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Construction features of vertical AST's

Wednesday, September 17, 2003   By: JRKruger
We are in the Chemical/Petrochemical environment, specifying tanks for new plants. Many of them are from 10 to 30 meters in diameter and pressures up to 100kPa. (Typically API 620) I want to know from fabricators or owners whether there is a trend away from lap welded bottoms and fillet welded bottom corner joints to butt welded bottoms and full penetration corner welds to prevent joint failures once in operation. Does anyone have statistics on whether lap weld failures are a significant cause of spills?

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Wednesday, September 17, 2003   By: MJCronin
JR, I assume that you are only concerned with flat-bottomed, vertical axis tanks.... The best source of information on acceptable shell-to-bottom welds is API-650.....One can always require a welded joint configuration that is inherently "stronger" than that specified by API-650 and get an API-650 certified design. You could also get information from API-620 on these joints. Failure at the shell-to-bottom weld can occur if the tank undergoes sudden pressurization/explosion ( like when some misdirected worker begins to weld near a tank vent)....This type of failure occured at a MOTIVA Enterprises chemical plant ( spent sulfuric acid) in Delaware in 2001....one man died ( see www.chemsafety.gov The NACE has special design guides for welding flat-bottomed sulfuric acid tanks (NACE RG).they recommend a full penetration weld with fillet reinforcement ( inside and out) My thoughts/experience only.... MJC

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