Hydrofluoric Acid Handling Design, Loading, and Installation.

Although no two Hydrofluoric Acid  Loading solutions will be identical, the product itself determines much of the critical design criteria that will ensure that optimum safety and productivity can work together in harmony. 

What is Hydrofluoric Acid? Hydrofluoric acid (HF) also referred to as Fluohydric or Fluoric acid is a clear, colorless corrosive liquid that is extremely hazardous. It’s  typically shipped as a fuming liquid (48 to 52%) confined under its own vapor pressure.

The primary difference between hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid is its solubility in water.  HCI is a strong acid while hydrofluoric or HF is a weak acid. It’s called a weak acid because it doesn’t fully detach or separate into its ions in water, but it’s still a very dangerous acid. 

In the United States, Hydrofluoric acid  is typically a “tight-fill” (closed-loop) loading operation and is loaded into rail cars via chemical hoses or 3” stainless steel loading arms. Hydrofluoric acid, if not handled properly can cause serious injuries and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required. Additionally, because operators are on top of the vehicles during the loading process, robust, well-designed fall prevention is essential to ensure increased throughput, without compromising operator safety.

Hydrofluoric acid is typically shipped in 10,000 gallon DOT-103 insulated or non-insulated tank cars with safety valves.  The rails cars themselves are ~ 9′ outside diameter with an overall length of ~45’ to 50′, with a 6’ x 6’ center opening or off-set crash box openings.

Tank truck (un)loading procedures are similar to railcar applications with the trailers meeting established DOT requirements for transporting hydrofluoric acid or other like commodities.  Approved DOT trailers include MC 307 or low pressure chemical ISO containers. Trailers and ISO’s are typically bottom unloaded. An extension pipe with two valves is flanged to the top of the trailer. All trailers must be equipped with pressure relief valves, and trailers with bottom outlets must be equipped with remote controlled stop valves.

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Bulk Chemical Specialist

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Ray Evans
Bulk Chemical Market Specialist
Contract#  47QSAWA19D0085  
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