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Sulfuric acid is one of the most important compounds made by the chemical industry. It is used to make, literally, hundreds of compounds needed by almost every industry in the world. Approximately 50% of all sulfuric acid produced is used to make phosphoric acid, which in turn is used to make phosphate fertilizers. Other uses include inorganic chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, soaps & detergents, textiles, and pulp & paper.
Sulfuric Acid (CH2S04) is a mineral acid composed of sulfur, oxygen, and hydrogen. It’s a colorless, odorless, and syrupy liquid that’s soluble in water. Other synonyms include Oil of Vitriol (OV), Vitriolic acid, Hydrogen sulfate, and Oleum. The corrosiveness of sulfuric acid solutions is highly dependent on concentration, temperature, acid impurities.
In the United States, caustic is typically a closed dome (tight fill) top-loading operation and is loaded into trucks or railcars via loading arms, chemical hoses or by-pass arms. No bottom outlet is allowed on tank cars carrying sulfuric acid; the discharge pipe is located on the dome of the car and extends to the bottom of the tank car.
Sulfuric acid is extremely corrosive and can cause serious burns when not handled properly. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required to reduce and hopefully eliminate potential health risks. Since operators typically have to access hatches on top of the vehicles wearing many layers of PPE during the loading process, fall prevention is essential, not only for safety but to expedite job tasks which dramatically increases throughput.View Full Text
Sulfuric Acid is typically transported in insulated or non-insulated tank cars
Usually in 7,000 gallon DOT 103AW or 13,640 gallon DOT 111A100W2 depending on concentration, that meets the DOT specification for the transportation of sulfuric acid and other like commodities. The rails cars themselves are ~ 9′ outside diameter with an overall length of ~33’ to 41′, with a 7’-4” x 6’ center or off-set crash boxes.
For safety reasons, pump unloading is the preferred method over dry compressed air unloading for tank cars and trucks. This puts the unloading hose or arm under suction so that any leak can be stopped promptly without the need for venting the tank car or truck of padding pressure.
DOT MC-310, MC-311 & MC-312 tank trailers are used to transport sulfuric acid over roads and highways with a capacity up to 20 to 23 tons (2600 to 3000 gallons)
Tank truck (un)loading procedures are similar to railcar applications with the trailers meeting established DOT requirements for hauling sulfuric acid. Bottom unloading is also the preferred method for unloading sulfuric acid tank trucks utilizing a 2” or 3” chemical hose or gravity drop bottom unloading arm with a quick release coupler or dry disconnect fitting and break-away.
Typical Sulfuric Acid Loading Platform
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Below are some of the loading and unloading solutions for illustrative purposes only. Our experts will work with you and your team for a custom solution to suit your needs.
Sulfuric Acid Loading Arms
SULFURIC ACID UNLOADING ARMS
Sulfuric acid is typically a close dome (tight fill) loading process into railcars and tank trucks via teflon lined chemical hoses, braided SST flex hoses or a 3” stainless steel loading arms with PTFE seals. At deluded concentrations of 93% and above, sulfuric acid can be splash loaded using a carbon steel loading arm.
Depending on the concentration, optional vapor recovery is used in conjunction with a splash plate, vapor cone, or inflatable hatch seal.
Railcar loading will use a similar setup as trucks but with a 4” arm as higher flow rates must be obtained to load the higher capacity vehicles at an acceptable rate.
The loading arms layout will ensure that it is self-draining after use as to completely evacuate product when the arm is stored to reduce product leakage which could injure passer bys and corrode platform, support, and process piping located on the rack. Safety options such as high level sensors/probes can be added to the arm to switch off loading should the level hit a predetermined height in the vehicles.
SULFURIC ACID UNLOADING ARMS
These are generally 3” or 4”, stainless steel, ANSI 150Lb rated loading arms, that will be fitted with quick-couplings and an emergency break-away unit.
The arm itself, will be fitted to a support standpost, and will be self-draining in design.
We would also recommend that the arm be fitted with a parking latch and parking sensor to ensure that the arm is stored in a safe place when not in operation.
Sulfuric Acid Gangways and Safety Cages
Since sulfuric acid rail cars can have off-set crash boxes SafeRack recommends a wider telescoping access gangway (48″-60″ is preferable) as it helps improve access and egress to and from the railcar. In addition, a wider gangway will reduce the risk of the operator’s PPE getting caught, torn or damaged, and will improve productivity and safety. Powered gangway solutions are also an option, with both hydraulic and pneumatic solutions being commonly used.
Each gangway will be fitted with a two-rail safety cage for the railcar crash box. This will be a centered 6’ x 7-6”’ safety cage to sit directly over the cashbox; and will provide a safe, secure work environment for your operator when accessing hatches on railcars.
