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Designing storage tanks

Software based on the latest international codes enables straightforward design

of storage tanks in a range of load conditions



he design and maintenance of time of this, the latest edition is the of 200ft in diameter. The variable
atmospheric and low pressure 12th, addendum 2, January 2016. point equation in US units is as
vessels for oil storage is This code can be used for designs follows:
becoming ever more vital as crude where the internal pressure is less 0.463 2.6
= 1.06 +
oil storage capacity utilisation rises than or equal to 2.5 psig. These

and oil storage capacity grows tanks have historically been used to
globally. The US Energy house petroleum for use by chemi- Where:
Information Administration shows cal plants and power production H is the design fluid height in feet.
crude oil storage capacity utilisa- facilities, as well as basic and stra- D is the nominal tank diameter in
tion rising steadily. tegic reserves. feet.
A group of dedicated individuals G is the specific gravity of the
Standards for tank design meet on a regular basis to maintain contents.
From the perspective of the casual and update the 650 code. These S is the tank wall material allowa-
observer, these storage tanks just sit sessions typically involve lengthy ble tensile stress for the operating
there doing their job day in, day discussions of various agenda items or test condition.
out. And then in a spark of enlight- that are important to the refinement CA is the corrosion allowance, if
enment, questions start to pop into and development of the code. As any.
the minds of the curious: one would expect, all aspects of the API 650 storage tanks are often
How thick do the walls and floors code, both analytical and non- designed to work at temperatures
of these structures have to be? analytical, are addressed in the of up to 500F (260C). For these
Why are some tanks bolted down meetings. higher temperature designs, the
to the ground and others are not? But getting back to one of the allowable stress of the material
What internal support structures previous questions, how do we decreases. As a result, the required
are needed if the tank has a fixed decide how thick the wall of the wall thickness increases in a linear
roof? tank should be? The answer can be fashion when using the 1-foot
What happens to a tank during a found in section 5.6, Shell Design. method and in a slightly non-linear
hurricane or earthquake? In this section, there are two meth- fashion when using the variable
The answers to these questions ods for consideration: point method.
are readily available. They ulti- 5.6.3 Calculation of Thickness by In addition to causing hoop stress
mately lie in the pages of the the 1-Foot Method and longitudinal stress in the tank
following codes and standards: 5.6.4 Calculation of Thickness by wall, the slight internal pressure
American Petroleum Institute the Variable Point Method. causes a tensile force (pressure
(API) 650 The 1-foot method computes the area) to be produced. This force
BS EN 14015:2004 required plate thickness at a pulls upward on the tank wall. This
API 620. distance of one foot above the positive upward force is countered
Tank design codes reflect the bottom of each shell course and is by the weight of the tank and roof
culmination of decades of work by applicable to tanks 200ft (61m) and (if not column-supported). If the
many dedicated individuals. Using less in diameter. The basic equation net force is upward in any case or
these standards helps to ensure that in US customary units looks some- condition, the tank must be held
tanks will be able to stand the thing like this: down by anchor bolts.
rigours of the elements and condi- The basic internal pressure case is
tions to which they are subjected. 2.6 1 just one example. There are several
= +

other uplift formulas in Tables
API 650 The variable point method is an 5.21a (metric) and 5.21b (imperial),
The API 650 code is entitled Welded alternative to the 1-foot method which must also be considered.
Steel Tanks for Oil Storage. At the and can be used for tanks in excess The net uplift due to design PTQ Q4 2016 00

