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* Introduction

Prepared by: Eng. Mahmoud Elsayed

E-mail: Onemahmoud_1988@yahoo.com
Storage vessels containing organic and non organic liquids and vapors can be found
in many industries, including;

(1) petroleum producing and refining,

(2) petrochemical and chemical manufacturing,
(3) bulk storage and transfer operations, and
(4) other industries consuming or producing liquids and vapors.

Liquids and vapors in the petroleum industry, usually called petroleum liquids
Example :jet fuel, diesel, gasoline and crude oil.
Liquids and vapors in the chemical industry, usually called volatile organic
Example : benzene, styrene, and alcohols

Design and safety concern has come to a great concern as

reported case of fires and explosion for the storage tank has
been increasing over the years and these accident cause
injuries and fatalities.
Seven types of vessels are used to store volatile organic liquids:
1. Fixed-roof tanks
2. External floating roof tanks
3. Internal floating roof tanks
4. Domed external floating roof tanks
5. Horizontal tanks
6. Pressure tanks
7.Variable vapor space tanks

The first four tank types are cylindrical in shape with the axis oriented
perpendicular to the foundation.

Pressure tanks often are horizontally oriented and "bullet" or spherically

shaped to maintain structural integrity at high pressures.

Variable vapor space tanks can be cylindrical or spherical in shape.

1. Fixed-Roof Tanks
* The fixed-roof tank is the least expensive to construct.
* generally considered the minimum acceptable equipment for storing VOL's
(volatile organic liquids).

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

is permanently affixed to the tank shell

* the nominal capacity is the geometric volume from the bottom of the tank up
to the curb angle, which is a metallic angle that is welded along the periphery
at the top of the cylindrical portion of the tank.

* 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
* Breather vents may be called conservation vents
* 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.
2. External Floating Roof Tanks
consists of an open-topped cylindrical steel shell equipped with a roof that floats on
the surface of the stored liquid, rising and falling with the liquid level.

External floating roof tanks are equipped with a rim seal system, which is attached
to the roof perimeter and contacts the tank wall.

The external floating roof design is such that evaporative losses from the stored
liquid are limited to losses from the rim seal system and deck fittings (standing
storage loss) and any exposed liquid on the tank walls (withdrawal loss).

They are preferred for storage of petroleum products with a true vapor pressure of
10.3 to 76.5 kPa absolute
The two most common types of the
external floating roof :
Typical List of Floating Roof
3. Internal Floating Roof Tanks
* An internal floating roof tank has both a permanent fixed roof and a floating roof
* There are two basic types of internal floating roof tanks:
- tanks in which the fixed roof is supported by vertical columns within the tank
- tanks with a self supporting fixed roof and no internal support columns.

* Contact-type decks include

(1) aluminum sandwich panels
(2) resin-coated, fiberglass-reinforced polyester (FRP)
(3) pan-type buoyant panels floating in contact with the liquid steel roofs

The design may include bulkheads or open compartments around the

perimeter of the deck so that any liquid that may leak or spill onto the deck is

Deck seams in the noncontact internal floating roof design are a source of
Circulation vents and an open vent at the top of the fixed roof are generally
provided to minimize
the accumulation of hydrocarbon vapors in concentrations approaching the
flammable range. Flame arresters are an option that can be used to protect the
vessel from fire or explosion. When these are used, circulation vents are not
Tank venting occurs through a pressure-vacuum vent and flame arrestor.

When the tank is completely full, the floating roof touches or nearly
touches the fixed roof.
Consequently, the effective height of the tank decreases, thus limiting the storage
capacity. The reduction in the effective height varies from about 0.15 to 0.6 m

Noncontact-type decks are the most common type of deck currently in use,
typically consist of an aluminum deck laid on an aluminum grid framework
above the liquid surface by tubular aluminum pontoons.

The majority of contact internal floating decks currently in VOL service are
pan-type steel or aluminum sandwich panel type.
4. Domed External Floating
Roof Tanks
Domed external floating roof tanks have the heavier type of deck used in
external floating roof tanks as well as a fixed roof at the top of the shell like
internal floating roof tanks.

