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Sulfuric Acid Storage: A Common Chemical with Major Storage Challenges

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Sulfuric acid is the most commonly used acid in the world. It’s used in nearly all industrial processes and production. In fact, a nation’s GNP closely mirrors its use of sulfuric acid.

However, safely and properly storing sulfuric acid presents many challenges. The two main challenges with storing sulfuric acid are the weight of the chemical and its nature as an aggressive oxidizer. This article will explore the storage solutions to addressing these two challenges of sulfuric acid. 

Weight of Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric Acid TankThe 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.

Download the Sulfuric Acid Storage Guide for specs on tank sizes and recommended fittings for a safe sulfuric acid storage system.

For more information or if you have questions about designing a storage system for your use of sulfuric acid, please contact a chemical storage specialist.