Reactive Chemical Storage

It is a common practice to insulate storage tanks containing reactive chemicals to protect against fire exposure. While this mitigation technique is appropriate for vessels handling non-reactive chemicals, reactive chemicals storage represents a special challenge and must be examined on a case-by-case basis. For certain classes of reactive chemicals, given a sufficiently long hold time, the insulation will always lead to a runaway reaction. If insulation is to be used, special handling is required in order to insure that after the fire is extinguished, the vessel contents do not reach a temperature that causes a runaway within 48 hours. The 48 hours time limit is selected arbitrarily and should be long enough for most installations to empty the tank contents, inject and circulate additional inhibitor into the tank, cool the tank contents, and/or use the vessel contents in the process.

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