* the function of the fixed roof is not to act as a vapor barrier, but to block the

* The type of fixed roof most commonly used is a self supporting aluminum
dome roof, which is of bolted construction.

* these tanks are freely vented by circulation vents at the top of the fixed roof.

Floating roof and seal maintenance are drastically reduced due to the lack of
5. Horizontal Tanks
Horizontal tanks are constructed for both above-ground and underground
Horizontal tanks are usually constructed of steel, steel with a fiberglass overlay,
or fiberglass-reinforced polyester.
Horizontal tanks are generally small storage tanks with capacities of less than
75,710 L (20,000 gallons).
Horizontal tanks are constructed such that the length of the tank is not greater
than six times the diameter to ensure structural integrity.
Cathodic protection used for the under ground types .
6. Pressure Tanks
* Two classes of pressure tanks are in general use:

- low pressure (2.5 to 15 psig)

- high pressure (higher than 15 psig)
Pressure tanks generally are used for storing organic liquids and gases with
high vapor pressures
* Pressure tanks are equipped with a pressure/vacuum vent that is set to
prevent venting loss from boiling and breathing loss from daily temperature or
barometric pressure changes.
The pressure tank allows the pump to run occasionally instead of every time a
faucet is opened.
7. Variable Vapor Space
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
- flexible diaphragm tanks.

Types of Floating Roof
Perimeter Seals
Floating roof requires a device to seal the gap between the tank wall and
the deck perimeter. A rim seal, or in the case of a two-seal system, the
lower (primary) rim seal and the upper part seal (Secondary).

The sealing system will divided into :

External and Domed External
Floating Roof Rim Seals

Secondary Seals on External Floating


Internal Floating Roof Rim Seals

Secondary Seals for Internal Floating

Roof Tanks
First :
External and Domed External
Floating Roof Rim Seals
The basic designs available for external floating roof rim seals are :

(1) mechanical (metallic) shoe seals,

(2) (vapor or liquid mounted) liquid-filled seals,
(3) (vapor or liquid mounted) resilient foam-filled seals.

One major difference in seal system design is the way in which the seal is
mounted with respect to the liquid surface.

the emission rate of a mechanical shoe seal is closer to that of a liquid-

mounted rim seal than that of a vapor-mounted rim seal.
Mechanical Shoe Seal:

* Also known as a "metallic shoe seal, is characterized by a metallic sheet

(the "shoe") that is held against the vertical tank wall.

* shoe heights typically range from 75 to 130 centimeters (cm)

* The shoe is connected by braces to the floating deck and is held tightly
against the wall by springs or weighted levers.

Liquid-Filled Seal :

* consist of a tough fabric band or envelope filled with a liquid, or it may

consist of a flexible polymeric tube 20 to 25 cm.

* The liquid is commonly a petroleum distillate or other liquid that will not
contaminate the stored product if the tube ruptures.

* no vapor space below the seal.

Resilient Foam-Filled Seal :

The resiliency of the foam log permits the seal to adapt itself to minor
imperfections in tank dimensions and in the tank shell.

The foam log may be mounted above the liquid surface (vapor-mounted) or
on the liquid surface (liquid-mounted).

Weather Shield :
installed over the primary seal to protect it from deterioration caused by
debris and exposure to the elements.

Typically, a weather shield is an arrangement of overlapping thin metal

sheets pivoted from the floating roof to ride against the tank wall.

The weather shield, by the nature of its design, is not an effective vapor
barrier. For this reason, it differs from the secondary seal.
Wiper Seals :
* Wiper seals are commonly used as primary rim seals for
internal floating roof tanks.

* generally consist of a continuous annular blade of flexible

material fastened to a mounting bracket on the deck perimeter
that spans the annular rim space and contacts the tank shell.
Secondary Seals on External
Floating Roofs :
* consists of a continuous seal mounted on the rim of the
floating roof and extending to the tank wall, covering the
entire primary seal.

* A rim-mounted secondary seal installed over a primary

seal provides a barrier for volatile organic compound (VOC)
emissions that escape from the small vapor space between
the primary seal and the wall and through any openings or
tears in the seal envelope of a metallic shoe seal.
Internal Floating Roof Rim
Internal floating roofs typically incorporate one of two types of flexible,
product resistant rim seals: resilient foam-filled seals or wiper seals.

