Imploded Storage Tank

EPSC logo
Article: Imploded storage tank | Fleming
What Happened?

After cleaning with steam a tank was quenched with cold water to shorten the cooling time (not normal practice). The tank vent was not calculated for the vacuum resulting from this rapid quenching operation, resulting in a collapsed tank (without liquid release).

Article: Imploded storage tank | Fleming

A larger vent size was installed after the incident.

  • Atmospheric storage tanks are not designed to withstand external pressure on the tank wall. A pressure as low as 20 mbar below atmospheric pressure can cause tank damage
  • The force on the wall can be high even at low pressure as the tank wall surface area is very large: Force = Area x delta P
  • Consider all scenarios resulting in pressures below atmospheric and make sure vent sizes are adequately designed for these, including abnormal operations
  • Make sure vents and safety devices remain operable: fouling bird nests, plastic bags, have all caused tank implosions
Article: Imploded storage tank | Fleming
From our blog

Related articles