Tank Inspections Help You Plan for Fiberglass Tank Repairs
From time to time, fiberglass tank repairs may be necessary to keep a tank in good working order. Though they may look simple to the untrained eye, fiberglass tanks are actually intricate structures that consist of several layers of material working in concert. To preemptively identify and head off problems with these layers and other components, regular inspections are necessary. And given the somewhat complicated nature of fiberglass tanks, those inspections are best handled by a pro.
Quality control (QC) testing occurs before a tank is delivered to its buyer. Ideally, an independent, experienced inspector performs the testing, which occurs at multiple stages through the production of the tank. The final round of testing occurs just before the tank is shipped. Specific QC testing requirements may vary from contract to contract.
Inspecting the Interior and Exterior
Generally speaking, interior and exterior tank inspections occur once per five-year period. Before an inspection, safety measures are taken to make sure the tank is in suitable condition in terms of air quality. Dangerous chemicals should not be present, either.
Inspectors use visual clues and tools to inspect the exterior of tanks. To access the interior of a tank, inspectors use a manhole on the roof or enter through the ground level. During the interior inspection, issues inspectors look out for include corrosion, mechanical defects, and erosion. For instance, severe cracking on the wall or floor of a tank may call for tank leak repair.
Testing that Hardness
Inspectors also test the hardness of interior liners by using hardness readers. These readers collect data on hardness at various points of the tank’s liner. Each measurement point is at least a sixteenth of an inch away from other measurement points. Usually, at least 12 readings are collected, and the highest and lowest outliers are thrown out. An average, overall variation of more than 10% from manufacturers’ recommended specifications may be cause for concern.
Thermographic Tank Inspections
Infrared cameras are an example of high-end testing tools. These collect thermographic images, which, among other uses, can display previous repairs and delamination.
Fiberglass tank repair may also be necessary if a tank is unable to withstand the strain put on it by various forces. Testing a tank’s ability to deal with strain involves emptying the tank, placing strain gauges at various heights on the tank, and then refilling the tank while measuring the strain at each data point. Aging tanks tend to display more strain than newer tanks. Like inspections in general, this is recommended at least once every five years.
Acoustic Emission Testing
After tanks are made and while they are in service, they undergo acoustic emission testing (AET). This process detects issues such as bond failure, fiber problems, delamination, and cracking resin. AET is useful in part because it can be performed while a structure is in operation, as pointed out by the journal Inspectioneering. It can assess “structural integrity” while “detecting flaws” and spotting leaks.
Experienced, Trustworthy Tank Repair Specialists Serving California
Picon FRP has been servicing clients in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. We perform a variety of tests to compile information for our clients to guide their maintenance plans for their equipment. Call 510-232-0065 today or contact us to schedule maintenance, repairs, or fabrications with us.