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Name: Cindy
Status: Student
Grade: Other
Location: MO
Country: United States
Date: Fall 2009

The paint formerly used on some storage tanks contained aluminum powder, which reflected heat from the surface of the tanks. Why did experts recommend grounding these tanks and storing only noncombustible materials in them?

Hi Cindy,

Assuming that the tanks in question were made of metal, the suggestion of the "experts" does not seem to make any sense. The paint you refer to is made of fine aluminum powder, mixed in with a clear varnish-like liquid. It is still very commonly used to paint all sorts of tanks for the reason you describe.

Since these tanks are made of metal, it is naturally good practice to "ground" them, whether they are painted or not, to ensure no static charge can build up and possibly result is sparks that may ignite flammable contents. But painting them with aluminum paint (or any other type of paint) should make no difference... the tanks should be properly grounded in any event. Once they are properly grounded, there is no danger in storing combustible materials in them, whether they are painted with aluminum paint or any other paint.


Bob Wilson

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