Acoustic emission testing of aboveground petroleum storage tanks: Risk assessment and lessons learned



This article discusses the in-service inspection experience of aboveground storage tanks (AST) with the acoustic emission method (AE). The risk assessment is made according to the American Petroleum Institute (API) Publication 353. Weighting factors were developed to modify the risk of each AST after the AE floor inspection and conventional inspection for the shell and roof.

Specific procedures are presented through the analysis of elastic waves generated in the tanks by external load. We have considered different noise sources with emphasis in sources caused by leakage of the product to comply with the Argentinian National Regulations in Leak Control. To validate the methodology, we have compared the proposed in-service inspection and its weighting factors with the traditional inspection (e.g., with magnetic flux leakage).

Finally, we have studied the signal interference which is cause from the cathodic protection system. This can lead to an incorrect analysis in the postprocessing. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2012