Oil storage tanks at an industrial refinery

Wear, Tear, and Tank Repairs: Is an FRP Tank Right for You?

FRP is an acronym for fiberglass reinforced plastic/polymer. As the name suggests, it’s a composite of fiberglass and some plastic or polymer resin. The material is lightweight, but also durable and strong, making it ideal for harsh environments. Consequently, it’s used in a variety of industries, such as aerospace and construction. With that being said, the material is not indestructible. For example, while FRP tanks can store corrosive material, this material can still damage the tank in a few ways. Read on to see which materials you can and can’t store in an FRP tank.

Unsafe Materials

FRP tanks can, in theory, store corrosive chemicals and other harmful materials. FRP is resistant to corrosion. However, depending on the construction of the tank, these chemicals can prove harmful. In particular, the area between the resin and filament layer is not corrosion-resistant, though the right resin-fiber mix can remedy this.

Moreover, FRP tanks as a whole aren’t resistant to all kinds of chemical harms. For example, oxidization and hydrolysis can lead to chemical harm. If you know in advance what you’ll be storing in an FRP tank, you can minimize the harm with the right resin-fiber mix.  

Safe Materials

The above discussion of unsafe materials highlighted the importance of knowing what you’ll be storing in your FRP tank. Generally speaking, an FRP tank can store any kind of liquid, as long as the tank’s resin is designed to mesh with the liquid.

For example, you can’t use a tank designed for corrosive chemicals to store potable water, and vice-versa. To do that, you’ll need to communicate what you plan to store in your tanks to your contractor. If you have that information, you can probably find an FRP tank for any kind of chemical or liquid.

Is an FRP Tank Right for You?

Part of an oil refinery’s structure against the backdrop of the blue sky

An FRP tank can store most, if not all, liquids. You’ll commonly find them in the chemical industry storing petroleum-based products, like kerosene, wastewater, and more. Moreover, with increased regulation and new standards established for FRP tanks, the risks associated with the material have sunk.

Depending on the material you plan to store, you may have alternatives to FRP tanks. While these may be viable, an FRP tank is more than just the sum of its durability and strength. These tanks are very lightweight making them easy to install and tolerable for your infrastructure.

Despite their durability, these tanks aren’t invulnerable. The outermost resin can be damaged by repeated external impact, but this can be fixed by a professional. Internal damage, however, is very difficult to fix. This is why you should use your tank to store the material it’s designed to store and get external damage repaired.

Whether you need help with custom fiberglass repair or installations, contact Hudson Fiberglass. We’re located in Watertown, FL, and offer FRP Pipe Inspections, tank installation, repairs, and inspections. Get in touch and we’ll make sure you maximize the benefits from your FRP tank.