For tank truck applications (loading or unloading) SafeRack’s standard 24” wide Self-Adjusting (SAS) gangway with a deeper 4’x6’x4-rail safety cage would be the preferred solution.
GX SELF-ADJUSTING STAIR (SAS) GANGWAY
SafeRack’s NEW GX SAS gangways use Retractalok power-assist technology allowing operators to raise or lower effortlessly, light as a feather to lift, solid as a rock. Tested in the most critical applications, this revolutionary new gangway outperforms all others. Available in multiple lengths and widths. Learn More
GX FLAT RAMP ACCESS (FRT) GANGWAY
SafeRack’s NEW GX-FRT is a flat ramp model popular with railcars. It features a slip-resistant walk surface and, with the use of the telescoping extension, eliminates gaps on narrow railcars. Learn More
Sulfuric Acid Eye Wash/Drench Showers
ANSI guidelines state that an Eye Wash/Drench Showers need to be located 10 seconds or 55’ (16.8m) from contaminants or hazardous materials.
Eyewash stations need to be on the same horizontal plane with no obstructions.
Therefore, we would propose the installation of a standard combination Drench Shower/Eyewash Unit, which will save limited space and fit easily into any work environment.
This is a fundamental safety requirement for any acid loading or unloading station.
Sulfuric Acid Spill Containment
Spill containment pans will be provided at the point of loading operations and is an essential piece of equipment in overall site safety and environmental protection. SafeRack recommends a minimum 20’ long galvanized, polyethylene or composite track pan to mitigate spills.
Sulfuric Acid Grounding
Sulfuric Acid is a flammable liquid, industry best practice includes the grounding of all vessels before starting the (un)loading process.
- Vehicle grounding and bonding — ensure true grounding before product flow is permitted
- Explosion-proof enclosures — meet or exceed UL, CSA and Ex requirements
Sulfuric Acid Safety Gates
Safety Gates will be installed at the top of stairs and any other openings to ensure operator safety at all times.
YellowGate Safety Gates
SafeRack’s line of industrial safety gates is the most flexible product on the market with the ability span openings between 16” and 36” and is field adjustable with nothing more than a wrench. Learn More
Sulfuric Acid Options
- Lighting – Lighting both over and under the platform will be provided. For overcast days or second shift, lighting is essential for improved safety and improved productivity.
- Platform & Canopies – Full platform canopies reduce exposure to the elements and improve the safe and productive loading operation from the operator’s perspective.
- Operator Shelter – Depending on your site requirements, consideration should be given to the requirement of an operator or guard building on the loading platform. This can be customized to meet specific site requirements
- Wheel Chocks – Railcar Wheel Chocks provide fast blocking of all types of railcars and meet OSHA regulations to safely prevent railroad cars from moving during loading or unloading operations. This is a requirement by the Department of Homeland Security
Personal Protective Equipment PPE Requirements
Sulfuric acid is extremely corrosive and can cause serious burns when not handled properly. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required to reduce and hopefully eliminate potential health risks. Since operators typically have to access hatches on top of the vehicles wearing many layers of PPE during the loading process, fall prevention is essential, not only for safety but to expedite job tasks which dramatically increases throughput.
Recommended loading/unloading practices of sulfuric acid include wearing chemical-resistant clothing, gloves, splash goggles, and a respirator to protect the lungs. Unlike hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid can be splash loaded at a concentration of 93% and above.
The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is 15 parts per million. The boiling point of sulfuric acid is 638oF (337oC), and it is usually (un)loaded at ambient temperature.
* For illustrative purposes only. Our experts will work with you and your team for a custom solution to suit your needs
Sulfuric acid 101
Things to know about Sulfuric acid (CH2SO4)
Sulfuric acid is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and is classified as a corrosive material, with the DOT identification number UN 1830.
The major uses of sulfuric acid are in the production of fertilizers (ammonium sulfate)
It’s also widely used in the manufacture of other chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, sulfate salts, synthetic detergents, dyes and pigments, explosives, and drugs.
Some sulfuric acid concentrations freeze at ambient temperatures and require heating before unloading is possible. Common concentrations include 33.5% for lead batteries, and 62% for fertilizers. Unlike hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid can be splash loaded (open dome) at concentrations of 93% and above.
Sulfuric acid attacks cast iron, brass, bronze and most other non-ferrous metals. However mild steel (carbon steel) and stainless steel are resistant to corrosion, are recommended for storage systems and piping.
The slow attack of sulfuric acid on mild steel results in the formation of hydrogen sulphide gas which is flammable and can form explosive mixtures with air. Therefore, smoking or other sources of ignition should not be permitted near the acid tank cars. In addition the tank car fittings should never be hammered or chiseled on open or close. SafeRack also recommends the use of non-sparking tools when working around sulfuric acid.
