Tank material

- area of use and typical damage

Common damage in different types of tanks

Tanks and cisterns are made of different materials depending on what will be stored in them. The combination of the tank material and the substance stored in it gives rise to different types of damage.

Here are some examples of common materials in tanks, how the tank type is used and the most common damages.

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Steel tanks

Steel, or galvanized steel, is the most common material in industrial tanks. Steel tanks are used to store everything from chemicals, crude oil and gas to food and drink.

Where: oil and gas industry, chemical industry, food industry, fire protection

Typical damage: corrosion, rusting, fatigue cracks, etc.

Corrosion can occur if water or acidic media come into contact with the tank. This can happen if the protective film (liner) on the inside of the tank is damaged. Corrosion, in turn, can lead to the formation of rust. Rust can also form around fixings and welds.

Fatigue cracks can be caused by the static load on the tank. The area around welded joints is particularly sensitive.


Stainless steel

Stainless steel tanks have good corrosion resistance and are used to store liquids such as water, milk, juice and wine. They are also used for chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Where: chemical industry, food and drink industry, pharmaceutical industry

Typical damage: rust stains, stress corrosion or pitting.

Rust stains can be caused by improper cleaning.

Stress corrosion cracking can occur during mechanical processing such as welding or grinding.

Pitting corrosion is a type of corrosion that occurs when acidic or chloride-containing media come into contact with the tank.


Concrete tanks

Concrete tanks are robust and durable. They are a common option for storing water, waste water, chemicals and flammable liquids. In some cases, the inside of the tank is covered with some kind of coating.

Where: water and wastewater treatment, construction industry,

Typical damage: cracks, corrosion of reinforcement and weathering.

Cracks can occur if the concrete shrinks during drying or when overloaded.

Corrosion of reinforcement can be caused by the penetration of water or salt into the concrete. More recently, it has also been discovered that concrete ages (carbonation) and the process eventually causes the reinforcement to rust.

Concrete can deteriorate if it is exposed to substances (e.g. sulphur or chlorine) that dissolve the binders in the concrete.


Fibreglass tanks

Fiberglass tanks are corrosion-resistant and are used, for example, for to store chemicals and oil.

Where: chemical and petrochemical industry, food industry, water and wastewater industries

Typical damage: cracks

Fiberglass reinforced plastic tanks are susceptible to cracking and damage due to mechanical stress or overloading. Weather conditions, chemical reactions and aged plastic can also cause damage.


Plastic tanks

Plastic tanks can be made from different materials, including polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC. Plastic tanks are a good choice for storing acids, alkalis, salts and water.

Where: chemical industry, textile industry, food industry, water and wastewater treatment

Typical damage: cracks, breakage and discoloration

Cracks and failures can be caused by overloading or by incorrect design.

Discoloration can be caused by UV radiation, heat or chemical reactions with the substance stored in the tank.

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Damage to tanks and reservoirs can occur for many different reasons. To prevent leaks and accidents, it is important to inspect the tanks regularly. This allows you to detect and repair damage before an emergency situation arises.

Make sure your tanks are safe by scheduling regular inspections and maintenance. We are happy to answer your questions about tank inspection and repair.

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