MSc Advance Product design Engineering and Manufacturing
Modeling a Storage Tank and Running Finite Element Analysis to Study the Application
Hemanth sai Gonuguntla (K2002593)
This study is conducted to provide a fundamental design of a storage tank commonly used in the oil and gas industry taking into consideration of the crucial factors that comes into play. The technical details of the tank design will be conducted using a software modeling tool best suited for this purpose. The project aims to investigate the existing technologies on Computer Aided Design (CAD) for designing a storage tank for the oil and gas industry. For this purpose, the study will involve a specific modeling software or tool such as SolidWorks or NX Symens or CATIA or ANSYS. After that, an FEA analysis will be carried out to test the design of the theoretical modeling through simulation. Ultimately, a fundamental ideawill be presented within the literature review and then will be compared with the result of the FEA analysis.
Table of Contents
Background of the Study 4
Research Aim 5
Research Objectives 5
Research Questions 5
Rationale of the Study 6
Literature Review 6
Fixed roof storage tanks 7
Floating roof storage tanks 7
Finite element analysis 9
Research Methodology 9
Research approach 10
Research philosophy 10
Research design 11
Data Sources 11
Timeline of the Study 11
Limitation of the Study 12
Future Scope of the Study 13
Large capacity storage tanks are extensively used in various industries. They are particularly an essential facility in the oil and gas industry. Different types of storage tanks are used in the petroleum and petrochemical industries for refining processes, crude oil production, consumption and distribution of the final product and so on. Storage tanks used in the oil and gas industry usually have different shapes, sizes and types. In order to design a storage tank for such a purpose, it is important to dive deep into the design equations of the individual dimensions of the storage tank. This study is conducted to provide a fundamental design of such a tank taking into consideration of the crucial factors that comes into play. The tank shell design will be executed following a particular that take into account the rules and procedures, tank stability, stress behavior of the tank material and complete safety (Beemkumar et al., 2017). For this purpose, the technical details of the tank design will be conducted using a software modeling tool best suited for this purpose.
Background of the Study
In the oil and gas industry, storage tanks are one highly essential component that storage different kinds of fluids. These are useful tools for transporting these fluids to and from different places; such as from production to end users. Most of the storage tanks used in the petroleum industry is designed for this purpose and they operate under the atmospheric pressure. Significant amount of studies have been undertaken on the storage of these products, which opened up newer techniques and methods of design and implementation.
There are various types of tanks including flat bottomed tanks, above ground tanks and cylindrical tanks that store crude oil or petroleum, liquefied gases, etc. the seismic design calculations for developing such tanks has to be considered (Ferrín and Pérez-Pérez, 2020). It is important to study the data obtained from previous experiments and experiences in order to carry out a foolproof design of a storage tank. In addition to that, a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is crucial to figure out exactly how the design will work when it comes in contact with the real world forces and various physical aspects of the reality. The behavior of the designed tank will be simulated using the FEA analysis under certain provided conditions for conducting a proper assessment. Moreover, the simulations results can be further utilized to make improvements in the design and optimize the accuracy of the model.
The primary aim of this research is to understand and investigate the existing technologies on Computer Aided Design (CAD) for designing a storage tank for the oil and gas industry. For this purpose, the study will involve a specific modeling software or tool such as SolidWorks or NX Symens or CATIA or ANSYS (Bi, 2017). In addition to that, a structured literature review shall be carried out on different storage tanks used in Oil and Gas industry to better grasp the important factors to be taken into consideration. After that, an FEA analysis will be carried out to test the design of the theoretical modeling through simulation. Ultimately, a fundamental calculation will be presented in storage tanks within the literature review and then will be compared with the result
The main research objectives of this study have been formulated accordingly. They are presented as follows:
To study the existing technologies of designing a storage tank in the oil and gas industry using computer aided design tools
To carry out a structured literature review on the previous studies, experiments, experiences and researches on modeling storage tanks using software
To perform Finite Element Analysis or FEA for running the simulation of the design model based upon certain real world conditions for assessment purpose
Based on the formulated research objectives in the above section, the research questions are developed in this section. They are presented below:
What are the existing technologies of designing a storage tank in the oil and gas industry using computer aided design tools?
How to conduct a structured literature review on the previous studies, experiments, experiences and researches on modeling storage tanks using software?
