Message Board Thread - "Fiberglass Tank Inspection"

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Fiberglass Tank Inspection GregS 2/3/2006
We recently purchased a Thermocam EX320 for a couple of different uses in our manufacturing facility. We began to wonder if we could use the EX320 to inspect several large fiberglass tanks to look for structural degradation or flaws. Ambient air would be between 30 - 60 degrees F and the liquid entering the tank would be coming in at 120 - 180 degrees from our process. There is enough temperature differential between ambient air and the incoming process liquid, that we'd speculate that it might be possible to scan for thin spots or weakness in the tank. Anyone have any experience or success in doing this type of inspection? Thanks!
Re:Fiberglass Tank Inspection JKEngineer 2/4/2006
Yes, this is workable.

Some issues will be readily apparent. If you are interested in estimating wall thickness, as opposed to other problems, like delamination, you will have to do a set of heat transfer calculations and probably some calibration as well. The calculations will relate the temperature drop across the fiberglass, the ambient conditions at testing, and the process conditions at testing to the wall thickness. The results would be a good guide, but not an absolute reading.

If you want such calculations performed for your system, contact me directly. I would be glad to provide them for you.

Jack M. Kleinfeld, P.E.
Kleinfeld Technical Services, Inc.
Infrared Thermography, Finite Element Analysis, Process Engineering

Bronx, NY 10463

866-884-6644 toll free
212-214-0919 fax and voice mail
Skype: JKEngineer or
come see what we can do for you:

Re:Fiberglass Tank Inspection GregS 2/6/2006
Thanks, Jack. I appreciate the information. I'll pass it along to our plant engineering group along with your name as a resource to contact once they start the investigation. We haven't received our equipment yet or sent our guys to training yet, but I'd hope that that will all be completed in the next month.
Re:Fiberglass Tank Inspection Inspector API 2/6/2006
Touch base with your NDT guy.
As a vessel inspector I can use my meter that measures thickness in A-Scan to see suspected delaminations (my flashlight tangentially typically shows the small bubble of delamination). The transducer can be calibrated for fiberglass just like it can for various metals. The key is to know what acoustical velocity (0.124 in/us) to calibrate to or to use a step-wedge with two known thickness of the material.
Good luck,
Re:Fiberglass Tank Inspection Inspector API 2/6/2006
This is removed from the heat transfer calcs...but did you see this web site; it is similar to the "out of service visual inspection method" you are probably tring to get away from:

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