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EXTERNAL FLOATING ROOF

Criteria for determining the type of the floating roof


The purpose of the tank, kind and the characteristics of the stored product, the conditions of the
site must be taken into account when the type of floating roof is being chosen. The correct
determination of its kind and the facilities connected with it can assures easer maintenance and
quick return of the investments.
a) stability of the floating roof:
It is one of the most important conditions for the correct work. Moving loads which are not
balanced upon the roof can cause inclination of the roof and floating with slope. There is the
higher risk for the roof to sink there. It is necessary to assure the work of the roof in the
projected position by means of correct constructing;
b) product
- aggressiveness of the stored product. It is necessary to take care of chemical characteristic
of the liquid and the possibility to damage the roof equipment which is not metal. Some
chemical products can destroy the seals of the roof in several weeks of exploitation;
- density of the product. According to the API Std. 650 volume weight of the product which are
used when the calculations for the buoyancy are made is f = 0,7 t/m3. It is not likely to store
product with smaller density but it is possible to happen. The information for the minimal
values of the f allows the designer to determine the sinking of the roof;
- steam pressure of the product. It is one of the most important characteristic of the roof when
the kind of the roof is being determined. According to the NFPA the use of the floating roofs in
the tanks for storage of oil and oil products is recommended when the steam pressure of the
liquid bigger or equal to 1,5 psia (78 mm Hg), but not bigger than 11,1 psia (570 mm Hg). If
the steam pressure exceeds 11-12 psia the heating during the day will causes the
considerable increase of the steams under the floating roof. The inflation of the central part as
balloon is possible. The cooling of the product during the night will decrease the pressure and
will allow to the roof to restore its previous form with slope toward the center. It is possible
when there is the combination of the considerably inflated membrane by insider pressure,
which slope is from the center toward the periphery and the water upon the roof, the correct
drain of the water to be difficult.
When the steam pressure of the liquid is high, approaching 11,1 psia or higher then it is better
to use double deck floating roof. Its rigid construction keeps it in the projected form, even
when there are the steam under it and it assure uninterrupted drain. On the other side the
double deck roofs protect the roof from excessive heating.
c) technological process
It is necessary to measure the speed of filling/emptying. When we do not consider this speed
and it do not correspond to the erected technological facilities it is possible damage and even
destroying of the roof.
In order to fix the floating roof according to its designed position (for avoiding its rotation), the
antirotation devices must be put inside in the tank, parallel to the shell.
In the past the number of antirotation devices usually was two per tank. Now during the
repairing works one of the antirotation devices can be removed and only one antirotation
device can left. It must be done in order to neutralize of the inclinations of the autorotation
devices from their designed position during the erections and during the exploitation. When
the antirotation devices are not vertical it is possible to key of the floating roof with all
consequences connected with it. It is necessary that the antirotation device supports all
horizontal efforts which were supported before by two devices.

Constructive requirements
a) Approximately 200 mm free space must have between external floating roofs and the shell,
where the seal will be mounted. The modern seals assure good jam and normal work when
the distance between shell and roof is from 100 to 300 mm;
b) Minimal thickness of the steels in the pontoons in the membrane is 5mm (tr 5 mm);
c) The maximal distance between the roof supports of the floating roof must not be bigger than
1000 x tr (thickness of the membrane);
d) Distance from roof supports to welding joint in the membrane is not smaller than 300 mm;
e) When there are the girders stiffening the membrane, roof supports must be put in the area in
this stiffening.
f)

The length of the supports is deferent depending on its status:


- during the exploitation minimal height must grant the tank filling without the liquid jet to
touch the vertical board. It is unacceptable that the floating roof in its lowest position to lie
upon the technological facilities;
- during the repairing works on the tank - the minimal distance depends on considerations for
easy doing of the repairing works. It is assumed to be 1800 mm in the lowest point of the roof.

g) The floating roof , stepped through its supporting constructions on the bottom or when floats
on the liquid must have the slope toward the roof drain not less than 1:100. For insider roofs
this slope have not be considered;
h) upon the floating roofs must be constructed foam dam which height must not be less than
300 mm at 1 m from shell of the tank;
i)

For fixing the roof according to the design conditions the antirotation devices must be
considered. They do not allow the rotation of the roof. They must bear the horizontal forces,
caused by the rolling ladder, by the uneven load from snow, by wind and by rotation of the
stored product when it is mixed or the tank fills;

j)

The drain pipe must have the diameter not smaller than 3 for the tank which have the
diameter D 36 m. The drain pipe must have the diameter not smaller than 4 for the tanks
which have the diameter D > 36 m;

k) The pontoons situated on the periphery must be separated by waterproofed barriers and
every pontoon must have manhole for inspection;
l)

In the central part of the roof must have one manhole for inspection, through which people
can go to the roof when the roof is in its lower position and the tank is empty.

