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01-20-2015

PolyTank for Tank Inspection

Peace of Mind for Thermoplastic Storage Tank Operators

The European collaborative PolyTank project has developed ultrasonic non-destructive examination (NDE) procedures, techniques and equipment for the volumetric examination of welded joints in thermoplastic tanks of diameters up to 10 meters.

The PolyTank project has developed ultrasonic non-destructive examination procedures (figure: PolyTank)

The PolyTank project has developed ultrasonic non-destructive examination procedures (figure: PolyTank)

Now drawing to a close, the two-year project saw eight organizations from five different countries combine their expertise to provide a solution to the longstanding problem of thermoplastic tank integrity. The PolyTank development programme was based on the examination of welded joints containing idealized flaws of known size and shape that are representative of the real flaws that can be present in welds in thermoplastic storage tanks in service. Scientists analysed the generated NDE data to determine the limits of flaw detection for each developed technique and procedure. At the same time, they established the significance of flaw size and quantity in relation to service requirements. This was achieved through comparing the results of long-term mechanical testing of joints containing known flaws with those for welds containing no flaws.

The prototype ultrasonic NDE equipment designed and built as part of this project has been assessed under both laboratory and field conditions, using tank samples containing real service flaws. The development of this volumetric inspection technique will open up new and more demanding applications for thermoplastic tanks and bring their benefits, including resistance to corrosive environments, longer operating life and cheaper installation and maintenance costs, to many industries, including petrochemical, process plant, pharmaceutical, water treatment and food processing.

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