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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.

Welcome to the Maverick Blog

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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In today’s climate of global economics, whether you are a small family business or a multi-national corporation, businesses need to be efficient to be profitable. This concept applies equally to the operation of heavy industrial plants, such as for chemical processing, power generation, mineral/metals processing and pulp & paper mills. With today’s global markets and regulations, it only further challenges a company’s operations and profitability.

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If you’re looking for more information about the kind of work Maverick Applied Science does, check out our various projects.

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From the Maverick Blog

  • MAS Blog – A Maintenance Assessment Program for FRP Tanks and Vessels

    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...

    Read More ...

Hazardous Chemical Byproducts and FRP: What You Should Know

Waste incineration facilities dispose of some of the most hazardous and corrosive by-products in the chemical process industry. Find out why FRP...

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Maverick Webcast

An Introduction to the New ASME NM.2 Standard for FRP Piping

Presented by Jeff Eisenman, P.E. at the 2nd Annual Plant Engineer’s FRP Forum. Jeff is Vice Chair of the ASME NM.2 Subcommittee for FRP. This subcommittee has been working on a new standard for ASME for the last 6 years. This standard will be available through ASME near the end of year. Jeff discusses the contents, impacts and benefits of the new standard to industry. Please take a few minutes to watch this presentation.

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