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How Does An Emergency Tank Vent Work?

Storage tanks are robust and help to store sensitive and volatile materials safely and securely. This is in large part due to the range of safety features installed on a storage tank.

Emergency vents are one of the main safety features installed on liquid storage tanks and are often a legal requirement on tanks storing certain kinds of volatile liquids and gases.


Stopping Worst-Case Scenarios

An emergency tank vent is designed to relieve excess pressure in tanks. The main reason this can happen is in the case of much hotter temperatures than were expected or in case of a fire near the tank or an unexpected chemical reaction.

When certain liquids heat up, they expand, which increases its surface area and the pressure on the tank itself. In a worst-case scenario, this can lead to the tank rupturing, releasing pressurised gasses and liquids that, in the case of fuel or another flammable liquid, could potentially explode.

To fix this, an emergency vent is placed on the top of the tank and opens automatically once the internal tank pressure reaches a certain level, releasing excess gasses. This should work to avoid catastrophic consequences, at least until the fire or circumstance can be controlled.

Sizing is exceptionally important in a relief valve to ensure that excess pressure can be released quickly enough, and where the excess pressure goes is also important, often being burned off using a flare stack or moved to another storage tank.

Emergency vents