They are designed to compensate for small irregularities in the tank shell
and allow the roof to freely move up and down in the tank without
Fourth :
Secondary Seals for Internal
Floating Roof Tanks
Secondary seals may be used to provide some additional evaporative
loss control over that achieved by the primary seal.

The secondary seal is mounted to an extended vertical rim plate, above

the primary seal

Secondary seals can be either a resilient foam-filled seal or an

elastomeric wiper seal.
Access Hatch:
consists of an opening in the deck with a peripheral
vertical well attached to the deck and a removable cover
to close the opening and is typically sized to allow
workers and materials to pass through the deck for
construction or servicing.
Gauge Float Wells :
used to indicate the level of stock within the tank.
consist of a float residing within a well that passes through
the floating deck, The float is connected to an indicator on
the exterior of the tank via a tape passing through a guide
Gauge Hatch/Sample Ports :

provide access for hand gauging the level of stock in the

tank and for taking samples of the tank contents.

provide access for hand gauging the level of stock in the

tank and for taking samples of the tank contents.
Rim Vents :
Rim vents are found on tanks equipped with a rim seal system
that creates a vapor pocket, such as a mechanical shoe seal or
double wiper seal system.

The rim vent is connected to the rim vapor space by a pipe

and releases any excess pressure or vacuum that is present.
Deck Drains :
permit removal of rainwater from the surface of floating
Two types of floating roof drainage systems are currently
used: - closed - open
Closed drainage systems :
carry rainwater from the surface of the deck to the outside
of the tank through a flexible or articulated piping system or
through a flexible hose system located below the deck in the
product space.

Open drainage systems:

consisting of an open pipe that extends a short distance
below the bottom of the deck, permit rainwater to drain
from the surface of the deck into the product
open drainage system :
Two types of roof drains are commonly Used :
- - flush drains - overflow drains

have a drain opening that is flush with the

top surface of the double deck.
They permit rainwater to drain into the

consist of a drain opening that is elevated above the

top surface of the deck, thereby limiting the maximum
amount of rainwater that can accumulate on the deck
and providing emergency drainage of rainwater. They
are normally used in conjunction with a closed
drainage system.
Deck Legs :
Deck legs prevent damage to fittings underneath the deck and
allow for tank cleaning or repair by holding the deck at a
predetermined distance from the tank bottom.
Slotted and Un slotted Guide Poles and Wells :

Anti-rotation devices are used to prevent floating roofs from

rotating and potentially damaging roof equipment and rim seal
Rollers attached to the top of the well ride on
the outside surface of the guide pole to
prevent the floating roof from rotating.

A commonly used anti rotation device is a guide

pole that is fixed at the top and bottom of the

Openings at the top and bottom of the guide

pole provide a means of hand-gauging the tank
level and of taking bottom samples.

The guide pole well has a sliding cover to

accommodate limited radial movement of
the roof.
In the slotted guide pole/sample well application :

the well of the guide pole is constructed with a series of

drilled holes or slots that allow the product to mix freely in
the guide pole and thus have the same composition and
liquid level as the product in the tank.
Vacuum Breakers :
* The purpose of a vacuum breaker is to allow for the exchange of vapor
and air through the floating roof during filling and emptying.

* Vacuum breakers are designed to be activated by changes in pressure or

liquid level.

* Mechanical vacuum breakers are activated when the deck is either

being landed on its legs or floated off its legs to equalize the pressure of
the vapor space across the deck.
Column Wells :
are normally supported from inside the tank by means of vertical
columns, which necessarily penetrate the floating deck.
Columns are made of pipe with circular cross sections or of structural
shapes with irregular cross sections (built-up).
The number of columns varies with tank diameter from a minimum of
1 to over 50 for very large tanks.
Ladder Wells :

Some tanks are equipped with internal ladders that extend

from a manhole in the fixed roof to the tank bottom. The
deck opening through which the ladder passes is constructed
with similar design details and considerations to those for
column wells.
Auto ignition Temperature
The temperature to which a flammable mixture of vapor and air in the
explosive range must be heated for ignition to occur spontaneously
without external source of ignition.

