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Acid Storage Tank

Sulphuric Acid is normally stored in large vertical [0.12 - 0.50 mm/yr] dependant on tank activity
cylindrical tanks fabricated from carbon steel. and purity of the incoming acid. Modern sulphuric
Tank design can vary from region to region but is acid plants produce acid with very low levels of
usually based on available local standards such contaminants e.g. Iron and as a rule the lower the
as American Petroleum Industry [API] 650 Welded contaminants the more aggressive is the acid so
Steel Tanks for Oil Storage or an equivalent corrosion rates increase.
specification. While these specifications are a
sound basis for storage of oil and other fluids they
The by-products of corrosion are iron sulphate
fail to take full recognition of the unique physical
and hydrogen. Liberated hydrogen rapidly rises
properties of sulphuric acid in particular its density
to the surface, but as it rises it cuts into the
and the corrosive nature of the liquid.
natural sulphate film formed on the tank wall and
Commercially sulphuric acid is normally produced eventually cuts deep groves into the metal. If
in grades ranging from 93 to 99% H2SO4, plus allow to go on unabated these groves can attain
Oleums which are greater than 100% H2SO4. a depth where the remaining metal has insufficient
9395% acids are widely produced due to their strength to contain the acid. There have been
low freezing points. several reported incidences where sulphuric acid
storage tanks have split open. Another area prone
CORROSION to grooving corrosion is the top section of the
Sulphuric acid is highly corrosive and the corrosion inspection manway, where the gas can collect and
within a given storage tank is dependant on a form deep groves ultimately resulting in leakage.
number of issues: e.g. temperature, concentration
Hydrogen can also permeate into the shell
and activity of tank and purity of acid.
plates and collect in any voids present, creating
General corrosion rates in a 95% H2SO4 tank with blisters on the plate surface and ultimately
cold < 25C acid can range from 5 20 mils/year splitting the plate.

Passive Extremely Low

Range Corrosion Zone


Copyright 2013, Chemetics Inc. All rights reserved.

CORROSION CONTROL Components internal to the tank required
Fortunately, carbon steel can be anodically to measure anodic potential [Reference
polarized to greatly reduce both general Electrodes] and the Cathodes to supply the
corrosion and the effects of hydrogen grooving. anodic current are all roof mounted to enable
ease of servicing.
By passing an anodic current between an
immersed Cathode and the tank wall, a stable The Controller/ Power Supply(s) is
protective oxide film is formed on all wetted tank recommended to be mounted as close as
surfaces which reduces further corrosion and possible to the tank to reduce wiring runs and
resultant liberation of hydrogen. installation costs.

Any small amounts of hydrogen liberated are Controller/Power Supply

immediately drawn to the Cathode where they The Remote Display Unit [RDU] which is the
harmlessly rise to surface without contacting the Operator interface with the system should
tank. be mounted either in the Control Room or a
location regularly visited by an Operator.
Chemetics has been supplying acid storage
tank protection systems since 1976 and has In addition to the anodic status of the tank the
accumulated several million operating hours of RDU has the capability to display a 4-20 mA
experience on tank with contents ranging from output from a level sensing device in the tank
77% to 99% H2SO4 and up to 35% Oleum. giving a visual readout on the RDU screen.

The hardware required is the same ANOTROL
system as that used on Chemetics anodically
Controller/Power Supply
protected acid coolers with the exception that
multiple power supplies are required on very
large tanks. Tanks in excess of 30,000 ton
Anotrol II

capacity have been successfully protected for

many years using Chemetics Anotrol Systems.

Remote Display Unit

Chemetics is a registered trademark in Canada and the U.S. of Chemetics Inc.

Jacobs is a registered trademark of Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
ANOTROL is a registered trademark of Rohrback Cosasco Systems.

Chemetics Inc. Phone: +1 905 619 5200

2001 Clements Road Fax: +1 905 619 5347
Pickering, Ontario, Canada L1W 4C2 Email: chemetics.equipment@jacobs.com www.jacobs.com/chemetics

Copyright 2013, Chemetics Inc. All rights reserved.