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As much as we've all heard about carbon footprints, few of us know about water footprints. In addition to the regular water we associate with food and beverages, there is something called "virtual water." That's the water it actually takes to manufacture or grow something to the point where we use it, eat it, wear it or do something else with it. Check out the blog to read more.
The Maverick blog is meant to provide you, the reader, with information across a broad spectrum of topics involving or related to the use of FRP pipes, vessels and tanks in corrosive or abrasive environments. Here you will find technical discussions as well as general interest items, some developed by Maverick staff, some from other sources and some suggested by you. Check back frequently for the latest posts.
Plant Owners and Engineers are becoming much more knowledgeable regarding design concerns and expectations for nonmetallic piping systems. Performance and reliability continues to improve for these systems. It has begun to be recognized that engineering nonmetallic piping systems, is much more involved that just picking the Piping Code and inputting piping material properties in a pipe stress analysis program. Depending on the selected Code or standard, the analysis approach and requirements change. Depending on the selected materials and method of construction, the design approach and modeling techniques may be adjusted, as well. More and more, Maverick is working with major A/E firms, where nonmetallics are being specified. Some A/E firms use our expertise to maximize system performance and reliability, therein minimizing liabilities. Others engage Maverick as a critical step in resource management, allowing them to focus other critical personnel in priority areas of business. Maverick has a vast wealth of expertise in the pipe stress analysis of nonmetallic piping systems. Our focus is on the success and reliability of nonmetallic systems for heavy industry. We will continue to be a resource and asset to achieve those goals.
Regularly, I am asked, “We have some FRP tanks, do they need to be inspected?” or “How often do I need to inspect my FRP tanks?” In a plant, all equipment needs a maintenance assessment program. FRP equipment is not any different. Considering that many FRP tanks and process vessels typically handle hazardous fluids, such as acids, caustic, bleach and oxidizers, it is easy to make the case that the severe and demanding services where FRP tanks are used, justifies a regular inspection program to assure plant safety. Decades of success with FRP in chemical service has built a lot of confidence in FRP with plant operators, although “Trust, but Verify” applies for FRP as well.
I was in a chemical plant a few weeks ago to meet with plant process engineers and to discuss a few FRP concerns. We looked at a variety of tanks and piping. A couple of the tanks were HCl storage tanks. I looked at the name plate, both tanks were installed in 1987. I was amazed that the tanks had been in service for 30 years. That’s a very long service life and still going. After some more conversation, it was agreed to initiate an inspection program for these and other FRP tanks. We just inspected the first tanks last week.
Today, plants have two significant priorities, plant safety and plant performance. Many of these FRP tanks are storing hazardous chemicals, which must be properly managed to minimize risks to plant personnel and the surrounding community. At the same time, the pressures on plant performance and production optimization are at an all-time high. Given these pressures, plant operators need to maintain the pulse of operations to be successful. A maintenance assessment program helps to achieve that clarity of continued operating condition.
For FRP tanks, that begins with developing a record of all of the FRP equipment in the plant. This is best done in a spreadsheet, identifying operating conditions, chemical contents, concentration, year of installation, type of resin, construction and manufacturer, if possible. If there are records of previous inspections, it is helpful to include those documents or at least a summary of findings. Based on these factors, the frequency of inspection can be determined as well as other significant questions. With this information, tanks can be maintained in safe operating condition, costly unplanned outages can be eliminated and plant operators can make informed decisions on operational concerns.
As mentioned above, there are some great success stories for FRP in chemical service. In today’s environment, one can no longer afford to assume….and more documentation is required. We highly recommend that Plant Operators have a Maintenance Assessment Program for their FRP equipment, similar to what they have in place for their metal tanks. If you have any questions on developing your FRP Maintenance Assessment program, fee free to give us a call to discuss.
Check out our website at www.maverickappliedscience.com for past blogs and keep an eye open for our next Webcast from our 2017 Plant Engineer’s FRP Forum.
FRP is an excellent material of construction for handling a variety of corrosive fluids in chemical processing, although even FRP has its limitations. At elevated temperatures FRP can be challenged in some of the most severe chemical services, some as in chlor-alkali processing. In this case, dual laminates become a viable option. Simply, a dual laminate is a unique composite construction having a thermoplastics lining, which could be such materials as polypropylene (PP), CPVC, PVDF and FEP to name a few, with an FRP structure for strength and secondary corrosion resistance. For dual laminates, the thermoplastic lining offers a corrosion barrier which can be tailored, depending on the material, for optimal resistance for the defined process fluid and conditions.
Suppliers of FRP piping and tanks have been called FRP Fabricators, forever. I think this comes from the early days when fabricators built anything and everything from tanks to pipes to washer hoods to feed troughs. Today, the FRP industry is much more refined in many ways, yet there is still not a consistency in fabrication practices across the fabrication community. What I mean to say is that when you examine FRP fabricators, the range of manufacturing practices is extraordinarily broad, from very basic to more coordinated and integrated manufacturing practices. As an example, today there are still fabricators that build pipe and tanks by hand lay-up methods only, just as it was done 50 years ago. Materials are better and the understanding of composites is greatly improved, but the execution can be still the same.
I’m sure most have heard someone say, “Oh, that’s just a bad material.” I would suggest that, “There are no bad materials, only bad material selections.” There is no silver bullet in materials, i.e. one material that is good for every application, and cheap too. Most materials are judged on a number of characteristics based on physical properties, corrosion resistance, cost, availability, ease of fabrication, weldability and available certified labor.
If you’re looking for more information about the kind of work Maverick Applied Science does, check out our various projects.Learn More...
Plant Owners and Engineers are becoming much more knowledgeable regarding design concerns and expectations for nonmetallic piping systems....
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Expansion Joints for FRP Connections
Presented by Rob Coffee at the 2nd Annual Plant Engineer’s FRP Forum. Rob is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Proco Products, Inc., and he discusses Expansion Joints for FRP Connections.