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PTFE tank cleaners for harsh chemical environments

25 February 2019

Hydrofluoric acid is well known for its ability to dissolve many materials including glass. Consequently many traditional ‘chemically resistant’ materials such as stainless steel are not suitable for use in tank cleaning applications where hydrofluoric acid exposure is likely.

A further problem is that in many applications hydrofluoric acid can cause crystalisation of waste products onto surfaces which could potentially clog and block nozzles on cleaning systems.

Spray People Group explains that in one particular cleaning application, a wide cleaning diameter nearly 4 metres (tank volume 38m3) was required, so using static nozzles was not feasible. The potential problem of crystalisation also meant that the small orifices found in most typical spray balls were likely to be an issue. While most spinning or rotary tank cleaners could achieve the required reach, their metallic components would not withstand the challenges associated with cleaning these tanks. 

The HydroWhirl Poseidon, available from The Spray Nozzle People, is described as one of the few all PTFE tank cleaners on the market. With absolutely no metal parts the all PTFE construction provides excellent resistance to even high concentrations of hydrofluoric acid. Furthermore, the added benefit of PTFE being extremely slippery, ensures one of the lowest coefficients of friction of any material which means that crystal deposits are far less likely to adhere to the tank cleaners surfaces.

The only slight problem on this application was the need to adapt the standard BSP threaded connections with those that were compatible with the existing pipework. However, once a simple thread adaptation was made the HydroWhirl Poseidon tank cleaners proved to be an ideal solution to a challenging application.

In addition to the essential requirement of chemical and corrosion resistance, the other design features of the HydroWhirl system ensure rapid cleaning and less water consumption as they operate at lower pressures compared to static tank wash systems. Also, connectivity should be simple and flexible given the possible variations at each site and this is helped by the 3 options of; pipe, tube or DIN clip-on, along with threaded connections available on request. Also, the use of FDA approved materials means the cleaners are ideal for use in clean-in-place (CIP) applications. Also, because the spray characteristics of the HydroWhirl system are designed for slow spinning and longer spray dwell time on the target surface, the result is increased impact compared to conventional rotating designs.  ENDS