How to use Finite Element Analysis or FEA for running the simulation of the design model based upon certain real world conditions for design assessment purpose?
Rationale of the Study
Liquid storage tanks are significantly used in the petroleum industries and these storage tanks are crucial to the functioning of the entire industry. However, potential damage in such a storage tank that is fully operative in an oil and gas company can lead to severe environmental and economic consequences. In order to ensure safety and functional storage tanks, it is important to employ reliable and rational methods and mechanisms. Furthermore, a proper simulation and analysis of the proposed design is also highly essential to ensure that the model will operate as expected in the real world situations. The analysis procedure needs to evaluate and assess all the seismic responses, stress behavior of the tank material and so on (Krol, 2020). Besides, it should also be taken into account that the damage states of the storage tank are entirely dealt with. For this purpose, the present research will focus on modeling such a storage tank using Computer Aided Design tools and then performing a finite element analysis of the model tank which is subjected to seismic loadings. A thorough and structured literature review of the existing technologies is essential in this aspect, especially in order to understand the various important factors that should be considered while designing the storage tank. This study holds significant weight in the safety and functionality of oil industry from the perspective of the history of earthquakes causing serious consequences in the industry.
The oil and gas companies throughout the world use different shapes and forms of storage tanks in the different stages of the refining process. There are specific standard guidelines that should be maintained while designing a storage tank including fabrication, inspection, erection, welding, etc (Abo-Elkhier and Muhammad, 2020). Below are some of the most common types of storage tanks used in the oil and gas industry.
Fixed roof storage tanks
Fixed roof storage tank design requirements are focused on minimizing the potential risks of environmental damage and structural failure. There are no specifications in terms of the dimensions of the storage tank or certain physical features. The end users are free to specify such details according to their needs or individual purpose of application. However, there are certain primary features of fixed roof storage tanks, which are as follows:
A thief hatch or a sampling and gauging hatch is important, which is also operated as an access point to measure the tank levels. A vapor vent is another component to be included in a fixed roof tank and is often also known as a breather valve. It is useful for releasing the built up pressure while liquid filling (Ye et al., 2018). There is a relief valve that releases excessive pressure (when the pressure goes beyond the safety limit). Other components of a fixed roof storage tank involve an inert gas blanket, a fire protection mechanism, drains for cleaning, essential earth connection to prevent static electricity from building up and lastly, a manhole to facilitate access inside the storage tank.
Figure: Pictorial representation of fixed roof tank
(Source: Kumar et al. 2020)
Floating roof storage tanks
These are tanks that have a roof which is floating on the top of the liquid material inside it. As the level of the tank liquid goes up and down, the floating roof also moves up and down with it. As a result, the floating roof level changes during the time of cleaning, filling, emptying of the tank or even with temperature variations.
The two major kinds of floating roof tanks are: the pontoon roof and the double deck roof.
As opined by Ferrínand Pérez-Pérez (2020), the primary features of a floating roof tank includean access ladder that is supposed to extend inside the tank and over the top. The ladder will slide back and forth with the varying level of the floating roof. Apart from that, there should be a seal made of flexible rubberized material whose sole purpose is to reduce vapor leakage. There is a mechanism of draining water and support legs for the floating roof, which will essentially leave empty space when there is no liquid inside the storage tank (Yanan, Zhongling and Jiufa, 2017).
Figure: Double deck floating roof tank
(Source: Beemkumar, 2017)
Now, according to specific needs and application of the storage tank, the unique requirements of the tank are set and the right type is chosen.
Finite element analysis
FEA is an important simulation test that helps to reduce the developmental costs as well as the time required from formulating the concept to presenting the physical product. It is also helpful in reducing the number of physical prototypes of a certain design. FEA is used for optimizing the structural tests of a model project and it is done in the initial phases to avoid costs and ensure accuracy (Kumar, Bibinand Ramachandran, 2020). The FEA simulation and analysis results are extensively utilized for improving essential engineering skills and better management and design.
FEA analysis is very commonly used in mechanical engineering projects. There are different types of FEA applications such as linear/ nonlinear and static/ dynamic. It is a highly popular method in stress analysis and structural analysis as well as fluid flow, heat transfer, biomechanics, electromagnetic fields, etc. It uses numerical equations and calculations to resolve real world problems for a given object.
