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College of Engineering, Architecture and Fine Arts

Gov. Pablo Borbon Campus II,
Alangilan, Batangas City, Philippines 4200
www.batstate-u.edu.ph Telefax: (043) 300-4044 locs. 106-108


ChE 423
Equipment Design



Mantuano, Paolo
Morete, Nikki C.
Palo, John Kennedy
Untalan, Mharian R.

Engr. Neres Ann S. Manguiat


Storage tanks are containers that

hold liquids, compressed gases (gas tank)
or mediums used for the short- or long-
term storage of heat or cold. The term can
be used for reservoirs (artificial lakes and
ponds), and for manufactured containers.

Storage tanks are available in many

shapes: vertical and horizontal cylindrical;
open top and closed top; flat bottom,
cone bottom, slope bottom and dish

A large storage tank is sometimes mounted on a lorry (truck) or on an

articulated lorry trailer, which is then called a tanker.

Storage vessels containing organic and inorganic liquids and vapors can be
found in many industries including:

Petroleum producing and refining;

Petrochemical and chemical manufacturing;
Bulk storage and transfer operations; and
Other industries consuming or producing liquids and vapors.

All those chemical should be kept in the right storage tank. Design and safety
concerns have come to a great alarm as reported case of fires and explosion for the
storage tank has been increasing over the years and these accident cause injuries
and fatalities. Spills and tank fires not only causing environment pollution, there
would also be severe financial consequences and significant impact on the future
business due to the industry reputation.


Five types of vessels are used to store volatile organic liquids:
1. Fixed-roof tanks;
2. Floating roof tanks (External, internal, and domed external floating roof
3. Horizontal tanks;
4. Pressure tanks; and
5. Variable vapor space tanks.

Of currently used tank designs, the fixed-roof tank is the least
expensive to
construct and is generally considered the minimum acceptable equipment for
storing VOL's (volatile organic liquids).

It consists of a cylindrical steel shell with a cone- or dome-shaped roof

is permanently affixed to the tank shell.

Fixed roof tanks, such as cone roof or umbrella roof are used to store
low vapor pressure liquids which will not vaporize at temperature
below 120oF. It is generally used for gas oil, water, chemicals.

A breather valve (pressure-vacuum valve), which is commonly installed on

many fixed-roof tanks, allows the tank to operate at a slight internal pressure or
vacuum. Breather vents are typically set at 0.19 kPa on atmospheric pressure fixed-
roof tanks. .

Gauge hatches/sample wells, float gauges, and roof manholes provide

accessibility to these tanks and also serve as potential sources of volatile emissions.
Breather vents may be called conservation vents, although hardly any conservation
of vapors occurs at such low pressure settings. Generally, the term conservation
vent is used to describe a pressure setting of 17 kPa or less. Vents with settings
greater than 17 kPa are commonly called `pressure' vents.


- Floating roof such as hard top pan allows storage ofhigher vapor pressure

- It is generally used for crude oil, gasoline, napthas. When product vapor
pressure is greater than 0.5 psia (more in some states) but less than 11.1
psia, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permits the use of a floating-
roof as the primary means of vapor control from the storage tank.

- Floating-roof tanks are not intended for all products. In general, they are not
suitable for applications in which the products have not been stabilized
(vapors removed). The goal with all floating-roof tanks is to provide safe,
efficient storage of volatile products with minimum vapor loss to the


The internal floating roof tank (IFRT) was developed in the mid-1950s to provide
protection of the floating roof from the elements, including lightning strikes to the
floating roof. The tank vapor space located above the floating roof and below the
fixed-roof includes circulation vents to allow natural ventilation of the vapor space
reducing the accumulation of product vapors and possible formation of a
combustible mixture. The figure below shows a typical internal floating-roof tank.

The closed floating roof tank (CFRT) is similar to an IFRT. It uses an internal
floating roof but eliminates natural ventilation of the tank vapor space. Instead, the
CFRT is equipped with a pressure-vacuum (PV) vent and may even include a gas
blanketing system such as that used with fixed roof tanks. Emissions from a CFRT
are virtually the same as those from an IFRT, however, can be easily collected for
further treatment if necessary. One such closed roof tank for benzene storage with
associated vapor recovery equipment is shown in the figure below.


- They are constructed for both above-ground and underground service.