pressure formula from Table 5.21b Design and Construction of Large, values, divided by the material
in API 650 12th Edition, Addendum Welded, Low-Pressure Storage Tanks. allowable stress, multiplied by the
2 is as follows: After a quick review of this code, it joint efficiency. Of course, the
is readily apparent that API 620 is a corrosion allowance must be added
= ! 4.08 1
bit more technologically advanced to the final required thickness, if
Where: than its close cousin API 650. The there is one.
Pi is the design internal pressure in main difference, as mentioned When T1 and T2 are both
inches of water. earlier, is that this code has a compressive, the analysis quickly
D is the nominal diameter in feet. higher range of design pressure (up becomes complex. In this case, the
W1 is the static weight of the tank to 15 psig). tank wall is subject to buckling. The
components in pounds force, which API 620 is different from API 650 allowable buckling stress must be
resist the pressure/force uplift in a number of other ways. For calculated and is a function of the
effect. example, API 620: thickness to radius ratio.
Supports more varied types of For API 620 designs, it is often
BS EN 14015:2004 geometries (not just flat bottomed required to determine the maxi-
BS EN 14015:2004 is the European tanks). mum allowable working pressure
design and analysis code for tanks. Analyses a larger number of for both the internal and external
Its descriptive title is Specification types of components (like elliptical pressure cases. This involves itera-
for the design and manufacture of site heads and exchanger components). tively changing the pressure until
built, vertical, cylindrical, flat Accommodates a maximum the given wall thickness is insuffi-
bottomed, above ground, welded, steel design temperature of 250F. cient. Not only do the shell courses
tanks for the storage of liquids at ambi- Supports specific calculations for and roof all have to be checked, but
ent temperature and above. openings in shells. the roof to shell junction must be
This EN code shares some simi- Offers different MDMT rules. analysed as well. This process is
larities with the API 650 code. Like Provides an explicit design meth- tedious and time-consuming, not to
API 650, EN 14015 computes the odology for the consideration of mention error-prone if you are
shell course required thickness via both tensile and compressive performing these calculations by
a fairly straightforward equation as stresses on tank elements. hand.
shown here: This final point really complicates But this is where Intergraph Tank
matters. In the normal operation of comes in. Developed in the early
= 98 ! 0.3 + + a low pressure API 620 tank, it is 1990s, Tank is an analytical soft-
easily conceivable that the stress in ware solution that engineers and
Where: the hoop direction is tensile while designers use to rate existing tanks
c is the corrosion allowance in the axial or longitudinal stress is and design new ones according to
millimetres. compressive. the design rules of international
D is the tank diameter in metres. Another scenario might be that standards like API 650 and API
e is the required thickness in the tank is under a slight vacuum. 653. In July 2016, a new analysis
millimetres. This case would generate a code was added to Tank. This new
Hc is the distance from the bottom compressive stress in both the hoop code is API 620.
of the shell course under considera- and longitudinal directions.
tion as defined in 9.2.1. Because this represents a poten- Data collection
P is the design pressure at the top tially more severe condition, the The menu-driven interface of Tank
of the tank in mbar. allowable compressive stress must enables the quick definition of
S is the allowable stress for the be computed at each point of input and functions for the accurate
appropriate condition in N/mm2. concern and compared to the actual analysis of oil storage tanks to API
W is the density of the liquid under compressive stress. Then the standards.
consideration in kg/l. required thickness due to this Increased flexibility is provided
It is interesting to note that the condition can be determined. by allowing users to select any unit
maximum design pressure for So, depending on the mode in combination for analyses or to
14015 designs is 500 mbar or about which the tank is operating, the produce reports. In addition, unit
7.25 psig. This is well beyond the wall could be fully under compres- files are completely user-definable
maximum of 2.5 psig allowed by sion in both directions, fully under so engineers are not bound by
API 650. tension in both directions, or under program default settings. Even
a combination of tension and existing jobs can be converted to
API 620 compression. any existing unit format.
Now that we have a couple of API 620 computes and labels
answers to our questions, let us ask these unit forces as T1 and T2. User interface
the next big one: what is API 620 When T1 and T2 are both in The user interface in Tank presents
and how does it differ from API tension, the required thickness is only what is needed at each point
650? fairly straightforward to compute. of information gathering. Therefore,
The API 620 code is entitled It is just the maximum of the two users are not burdened with

00 PTQ Q4 2016

out-of-sequence requirements for
information required for analysis.
You are asked for what is needed,
when it is needed.

Analysis options and codes

Tank performs calculations in
accordance with the latest API
Standards 620, 650 and 653.
Analysis can also take into account
wind, seismic and settlement condi-
tions plus calculate air venting
requirements to API 2000 Section

Output and reports

After completing an analysis, users
can view the results in a tabular
report or as a graphic diagram with
associated data. For convenience in Figure 1 Main design window of Tank software
verifying the results, the output
reports reference code sections used
where applicable.

Material databases
Tank has many databases integral
to the package, which make it easy
to select standard data for accurate
analysis. A number of US and
international structural steel data-
bases are provided. Tank is
delivered with many material data-
bases to choose from. Of course, the
selections include those from the Figure 2 Tank input panel
latest API 650 and 620 standards.

Tank design
The following describes how
Intergraph Tank works for tank
Figure 1 shows the main Tank
design window. From here, an
engineer can select options and
input the design data for a tank.
Once sufficient information is
submitted, the interactive 3D model
is created and displayed.
Clicking on the icons in the Input
panel (see Figure 2) switches the
data input and allows information
regarding the roof, seismic loads,
grillage, external pressure and so
on to be inputted. On some sections
of the input there are tabs.
Complete the data on each tab as
Figure 3 Tank output report
Tank analysis
After all of the tank data is submit- analyse the data and produce the output report is shown in Figure 3.
ted, press the Analyze button or output reports, which contain the Notice that the output contains
F12 and TANK will error check, results of the analysis. A typical tables and code formulas with PTQ Q4 2016 00

ysis results provides all the
information needed to proceed
with the design or evaluation of the
given geometry.

In this article, we have briefly
discussed three different tank
design codes, reviewed some basic
equations for internal pressure
design and done a little comparison
and contrast.
Tank design is complex and can
be confusing. Intergraph Tank
helps engineers perform tank
design easily and accurately to
improve safety.

Figure 4 PDF record of a tank design Scott Mayeux is a Mechanical and Software
Engineer with Intergraph, with 28 years of
variable substitutions. This helps the PDF. You specifically need the experience in the software and oil and gas
industries. He is also an American Society of
users to verify the softwares results Adobe Reader DC to interact with
Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code committee
and figure out where all the the 3D model. Non-Adobe PDF
member who serves on the Sub Group Heat
numbers come from. readers do have the ability to render Transfer Equipment (SGHTE).
A PDF document can quickly be and manipulate the 3D model. Jana Miller is an Engineering Solutions
generated for records. Tank version The 3D PDF of the tank (see Marketing Analyst with Intergraph, based in
2015 and later can encapsulate and Figure 4) is available from the Houston, Texas, and with 13 years of experience
embed the 3D model directly into output report. A review of the anal- in the process software industry.

00 PTQ Q4 2016