It’s very important that storage tanks used in the petrochemical industry maintain structural soundness, both for the sake of public safety, and for environmental safety. The most common material used to build storage tanks is steel, primarily because of its tremendous strength, but that strength does not make it impervious to the damaging effects of corrosion. For that reason, it’s necessary for tank linings to be given protective coatings to help avoid corrosion.
Dealing with Water Tank Repair and Corrosion
A good coatings contractor will be aware of several possibilities for protecting steel tanks from the effects of corrosion. For one thing, tank liners can be used which delay or prevent altogether, the damaging corrosive effects that chemicals may have on steel. Some companies prefer to use fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) tanks as a means of bypassing the corrosion question altogether. When it becomes necessary to repair steel storage tanks which have been damaged by corrosion, tank repair can be accomplished through a sandblasting service which will remove the corrosion, before preparing the surface and applying a good tank-lining product.
How corrosion impacts storage tanks
Although the cost of corrosion in liquid and water storage tanks literally costs companies billions of dollars every year in the US, the cost is not the only consideration. Because there are often flammable and hazardous substances stored in tanks, there is a risk to the environment, as well as to humans when the integrity of a liquid storage tank is compromised.
When a protective coating is applied to a tank, a barrier is created between the tank surface and the environment, so that corrosion’s impact can be minimized. If no coating were to be applied, persistent corrosion would eventually cause fatigue failure, and leaks would likely develop along those lines. Eventually, the problem would become bad enough that a storage tank would have to be replaced completely, and there could be a very costly demolition, removal, and cleanup involved.
Tips for surface preparation and coating
One of the best ways of keeping a tank’s surface clean is through timely tank inspection to identify when repairs or maintenance should be performed. Any coating applied will be affected by moisture, oil, dust, and fumes, so these aspects should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. When cleaning a tank surface, special attention must be paid to sharp edges, because coatings tend to pull away from seams and edges. These edges must be ground down, so as to improve the effectiveness of adhesion and coverage of the tank surface.
While you’re going through the surface cleaning and preparation process, make sure to maintain appropriate relative humidity levels and the right temperature for cleaning. Since metal absorbs heat during the day and reflects it at night, temperature changes can cause condensation to form on the surface, if humidity levels are not managed effectively. Suboptimal conditions can lead to poor adhesion, degradation of the surface, and accelerated aging.
It’s also possible for flash corrosion to form on the tank surface in as little as 30 minutes, if the humidity level is extremely high in the cleaning area. It’s important to maintain ideal levels of temperature and humidity throughout the cleaning and preparation process, including the periods before, during, and after any protective coatings are applied to the surface. If proper techniques and methods are used, applying a good coating can add years of service to your storage tanks.
Looking for a Coatings Contractor in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Picon FRP, Inc. staffs NACE level 3 inspectors who are able to assist in accurately assessing the current condition of your water tanks and help you choose a course of action to prevent problems with or repair tank linings. Contact us today online or call 510-232-0065 to discuss how we can help you with all your storage tank inspection, repair, sandblasting, and coatings needs.