- Horizontal tanks are usually constructed of steel, steel with a fiberglass
overlay, or fiberglass-reinforced polyester. Horizontal tanks are
generally small storage tanks.
- They are constructed such that the length of the tank is not greater
than six times the diameter to ensure structural integrity.

- A common design is a cylinder with end caps called heads. Head

shapes are frequently either hemispherical or dished (torispherical).
More complicated shapes have historically been much harder to
analyze for safe operation and are usually far more difficult to
- Theoretically, a sphere would be the best shape of a pressure vessel.
Unhappily, a spherical shape is tough to manufacture, therefore more
expensive, so most pressure vessels are cylindrical with 2:1 semi-
elliptical heads or end caps on each end.
- Pressure vessels are used in a variety of applications in both industry
and the private sector. They appear in these sectors as industrial
compressed air receivers and domestic hot water storage tanks.


- Variable vapor space tanks are equipped with expandable vapor

reservoirs to accommodate vapor volume fluctuations attributable to
temperature and barometric pressure changes.
- The two most common types of variable vapor space tanks are lifter
roof tanks and flexible diaphragm tanks.
o Lifter roof tanks have a telescoping roof that fits loosely
around the outside of the main tank wall. The space between the
roof and the wall is closed by either a wet seal, which is a trough
filled with liquid, or a dry seal, which uses a flexible coated
o Flexible diaphragm tanks use flexible membranes to provide
expandable volume. They may be either separate gasholder
units or integral units mounted atop fixed roof tanks. Variable
vapor space tank losses occur during tank filling when vapor is
displaced by liquid. Loss of vapor occurs only when the tank's
vapor storage capacity is exceeded.


- Storage tanks are general storage containers; they can have many
configurations depending upon dimensions, orientations, placement,
and shell configuration.
- The most important parameters to consider when specifying storage
tanks are their capacity and dimensions. The capacity of the storage
tank is the internal volume available for the storage of materials. The
diameter of the tank is typically expressed in meters.


- The placement of storage tanks is typically either above ground or

underground, depending on the actual requirements. The wall
construction of the storage tank usually dictates its suitability for a
particular application.
- Single shell storage tanks are common for various applications. Double
shell storage tanks are used in applications where low temperature
storage or higher-pressure considerations are necessary.
- The orientation of the storage tank can be vertical or horizontal.

Materials for storage tank construction include galvanized steel, stainless
steel, Nickel steel and steel.

Steel is a ferrous-based metal having a variety of physical properties

depending on composition. Steel used in storage tank applications is typically
rolled steel plate.
Stainless Steel is a type of metal that resists corrosion.
Nickel Steel is used for tanks designed to obtain sufficient ductility and
structural integrity at extreme subzero temperatures (eg. -196C).
Galvanized Steel is cold rolled steel that has been surface treated with a
layer of zinc.
Industries and applications that use storage tanks include chemical
processing, food and beverage processing, oil and fuel processing, paper and
pulp processing, pharmaceutical processing, plastic processing and water


Saddles -used to support the

tank. Maintain the
tanks position and
elevation and provide
clearance for visual
inspection of the

Supports -structural steel

supports are also used
to maintain the tanks
position and elevation
and provide clearance
for visual inspection of
the tanks underside.
Skids -skids are used to
provide portability for
empty horizontal
tanks. They stabilize
the tank and maintain
a fixed elevation if
being moved by
Stabilizers -stabilizers are used to
maintain the tanks
position. However,
stabilizers do not
provide any clearance
for visual inspection of
the tanks underside.


- Since most liquids can spill, evaporate, or seep through even the
smallest opening, special consideration must make for their safe and
secure handling. This usually involves building a bunding, or
containment dike, around the tank, so that any leakage may be safely
- Some storage tanks need a floating roof in addition to or in lieu of the
fixed roof and structure. Floating roofs are considered a safety
requirement as well as a pollution prevention measure for many
industries including petroleum refining.
- In the United States, metal tanks in contact with soil and containing
petroleum products must be protected from corrosion to prevent
escape of the product into the environment. The most effective and
common corrosion control techniques for steel in contact with soil is
cathodic protection.


ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code

ASME BPV Code is the legally required standard for pressure vessel design,
fabrication, inspection and testing in most countries

Advantages of Designing to Code

The Code is a consensus best practice

It is usually required by law

Code rules are often applied even for vessels that dont require construction to


Pressure Vessel Shape

Most pressure vessels are at least 2:1 cylinders: 3:1 or 4:1 are most common:

Fig.Common Pressure vessel shapes

Distillation columns are
obviously an exception: diameter is set by flooding correlations and height by
number of trays.

Vessel Orientation

Usually vertical
Reasons for using horizontal vessels

To promote phase separation

To allow internals to be pulled for cleaning

Head (Closure) Designs

o Good for high pressures
o Higher internal volume
o Most expensive to form & join to shell
o Half the thickness of the shell
o Cheaper than hemispherical and less internal volume
o Depth is half diameter
o Same thickness as shell
o Most common type > 15 bar
o Part torus, part sphere
o Similar to elliptical, but cheaper to fabricate
o Cheapest for pressures less than 15 bar Fig. Head (Closure) Designs

Tangent and Weld Lines

Fig. Tangent and Weld Lines

Tangent line is where curvature begins.
Weld line is where weld is located.


Vessel needs nozzles for

Feeds, Products
Hot &/or cold utilities
Manways, bursting disks, relief valves
Pressure, Level, Thermowells
Sample points
More nozzles = more cost
Nozzles are usually on side of vessel, away
from weld lines, usually perpendicular to shell.
Nozzles may or may not be flanged (as shown)
depending on joint type.
The number & location of nozzles are usually
specified by the process engineer.

Vessel Supports

Fig. Vessel Supports

Supports must allow for thermal expansion in operation.

Smaller vessels are usually supported on beams a support ring or brackets are
welded to the vessel.
Horizontal vessels often rest on saddles.
Note that if the vessel rests on a beam then the part of the vessel below the
support ring is hanging and the wall is in tension from the weight of material in
the vessel, the dead weight of the vessel itself and the internal pressure
The part of the vessel above the support ring is supported and the wall is in
compression from the dead weight (but probably
in tension from internal pressure).

Jacketed Vessels
Heating or cooling jackets are often used for smaller vessels such as stirred tank

If the jacket can have higher pressure than the vessel then the vessel walls must
be designed for compressive stresses

Internal stiffening rings are often used for vessels subject to external

Fig. Jacketed Vessels For small vessels the walls are just made

Vessel Internals

Most vessels have at least some


Distillation trays

Packing supports

Distribution grids

Heating or cooling coils

These may require support rings welded

to the inside of the vessel.

The internals & support rings need to be

considered when calculating vessel
weights for stress analysis.
Fig. Vessel Internals


Stress = force
divided by area over which it is applied

Strain = distortion per unit length

o Principle Stresses & Maximum Shear Stress

For a two-dimensional system the principal stresses at

any point are:

The maximum shear stress is half the algebraic

difference between the principal stresses:

Compressive stresses are taken as negative, tensile

as positive
o Failure of Materials
Failure of materials under combined tensile and shear stresses are not
simple to predict. Several theories have been proposed:
Maximum Principal Stress Theory
Component fails when one of the principal stresses exceeds the value
that causes failure in simple tension
Maximum Shear Stress Theory
Component fails when maximum shear stress exceeds the shear
stress that causes failure in simple tension
Maximum Strain Energy Theory
Component fails when strain energy per unit volume exceeds the value
that causes failure in simple tension


Selection Criteria

Ease of fabrication
Availability in standard sizes (plates, sections, tubes)

Commonly Used Materials

Carbon steel, Killed carbon steel cheap, widely available
Low chrome alloys (<9% Cr) better corrosion resistance than CS,
Stainless steels:
304 cheapest austenitic stainless steel
316 better corrosion resistance than 304, more expensive

Nickel Alloys
Inconel, Incolloy high temperature oxidizing environments
Monel, Hastelloy expensive, but high corrosion resistance, used for
strong acids
Other metals such as aluminum and titanium are used for special
applications. Fiber reinforced plastics are used for some low temperature &
pressure applications.

Corrosion Allowance

Wall thicknesses calculated using BPV Code equations are for the fully
corroded state.
Usually add a corrosion allowance of 1/16 to 3/16 (1.5 to 5 mm).
Smaller corrosion allowances are used for heat transfer equipment, where
wall thickness can affect heat transfer.