API Gravity (Relative Density)

A means used by the petroleum industry to express the density of
petroleum liquids. API gravity is measured by a hydrometer instrument
having a scale graduated in degrees API.
API Gravity at 60 Deg. F. = ( 141.5 / Relative Density 60F/60F ) - 131.5

Ballast Water - Oil contaminated water contained in the cargo

compartments of marine vessels. Ballast water is taken aboard empty
or near empty vessels to provide a safe level of stability for the vessel.
Tankers arriving at a shipping dock to take on product, discharge
ballast water into a shore side storage tanks for subsequent
wastewater treatment. This operation is known as de-ballasting.

Barrel (BBL) - A unit of volume equal to 42 U.S. gallons or 9702.0

cubic inches.
BS&W (Bottom sediment and water)
The sludge and water which settles to the bottom of storage tanks

A device used to cause the separation and removal of one liquid from
another such as water from a petroleum liquid.

Cone Bottom Up
A tank bottom configuration that slopes up from the side to the center. This
configuration is usually limited to locations with poor soil conditions, small
diameter tanks .

Cone Bottom Down

A tank bottom configuration that slopes down from the side to the center.
The apex for either cone bottom up or down is generally but not necessarily
located at the center of the tank.

Critical Zone
A term used to define the liquid level in a floating roof type storage tank
from the point where floating of the roof begins to the point where the roof
is fully floating. Sometimes known as the inaccurate zone or partially
floating region
Absolute Density
The mass of a substance per unit volume at a specified temperature.

Relative Density
The ratio of the mass of a given volume of fluid to the mass of an equal
volume of pure water at the same temperature and pressure.

A dike is an earthen or concrete wall providing a specified liquid retention
forb the enclosed vessel(s).

Dome Roof
A fixed truss roof design that is in the shape of a dome. The dome roof
can be designed to carry small internal pressures of 1 to 1.5 psig.

Flash Point
The lowest temperature of a petroleum liquid at which sufficient vapors
are produced to form a mixture with air that will ignite in the presence of an
ignition source .
Flush Nozzle
A rectangular tank nozzle which enters the side of the tank and has the
underside flush with the tank bottom..

Frangible Roof
A frangible roof is basically a weak roof-to-shell seam which will rupture
before any other part of the tank fails if over pressurized.

Gauging Equipment
Equipment that indicates the level of a liquid inside the tank relative to the tank
base line.

Alternate Innage Gauge

The innage obtained by subtracting the measured distance between the surface
of the liquid in the tank and the reference point from the official reference
height of the tank.

Alternate Ullage Gauge

The ullage obtained by subtracting the measured height of the liquid in the
tank from the official reference height of the tank.
Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) -
It is a measure of the vapor pressure of a sample at 100F (38C), in the
presence of air.

Pyrophoric Material
A material which forms under oxygen deficient conditions, which when
exposed to air, will oxidize and slowly build up in temperature until
glowing red particles can ignite flammable mixtures.
Gross Tank Volume
The total geometric tank volume below the shell height.

Net Tank Volume

The total usable volume inside a tank.

Gross Observed Volume (GOV)

The total volume of all petroleum liquids and sediment and water,
excluding free water.

Gross Standard Volume (GSV)

The total volume of all petroleum liquids and sediment and water, excluding
free water, corrected by the appropriate volume correction factor (Ctl) and
the applicable pressure correction factor (Cpl) and meter factor.

Net Standard Volume (NSV)

The total volume of all petroleum liquids, excluding sediment and water
and free water corrected by the appropriate volume correction factor (Ctl)
and the applicable pressure correction factor (Cpl) and meter factor.
On Board Quantity (OBQ)
The material remaining in vessel tanks, void spaces, and/or pipelines prior
to loading.

Remaining On Board (ROB)

The material remaining in vessel tanks, void spaces, and / or pipelines
after discharge.

Total Calculated Volume (TCV)

The total volume of all petroleum liquids and sediment and water,
corrected by the appropriate volume correction factor (Ctl) and the
applicable pressure correction factor (Cpl) and meter factor.

Total Observed Volume (TOV)

The total measured volume of all petroleum liquids, sediment and water.
** The End **