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Sulfuric Acid Storage: A Common Chemical with Major Storage Challenges

Sulfuric acid is one of the most commonly used acids in the world and it is used in a wide variety of industrial applications. It’s commonly used in water and wastewater treatment and in the manufacturing of chemicals, fertilizers, and car batteries. It inherently releases high amounts of heat and presents unique storage challenges. Let’s look at the some of the storage challenges and best tank solutions.

Weight of Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric AcidThe inherent weight of sulfuric acid requires a strong material to withstand the static load pressure pushing on the bottom third of the storage tank. Poly Processing sets the standard for the strongest and thickest high density cross linked polyethylene available in the market for sulfuric acid storage. When storing sulfuric acid, it’s important to verify the hoop stress rating and understand the specific gravity ratings to make sure the resins used in the storage tank provide a margin of safety. Please keep in mind that volume changes and temperature variations affect the hoop stress tests. 

In addition, the concentration weight of sulfuric acid used will limit the size of the sulfuric acid storage tank. Please refer to this table and technical specs for more detail on safe storage of sulfuric acid. In addition, you’ll find a sulfuric acid guide and specs on tank sizes and recommended fittings to design a sulfuric acid tank storage system.

A design innovation that increases the strength of the tank and hoop stress rating is Poly Processing’s Integrally Molded Flanged Outlet (IMFO®). With the flange molded into the tank as a single unit, the hoop stress is not compromised and maintenance of the sulfuric acid tank is made safer without the need to enter the tank for cleaning with the bottom drain.

Aggressive Oxidizer

Sulfuric acid is an aggressive oxidizer. Therefore, safeguards are required to prevent structural degradation of the polyethylene material of the tank from becoming brittle and cracking, which could result in leaks or failure of the sulfuric acid tank. A solution to this issue is Poly Processing’s exclusive OR-1000™ system.  This inner surface technology bonds the XLPE outer shell material of the polyethylene storage tank with an antioxidant inner surface; thus minimizing oxidation, reducing the potential for fault and maximizing life span. 

Storage Solutions for Sulfuric Acid

To reduce the risks associated with storing sulfuric acid, a specialized tank system and fittings are required.

Crosslinked polyethylene tanks are a great solution for storing sulfuric acid and are more than capable of handling its heavy weight. The molecular bonding of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) and tank wall thickness are particularly important in the bottom third of the tank, where high levels of load are concentrated when storing sulfuric acid.

Poly Processing’s SAFE-Tank®, a tank-within-a-tank design, is a wise choice to minimize the potential contact of water with sulfuric acid, while providing secondary containment.

When secondary containment is already present, an IMFO® tank is recommended to minimize or eliminate mechanically-attached fittings and to maximize the structural strength of the sulfuric acid tank.

For more information, check out our Sulfuric Acid Storage Guide. 

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Topics: Chemicals