Polski English

Bottom’s storage tanks research

Industrial materials and products are often stored in ground, flat-bottom tanks. The construction of these tanks has changed over the last 50 years, mainly as regards protection against the leak of contents stored into the soil and groundwater. Substances stored in such tanks are frequently harmful to health and can also pose a serious threat of environment pollution. The changes in tank constructions have mostly been enforced by new legislation where respective acts enlist the kinds of leak-annunciating devices the tanks must be equipped with. The modern storage tanks obviously meet those criteria, but how to deal with old-type tanks where meeting the current criteria is a serious technical and economic challenge, is another matter.

We have devised a system which, when implemented into the old-type tanks, ensures their safe operation and solves the problem of inconsistency with the current legislation. The system detects leaks from single-bottomed storage  tanks without a tight foundation and prevents the contents from leaking into the soil and groundwater. It uses specific solutions based on modern methods of storage tanks' technical state assessment. To ensure faultless operation of a tank, the system is based on leak-annunciating devices and on regular tests diagnosing the condition of the tank's material, including the degree of  corrosion cavities. The system is complemented by repairs of those sheathing components that pose a risk to tank tightness.

The main technique used in our system is Acoustic Emission (AE). The AE is based on perimetrical analysis of elastic waves generated by bottom and sheathing damages that are crucial in terms of tanks' tightness loss. AE is the basic location and assessment method of macro-leaks and active damages of corrosive nature. We believe our system provides high safety level and will cause a significant reduction of storage tanks' supervision and maintenance costs.

By means of carrying out experimental tests on a model tank and conducting solutions suggested within a given project on real tanks we will devise an  activity algorithm to qualify the state of corrosion and the nature of leaks in the tank's bottom. The system proposed meets main environment protection and technical supervision requirements for ground storage tanks of vertical axis. In its limited version, the system can also be used to detect the place of a leak from other types of storage tanks, including those not subject to technical  supervision.

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