- single deck, without pontoons, with and supporting truss upon the membrane

This is one from the first kind of the floating roofs. It was installed on the tank which diameter was up
to 45 m. Due to its high boards the floating roof can continues to float even when there are water or
snow upon it.
Advantages:
a) simplicity for execution, erecting and maintenance;
Disadvantages:
a) this kind of roof has not positive buoyancy and if its membrane be punctured it will sink;
b) the wind can push the accumulated water upon the roof toward one board and it will cause the
bending and probably sinking.

- single deck, with outsider ring of pontoons on the periphery and a membrane in the middle.

Area of application
a) in the regions with small wind pressure where it is not possible to tear the membrane from the
product;
b) in the regions with small sun shining where the lower temperature of the membrane helps the
decrease of evaporation of the product;
c) more often when tanks have diameter D 50 m.

Advantages:
a) they have simple construction which can be prefabricated and mounted easily;
b) they have little expenses for metal to unit of the covered surface;
c) they do not need additional special equipment for mounting.
Disadvantages:
a) increased possibility of membrane deformation;
b) there are peaks and dents on the central part which are obstacle on the way of the water to the
roof drain;
c) difficulty to executing the membrane with slope toward roof drain without waves.
The partial solution of the problem with the deviation of membrane itself and its project is to put the
stiffening girders. They may be put in radial or circle direction.
When the stiffening girders are put in radial direction it is more convenient to put them above the
membrane. All erecting joints will be executed in bottom position.
When the stiffening rings have circle shape it is more convenient to put them under the membrane.
They are not an obstacle for movement of the water to the roof drain. But now all erecting joints must
be made on the ceiling which is inconvenient.
Another solution for improving the correct geometry of the membrane is to put the heavy objects
(more often sand) on the center of the roof. The additional tension of the central part is assured.
Both solutions require more steel and take higher manpower consumption.

- single deck floating roof with peripheral ring of pontoons and one central pontoon

The design decision with central pontoon has two advantages:


a) the weight put upon in the center helps keeping of the membrane in its projected form;
b) the weight element is executed as a pontoon. This additional pontoon allows decreasing the
dimensions of the peripheral ring.
Area of application:
a) in the regions where the wind pressure is increased, where it is possible to tear the membrane from
the product and it must be avoid;
b) when the central part is executed by roll of sheets and it is required to stretch the membrane;
c) more often in the tanks with diameter D > 50 m.
Advantages:
a) improved geometrical form of the central part;
b) increased buoyancy of the roof in the case of punctured membrane;
c) simple construction for execution, erecting and maintaining;
d) relatively small metal expenses for unit covered surface.

Disadvantages:
a) complicated detail for roof drain.

- double deck floating roof, with two membranes covering all surface of the roof and structure
between them.

Area of application:
a) in regions with increased wind pressure, where it is possible to tear the membrane from the product
and it must be prevented;
b) in regions with increased sun shining when it is necessary to decrease temperature of the
membrane which contacts with the product;
c) more often when the tank has diameter D > 50 m.
Advantages:
a) the construction has enough stiffness and the geometrical form is well supported;
b) increased buoyancy of the roof comparing with the single deck roof;
c) decreased deformation when the snow load is irregular, when there is blast of wind;
d) when the blast of wind are strong it is possible the roof come off from the liquid.
Disadvantages:
a) increased metal and labor consumption;
b) many welding joints must be done in the closed space;
c) many erection devices are necessary.

- single deck floating roof with ring of pontoons in the periphery and many pontoons upon the
membrane

This kind of roof combines the strengths of the single deck and double deck floating roofs.
Area of application:
a) in region with increased wind pressure, where it is possible to tear the membrane from the product
and it must be prevented;
b) when the central part is executed by rolled sheets and it is required to stretch the membrane;
c) more often in the tanks which diameter D > 50 m.
Advantages:
a) they are simple enough as a construction which can be done easily;
b) they do not need the additional special erection devices;
c) increased buoyancy of the roof comparing with the single deck roof;
d) decreased deformation when the snow load is uneven and when there is blast of wind;
e) when the blast of wind are strong it is possible the roof come off from the liquid.
Disadvantages:
a) increased consumption of metal for one unit surface;
b) increased length of the welding joints.