Proper storage of industrial chemicals is mandatory for the safety of workers and for that of members of the public who visit industrial plants from time to time. Hydrofluoric acid features on the list of most commonly used chemicals. Industrial processes that use this chemical include offset printing, etching of glass and cleaning of metals.
Here are three reasons why polypropylene (as opposed to stainless steel) would be a better choice of tank material if your primary business activity will involve regular handling of hydrofluoric acid.
Hydrofluoric acid is known to react with various metals and metal oxides. Steel storage tanks are manufactured with a thin layer of chromium oxide on the steel surfaces of the tank. This protective layer helps to prevent corrosion of the tank and the subsequent exposure of raw steel.
Hydrofluoric acid would easily dissolve the protective layer and react with steel metal used to make the tank. This reaction would produce large quantities of hydrogen gas, which is potentially explosive in the industrial set-up. Additionally, the reaction discussed above has the potential to contaminate hydrofluoric acid stored within the tank
Polypropylene tanks lack the protective chromium layer because the plastic material doesn't corrode when exposed to the elements. Thus, there are no chances that the tank material will react with the chemical and no chances that the stored chemical will have impurities.
The Probability Of Leakage
Hydrofluoric acid is naturally volatile. Exposure to the acid can cause a wide array of complications that range from severe acid burns to permanent lung damage. Thus, it's understandable why probability of the acid leaking from its storage tank is a significant factor to consider when choosing the right tank material.
Polypropylene storage tanks are molded while their steel counterparts are welded. As such, polypropylene tanks have a seam-less construction and a one-piece appearance. The seams referred to would be the equivalent of welds on a stainless steel tank. Welds often act as a weak point for leakages once their structural integrity has been compromised. The absence of seams in polypropylene tanks reduces the likelihood that hydrofluoric acid will leak from its storage container.
The Size And Shape Factor
You'll have a wider variety of tanks sizes and shapes to choose from if you settle for polypropylene as the tank material of choice. It's easier to mould polypropylene into an awkward shape than it is to weld steel into the same shape. This will prove to be an important factor if the tank is to be installed in an awkward-fitting space as is often the case.
A polypropylene tank is the right choice for storing hydrofluoric acid. To procure one, contact a company that offers engineering plastics.