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Linear Vs. XLPE Tank: Manufacturing Costs & Life Expectancy

Those searching for effective chemical storage need long-lasting storage tanks to keep their chemicals and the plant safe, which over time has led to the development of new technology to accomplish this goal. Polyethylene is one of the most common materials found in chemical storage tanks and other kinds of chemical storage containers.

In order to create very safe, long-lasting storage tanks, cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) has become a desirable material to be used in chemical storage vessels. There are a few key reasons why XLPE is a highly desirable material for tanks that need to last as long as possible.

The Structure of Cross-Linked Polyethylene

Cross-linked polyethylene is a thermoset, meaning it cannot be re-shaped after it cures. This means that the polymer chains connect in a much stronger way than chains in linear polyethylene. Because of this unique composition, it has to be manufactured differently than linear types of polyethylene. Curing a tank with XLPE has to take place in a much smaller window of time than normal polyethylene materials.

A Look Into Life Expectancy of XLPE Tanks

Since cross-linked polyethylene is a thermoset material with stronger polymer connections, the life expectancy of tanks that use XLPE is longer than tanks that use standard kinds of polyethylene. XLPE is an engineered resin that is intentionally designed to be as long-lasting as possible, whereas standard polyethylene is more of a commodity material that is simpler to produce.

Although it is impossible to determine exactly how long a storage tank will last, history proves that our XLPE tanks will last quite a bit longer than linear polyethylene tanks, which makes them the optimal choice for those that put a high priority on the durability of their storage tanks.

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Why Aren’t All Tanks Created With XLPE? 

With all of the evidence available that suggests how much more effective XLPE is when it comes to building a long-lasting chemical storage tank, you may be wondering why all chemical tanks aren’t built with XLPE instead of standard linear polyethylene. There are two answers to this question:

The cost difference between XLPE and linear polyethylene.

Because it has to be manufactured in a very specific way, the production of XLPE costs more money than standard linear plastic tanks.

The manufacturing time.

During the XLPE manufacturing process, there is a specific window of time in which the polymer chains must be set properly to create a durable material that lasts longer than standard polyethylene compounds. XLPE requires specific manufacturing skills that not all organizations possess: at Poly Processing, we understand the exact conditions that need to be in place for XLPE materials to be produced effectively. We use advanced technology to monitor the manufacturing process and ensure that XLPE is created the way it should be.

The Final Word on Long-Lasting Tanks

It is true that since cross-linked polyethylene is a more expensive and time-consuming kind of material to produce, you will face a higher upfront cost than you would if you used standard polyethylene materials. Remember, however, that there is a substantial cost in the installation of a chemical storage tank; getting the concrete pad poured and coated, establishing plumbing for the tank, and so on. When it comes to chemical storage, a larger upfront investment will lead to reduced costs over the useful life of a polyethylene tank.

We pride ourselves on listening to all of the needs of our customers to help them find a chemical storage tank solution that fits in with the specific requirements of each project that we are asked to help with.

If you'd like to learn more about high-density cross-linked polyethylene, get in touch with one of our chemical storage experts today.

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Topics: Tank Design and Materials