Crosslinked Polyethylene Storage Tanks: Chemical Incompatibilities

Crosslinked polyethylene, with its superior strength, lightweight durability, and cost advantages is the superior storage tank material choice for storing many chemicals. At Poly Processing, our goal is to make sure your chemical storage system is as robust and safe as possible. 

Polyethylene Storage Tanks Chemical Incompatibilities

However, polyethylene storage tanks aren’t the best option for storing certain chemicals. When considering the risks of catastrophic failure and safety, it’s best to understand the chemical compatibility of your tank system.

Let’s take a look at the limited chemicals that are incompatible with a polyethylene storage solution.

Low Flash Point Chemicals

In most cases, volatile chemicals with low flash points of 140 degrees F or less should not be stored in polyethylene tanks. Storing these types of chemicals, like gasoline or xylene, in a polyethylene tank is dangerous. 

Because polyethylene can’t be properly grounded, static electricity generated within the tank itself can cause a serious hazard. As a general rule, most flammable liquids with low flashpoints and heavier-than-air vapors should only be stored in tanks made from steel or other conductive materials that can be effectively earth grounded. 

Questions about storing corrosive chemicals?

Similar Chemical Compound to Polyethylene

Hydrocarbon-based compound materials have a similar chemical makeup to polyethylene. Chemicals such as gasoline, kerosene, some alcohols, and methanol can potentially permeate the polyethylene material and leak through the poly tank. Solvents can also degrade or soften polyethylene, affecting performance and durability of the poly tank. 

In these instances, other tank materials are recommended. Work with your chemical supplier or manufacturer to determine the proper tank system. 

See How XLPE Compares to Other Tank Materials

Crosslinked Polyethylene: The Ideal Storage System Material for Inorganic Acids and Bases

While crosslinked polyethylene may not be the best choice for low flash point chemicals or those with a similar chemical structure to polyethylene, high density crosslinked polyethylene is ideal for storing inorganic acids and bases such as sodium hypochlorite, sulfuric acid, ferrics, alums, polymers, and many other chemicals. These are chemicals commonly used in wastewater treatment and many industrial process applications. Crosslinked polyethylene tanks are easy to transport and install, offer ease of maintenance, superior durability, and lifetime cost effectiveness.

Is crosslniked polyethylene the right solution for your chemical storage needs? Talk to a chemical storage tank specialist for more information.

Review the compatibility of our tanks, fitting, and gaskets with over 100 different chemicals