Archive: Apr 2022

Stainless Steel Tanks: A Quick Guide

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Stainless steel is an optimal material for tank fabrication due to its corrosion resistance. An iron alloy, it is the chromium content in stainless steel that generates a thin resistant layer of metal oxides. This capability enables numerous industries like food and beverage, cosmetics, medicine, and even chemical processing to safely use stainless steel tanks for storing water, alcohol, acid, gases, and more without degrading the tank or contaminating its contents. As manufacturers can customize stainless steel tanks in a variety of sizes, shapes, configurations, and material selections, learn more about the options for stainless steel tanks to determine which will best suit your application.

Types of Stainless Steel for Tank Fabrication

With multiple types of stainless steel available, the underlying alloy formation can determine which type of stainless steel is optimal for your storage tank needs.

  • Stainless steel 304 and 304L. These stainless steel types are popular for their affordability and corrosion resistance in most applications. 304 usually consists of 18-20% chromium and 8-12% nickel. The composition of 304L is similar, but with a lower carbon content to prevent sensitization. Lowering the chromium carbide content improves corrosion resistance for high-heat applications.
  • Stainless steel 316 and 316L. Stainless steel 316 has a higher resistance to corrosion than 304 because of its 2-3% molybdenum content, lending it to common uses in chemical and marine storage applications. At 10-14% nickel, the nickel counteracts molybdenum’s ferritic-forming characteristic. The low carbon version of grade 316, 316L, safeguards against sensitization in high-temperature environments like 304L.
  • Duplex stainless steel. Duplex stainless steel combines the benefits of austenitic and ferritic materials, maintaining corrosion resistance as an austenitic metal but also adding mechanical strength, a ferritic characteristic. At 20-28% chromium, 5-8% nickel, and 2-5% molybdenum, this metal alloy is highly resistant to stress corrosion cracking. Also, duplex stainless steel is typically less expensive given the lower percentage of nickel in its makeup, and the option of using thinner sheets without sacrificing strength. 

Types of Stainless Steel Tanks

Once you have chosen the appropriate stainless steel for your application, there are numerous tank types on the market to best deliver the functionality you need, including:

  • Single-walled stainless steel tanks. Most single-walled tanks have a simple, cylindrical construction, with horizontal or vertical orientation options. These storage tanks offer high-level corrosion resistance to internal and external corrosive agents, and are commonly accompanied by a concrete structure as a secondary method of containment.
  • Double-walled stainless steel tanks. These tanks feature a primary tank with a secondary wall built around it to protect against fluid leakage. They are ideal for petrochemical applications and EPA compliance. Some varieties contain insulation to safeguard against heat transfer from external temperature variations.
  • Stainless steel clad tanks. As an alternative to pricey tanks with thick stainless steel construction, single- or double-side cladding a carbon steel tank with thin stainless steel sheets adds corrosion resistance to the tank. 
  • Jacketed stainless steel tanks. Used in conjunction with cooling towers or boilers, a jacketed steel tank allows fluid to pass through the area between two plates of stainless steel, cooling or heating the tank contents as required without mixing with them.
  • Stainless steel process tanks. These tanks help process the substances they store by dissolving, mixing, or otherwise agitating tank contents. To achieve this, process tanks may utilize a variety of tools like paddles or mixing heads. For added versatility, some process tanks come with specialized features like insulation, dual walls, and monitoring devices for a tank’s level, pressure, and temperature.
  • High-pressure stainless steel tanks. For high-pressure applications, stainless steel adds the strength necessary to ensure safe operation. High-pressure stainless steel tank fabrication should follow strict standards like the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.
  • Compressed air tanks. Stainless steel is ideal for compressed air tanks for its corrosion resistance, given that the tank will be exposed to air and moisture. With the immense pressure contained in these tanks, they must be strong for serving as air buffer or receiver containers. Again, quality tanks will conform to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.

Stainless Steel Tanks From American Alloy

American Alloy Fabricators, Inc. has a proud history of more than 30 years of delivering quality fabricated products domestically and internationally. Our facility has the capacity for us to manufacture horizontal and vertical tanks in diameters of up to 10 feet. They are non-code and work under atmospheric pressure, with a wide array of applications to give our tanks greater versatility of use. We custom-design and build ASME-certified stainless steel tanks to meet your unique operational needs as well as your schedule, with fast turnaround and on-time delivery. 

We pride ourselves on our superior customer service. Contact us today for more information on our extensive options for tank storage solutions.