The quality and success of the present study solely depends upon the application of the particular research methodologies and research techniques. In order to develop and follow the accurate roadmap of the study, it is important to properly implement the right tools and select the correct research approaches.
Figure 4: Flowchart of proposed research methodology
(Source: Created by the learner)
The selection of a specific research approach is essential for identifying the process of data gathering and collection of proper information. In the present study, a mixed research approach will be employed to undertake the detailed investigation of the existing technologies and therefore, implement the tank design using suitable software modeling tool (Țălu, Bicăand Țălu, 2018). To be more precise, this purpose will be served by carrying out a structured literature review with the help of both qualitative and quantitative research approach.
According to Krushel, Panfilov and Stepanchenko (2019), the research philosophy should be applied in such a way to ensure that the research objectives are achieved and desired outcome yielded. In the present research, the positivism research philosophy will be selected for evaluating the effectiveness of the computer aided design model of a storage tank and thereby, simulating the model with real life inputs.
The present study will employ the explanatory research design because it will be best suited for demonstrating the working procedure of the model. Furthermore, the explanatory design is suitable for studies with limited timeline and qualitative data sources.
Data is central to any type of research. Data collection and analysis is mandatory for determining the end result of a study and answering the research objectives. In this study, the researcher will consider secondary data sources for a structured literature review (Beemkumar et al., 2017). The secondary data sources will include previous related work, journal and scholarly articles, thesis papers, online published journals, e-books and so on. In addition to that, the study will also have primary data obtained through using a mechanical designing and modeling tool as well as FEA analysis results.
Timeline of the Study
The present engineering study can be divided into two sections such cross sectional and longitudinal. The underlying association between the research variables will be taken into consideration through a longitudinal study. In order to do that, the study will incorporate a Gantt chart and work breakdown structure for the individual dependable activities (Dyakonov and Yanishevskaya, 2018). The task allocation will be performed according to the availability of time, resources and costs.
Figure: Gantt chart for conducting the research study
(Source: Created by the learner)
A storage tank for oil and gas industry will be designed using a specific software modeling tool. Thereafter, finite element analysis will take place to perform simulation and analysis of the tank design prototype. FEA is used for optimizing the structural tests of a model project and it is done in the initial phases to avoid costs and ensure accuracy. The FEA simulation and analysis results are extensively utilized for improving essential engineering skills and better management and design. Liquid storage tanks are significantly used in the petroleum industries and these storage tanks are crucial to the functioning of the entire industry. However, potential damage in such a storage tank that is fully operative in an oil and gas company can lead to severe environmental and economic consequences. In order to ensure safety and functional storage tanks, it is important to employ reliable and rational methods and mechanisms. FEA analysis will help in testing the durability and functionality of the storage tank.
Limitation of the Study
The project will involve modeling a storage tank for the oil and gas industry using mechanical engineering tools such as ANSYS. The model will be generated from two dimensional technical drawings. The study will help in understanding the basic structure and behavior of the structure. Using the modeling software, it will be easier to define the geometrical requirements and make necessary modifications that ensure proper structural integrity of the designed prototype of the storage tank model. Through the finite element analysis and simulation, the study will be able to analyze the stress behavior, static and wind load analysis, sloshing analysis and so on (Krol, 2020). However, the study will not over the possibility of any damage state of the tank and will not observe how the tank will behave in the future in case environmental damages occur. Another limitation of the study is it used the FEA technique for performing the simulation. The FEA technique requires a large amount of data set in order to give accurate results. Compared to nonlinear FEA, the linear FEA does not provide accurate enough results.The complexity of large data sets may result in erroneous outcomes or computational issues.
Future Scope of the Study
The project focuses on developing and designing a storage tank for the oil and gas industry using mechanical engineering modeling software tools such as ANSYS. For this purpose, the initial stages of the research will include a thorough and structured literature review of the existing technologies and experiments in order to analyze the design philosophy for developing a safe, functional and economical storage tank prototype. The FEA analysis can further be extended in the future by considering when the storage tank liquid level is half. The simulation will help in observing the tank’s behavior in different states and the amount of sensitivity will be understood. In addition to that, the storage tank can be designed in such a way to incorporate different shapes, forms and sizes in the model.
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