Lab Equipment: Comparing Materials Used In Tanks

When selecting tanks as industrial or lab equipment, compare the physical and chemical properties of the plastics to determine which is best for your application. Mechanical stress, high temperatures, and extended use tend to intensify the effects of chemicals on a tank.

Cylindrical Tank with Cover and Spigot, HDPE

Cylindrical Tank with Cover and Spigot, HDPE

Operating conditions and type of chemical can decrease maximum service temperature. Continuous service temperatures in ranges above ambient can affect tanks in at least two ways: (1) the useful life of the tank may be shortened; and (2) the ability of the container to maintain its shape may decrease, perhaps resulting in distortion.

Polypropylene offers high temperature resistance and is less expensive than stainless steel tanks. It provides good resistance to many organic chemicals. Applications for this material include plating and pickling lines and etch tanks for processing. This material should NOT be used with strong oxidating agents, subfreezing temperatures, or aromatic or chlorinated hydrocarbons.

HDLPE contains a hard, smooth finish with good temperature resistance. It is less expensive than stainless steel or fiberglass tanks. USE HDLPE with caustics, organic and inorganic acids. It also works well for plating, water treatment, metal finishing, and dispensing lab and photo chemicals. Do NOT use HDLPE with strong oxidating agents, aromatic hydrocarbons, halogenated aliphatic hydrocarbons, liquefied petroleum gas, or solvents.

HDPE provides good low temperature impact resistance and excellent chemical resistance. Applications for HDPE are water treatment, metal finishing silicon wafers, and those involving UV, ozone, and chemical resistance. Do NOT use this material with strong oxidating agents, subfreezing temperatures, or aromatic or chlorinated hydrocarbons.

LLDPE offers high stiffness and impact resistance, with a smooth surface. It is also economical. LLDPE can be used with caustics, organic and inorganic acids, plating, and with dispensing lab and photo chemicals. It should NOT be used with strong oxidating agents, subfreezing temperatures, or aromatic or chlorinated hydrocarbons.

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