifications of the corrosion barrier/liner, consisting of proper resin
selection, proper type of non-glass reinforcement, and armoring modifiers, the abrasion resistance of the corrosion barrier can be further improved.

Another compelling reason for always using a corrosion barrier/liner in FRP composite pipe is to provide the capability for changes in service environment. Even if the current service environment would not benefit from the additional protection of a corrosion barrier/liner, the addition of a corrosion barrier/liner provides insurance that future changes in the service stream can take place without concern for the life of the FRP pipe.

Perhaps the nature of the waste stream may be different five or ten years from today. Perhaps even for relatively mild cooling water or river water service, the end user may want to add treatment chemicals in the future. The zebra mussel that is attaching itself to the insides of pipe has made headlines.

The addition of a corrosion barrier/liner for pipe would provide additional abrasion resistance in removing, by mechanical means or hydro blasting, such mussel buildups.  The small additional cost for a corrosion barrier/liner can be a very inexpensive insurance policy for the future. 

The final benefit to using lined FRP composite pipe is lower in-service costs.  One of the advantages of FRP composite plastic pipe is its internal smoothness over its entire service life, especially when compared to other materials such as concrete, steel, etc.  This smoothness is translated into less friction and, thus, lower pumping cost. In some cases, even a smaller diameter pipe can be used.

Even small differences in the smoothness of the FRP pipe interior can be translated into dollar savings in electricity or fuel (for the pumps). The glass smoothness of the high resin content corrosion barrier/liner is measurably better than for unlined FRP pipe. In addition, the energy savings advantage of the resin-rich corrosion barrier/liner increases with age.

Summary:

Except for conduit, in almost all instances a corrosion barrier/liner can be economically justified for FRP composite pipe. We recommend, as a minimum, a 40 mil thick C-veil and/or Nexus reinforced corrosion barrier/liner. For moderate and severe corrosive environments, an even thicker corrosion barrier/liner should be considered.

We will be glad to work with you in selecting the best corrosion barrier/liner for their service
environment.  We are confident that “lined” FRP pipe will provide the end user their lowest cost per year of service life and, thus, their “Best Buy”.

Contact us today and we can arrange a test installation in your plant comparing Beetle Plastics abrasion resistant composite FRP pipe with your current piping and duct materials.


Improvements to Abrasion Resistant Pipe made from FRP Composites

abrasion resistant pipeJack Mallinson of FMC Corporation’s plant in Front Royal, Virginia, working in conjunction with Beetle Plastics, then located in Fall River, Massachusetts, conducted some of the earliest work in improving abrasion resistance of FRP pipe. These original developments took place
in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

This work found that significant increases in abrasion resistance could be achieved by adding armoring modifiers to the resin used for the internal corrosion barrier of the pipe. In those early days, the best modifiers were various forms and grades of aluminum oxides. There were problems in getting the aluminum oxide to disperse and “wet out”. However, once the aluminum oxide dispersed, improvements of abrasion life in the magnitude of two to three times over a non-modifi ed resin were achieved. The resin matrix used in those days was typically the Hetron 197 polyester resin.

While some companies that make so-called abrasion resistant pipe still use that same filler approach and formulation from the late 1960’s, Beetle continued to find a better way. In the early 1970’s, working with the late Walt Szymanski of Hooker Chemical, Beetle Plastics made major advances in the technology of abrasion resistance in FRP composites. In an extensive series of tests conducted in conjunction with Hooker, Beetle discovered that three fabrication techniques significantly influence the resulting abrasion resistance of the composite laminate.

Type of Resin: The type of resin used in making the inner abrasion/corrosion liner of the pipe influences the resulting abrasion resistance of the pipe. Special developmental elastomeric and epoxy vinyl ester resins signifi cantly increase the abrasion service life. Beetle Plastics
worked closely with Dow Chemical and Interplastics in developing these experimental resins. The selection of the proper resin, along with specifi c resin modifi cations, increases abrasion resistance by a factor of two to three times over a standard polyester or epoxy resin.

Type of Reinforcement: Beetle also discovered, in these series of Hooker tests, that the type of reinforcements used in the matrix signifi cantly infl uenced the abrasion resistance of the inner abrasion/corrosion liner. The tests demonstrated that specific types of
reinforcements greatly improved abrasion resistance of the laminate.