If any leaks develop in the loading or unloading process or acid is spilled, promptly wash down any surface where acid has spilled with an excess of water being extremely careful to avoid getting water into the container, piping or into large accumulations of acid in holes or trenches.
Again, sulfuric acid is extremely corrosive and can cause serious burns when not handled properly. Exposure to sulfuric acid mist at high concentration levels can lead to severe eye and lung irritation and tissue damage.
Customer Reviews4 5These racks are much more solid and durable than the Determan gangways we have now.
These racks seem to be much more solid and durable than the Determan gangways we have now. Scott Hite did a great job. He came out to our site and personally walked down the location of the new gangway install. Everyone was positive to work with, and there was great customer service and communication all the way through the transaction.By Adam McCrady from Valero Renewable Fuels Company, LLC on 2/13/125 5I would recommend SafeRack to anyone because of their pricing, quality, responsiveness and so much more.
Price was competitive. Product was easy to install and required no re-work on our part for installation. Equipment was easy to operate and maintain. I would recommend the product based on your team’s technical ability, pricing, robust designs, and meeting your delivery dates. SafeRack is an extremely responsive company who delivers on the promises. I worked with David Daniel on this project. He was extremely responsive and delivered on cost, schedule, product quality. Pricing was great. I had no issue getting in touch with him. He made himself available on his day off as well. I had no surprises which, as project manager, are critical to successfully delivering projects.By Project Engineer from Large Refinery in Louisiana on 11/8/104 5I would recommend the product and consider SafeRack again.
The product is simple, clean, and sturdy. I would recommend the product and consider SafeRack again should a project require a loading dock system.By Jerry Choate from Murphy Oil USA on 8/22/115 5It has been a true pleasure working with your company in all departments.
There are still companies out there that are friendly and make a great product here in the good old USA!! Chris Hite did a great job of getting me the info on your product so we could make a timely decision on what to purchase. We like how simple it was for the crew to assemble and get the unit upright! Also the catwalk adjustment is awesome! It has been a true pleasure working with your company in all departments and the price I felt was fair and reasonable!By Tom Hill from CF Industries on 1/31/125 5We are happy with your service.
We are happy with your service.By Ali Rahmath from Baniyas Oil Field Supplies on 7/14/115 5We will definitely be ordering from SafeRack in the future.
John Bast has been a great resource for us, keeping in touch throughout a long off and on approval process. SafeRack makes a very high quality product and we will be ordering from SafeRack in the future.By Martin Moon from Apache Nitrogen Products Inc. on 5/3/12
Is your plant or facility compliant with ANSI, OSHA, and local safety codes? We can help!
EMERGENCY EYEWASHES / SHOWER EQUIPMENT AND THE ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 – 2014 STANDARD
Following eye contact, you must start washing with water immediately to prevent permanent damage. In the event of skin contact, you must start washing with water immediately to prevent slow-healing chemical burns.
Are you aware that ANSI guidelines state that Eye Wash/Drench Showers need to be located 10 seconds or 55′ from contaminates or hazardous materials and located on the same horizontal plane, with no obstructions? If bottom loading/unloading, an additional shower should be located at grade as well. SafeRack provides the above equipment plus much more needed to keep employees safe and expedite bulk chemical loading and unloading.
OSHA Regulation Experts – Does your existing chemical safety equipment or chemical loading systems meet OSHA’s latest requirements? SafeRack’s professional technical sales consultants are available to meet with your team to make recommendations to keep your facility in front of OSHA’s ever-changing country and region-specific standards and regulations, including lifeline and trolley beam fall arrest systems, metal stairs, and access platforms.
The SafeRack approach is a collaborative one. Let’s call it The SafeRack Way. We have, over many years amassed a great deal of experience and understanding of the safety aspects involved in loading road tankers and railcars, as well as the behavioral habits of the operators.
Experts In Chemical Loading
North America’s largest loading terminal
World-leading designer, manufacturer, and installer of truck and railcar loading platforms
As one of the primary railcar loading points, Hardisty is one of the major crude oil hubs in North America and a major origination point of pipelines that export to the United States. SCS was asked to supply and construct a SafeRack crude oil loadout terminal spanning nearly half a mile. The USD Hardisty terminal can load up to two 120-railcar unit trains per day and consists of a fixed loading rack with 62 railcar loading positions enclosed, separate control, operator and mechanical buildings, as well as a unit train staging area and loop tracks capable of holding multiple unit trains simultaneously. SCS also supplied and installed boom-supported loading arms with supply and vapor management systems.
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Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina