Sodium hydroxide is commonly used in wastewater treatment to adjust the base pH levels. This chemical is also widely used in manufacturing a variety of products such as chemicals, rayon, cellophane, pulp and paper products, aluminum, detergents, and soaps. The properties of sodium hydroxide present special storage and handling challenges. This article will examine the properties of sodium hydroxide and appropriate storage solutions.
Sodium Hydroxide Properties
Sodium hydroxide is a “slippery” chemical that will tend to find weak points under storage resulting in leaks. The chemical is also highly corrosive to tissue and toxic if ingested, so exposure to workers is potentially dangerous. Finally, sodium hydroxide not stored at appropriate temperatures will crystalize and turn into a solid, resulting in waste of the chemical and potential damage to the storage system itself.
Proper Storage Solutions for Sodium Hydroxide
Since sodium hydroxide is highly corrosive and seeks leak paths, secondary containment is vital to contain spills and prevent exposure to the environment. If secondary containment does not exist, the SAFE-Tank®, tank within a tank system, is recommended.
To minimize potential leak points and offer ease of tank maintenance, Poly Processing’s Integrally Molded Flanged Outlet, or IMFO® system, is the smart and safe solution for sodium hydroxide. With the IMFO , the flange is one piece and molded into the tank, eliminating multiple sidewall penetrations and potential leak points. Since the flange is located at the bottom of the tank, full drainage of sodium hydroxide can be achieved below the tank knuckle radius, which can eliminate the need to enter the tank for cleaning.
Finally, the strength of high density cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) offers a durable, long-lasting, cost effective storage material for sodium hydroxide.