Failure of a Large Oil Storage Tank
A four-million gallon capacity (15,142 cu m) oil storage tank ruptured upon filling after re-erection near West Elizabeth, PA on 2 Jan 1988. The tank shell split vertically with failure originating at a flaw existing prior to the reconstruction. Brittle fracture occurred both up and down from the defect when the stress induced by filling reached a critical value for the steel, which had poor toughness properties. This steel had been used in the original construction of a tank in Ohio more than 40 years previously. The defect at which brittle fracture originated in the tank shell showed evidence of burning from a torch. This tank failure was the catalyst for the introduction of new rules concerning the inspection and assessment of older storage tanks.