Also, a specific combination of selected reinforcements was critical to obtaining the optimum abrasion resistance. As the result of that knowledge, Beetle Plastics now uses a unique combination of laminate reinforcements that help significantly improve the total abrasion resistance of the composite laminate.

Armoring Modifier: Building on the early work done with FMC, Beetle conducted extensive tests to improve armoring modifiers. Beetle succeeded in developing a new type of modifier that provides superior armoring of the FRP composite. This material compares in toughness to
basalt, which in its natural form is often used as abrasion liners for steel pipe.

Over the years, Beetle Plastics has fine-tuned the specific grades of this armoring modifier material, selecting those that demonstrate the best performance in abrasion resistant FRP composite pipe. Beetle also developed techniques to gain the optimum dispersion and wetting out of this armoring modifier within the resin. Getting this ideal resin “hook” to the armoring modifier is also an important consideration when developing the best possible abrasion resistance of FRP laminates.

In order to gain maximum abrasion resistance from FRP composite pipe and laminates, it takes careful selection of all three of the important factors (resin, reinforcements, and armoring modifiers), in the proper ratios and interactions.  Test results from this research indicate reductions in abrasion loss in FRP composite laminates to just one-tenth that of non-modified laminates. In other words, you might expect increased service life of ten times, or more, from Beetle Plastics abrasion resistant composite pipe and ducts.

But, to paraphrase an old saying – “the proof is in the pudding”. For FRP composite abrasion resistant pipe, the proof is in the service life obtained in actual fi eld installations.

In tests, control installations showed substantial abrasion wear and failure in just several months of service life. Regular six-month and annual inspections at these plants of Beetle Plastics abrasion resistant pipe and elbows (an elbow is an area of high abrasive wear) showed little discernable wear.

Beetle continues to refine our FRP pipe abrasion resistant technology. As a result, you can confidently turn to Beetle Plastics for the best FRP composite abrasion resistant piping system available.

Customers at numerous projects have achieved outstanding FRP piping service life in highly abrasive applications such as lime slurry, fly ash slurries, and the extremely abrasive bottom ash service.

Contact us today and we can arrange a test installation in your plant comparing Beetle Plastics abrasion resistant pipe with your current piping and duct materials.

Lined Pipe vs. Unlined Pipe – Corrosion Resistant Pipe

corrosion resistant pipeIt has always been our contention that all FRP composite pipe for fluid service should have an internal corrosion barrier/liner.  Therefore, it has been our policy to supply all pipe, with such a corrosion barrier/liner.  The type and thickness of this corrosion barrier/liner will depend upon the specific service environment.  The thickness of a corrosion barrier/liner can range from a 40 mil (0.040″) for cooling water applications, to over 200 mil (0.200″) SPI type for wet chlorine gas service.

The purpose of this blog post series is to detail why we believe it is important to provide FRP composite pipe with an internal corrosion barrier/liner.

We will take each major reason and discuss in each blog post.

The first major reason to use lined FRP pipe is Corrosion Resistance.

We realize that some pipe manufacturers market a pipe without a corrosion barrier/liner (typically called unlined pipe). Interestingly, in most cases, the resins used for the unlined pipe series also have lower corrosion resistance capabilities, and lower service temperature limitations.  All pipe manufacturers provide a corrosion barrier/liner in their pipe intended for moderate to severe corrosive applications.

Since fiberglass reinforced composite pipe is typically used for applications where corrosion is a consideration, it seems only logical to use a corrosion resistant product.  In FRP composite pipe, the resin matrix provides the corrosion resistance. The higher the resin content of the laminate exposed to the service environment, the “better” the corrosion resistance. Also, within the limits of the resin system, the thicker the corrosion barrier/liner, the greater the corrosion resistance.

Unlined pipe typically has a resin content of just 30 to 40 percent in the surface exposed to the service environment.  In pipe built with a corrosion barrier/liner, the resin content is typically 80 to 90 percent.

What does all this mean to the end user?  In a filament wound composite pipe, the cost of adding a  corrosion barrier/liner is not all that great in comparison to the true cost of the pipe. The selection of the proper type and thickness of the corrosion barrier/liner can more than double the service life of the pipe.  Since fiberglass pipe is typically being bought to provide longer service life than other alternate materials, the addition of a corrosion barrier/liner can become an important cost savings to the end user, providing the lowest cost per year of service life.

Contact us today and we can arrange a test installation in your plant comparing Beetle Plastics abrasion resistant composite pipe with your current piping and duct materials.