In designing water storage tanks for municipal use, structural engineers must consider multiple factors to produce a successful design.
The structural engineering process for these vessels is mainly based on how they will be used, since every application is different with varying challenges.
Noting this, these are the various considerations that a water storage tank structural engineering company must make when designing a municipal tank for a specific customer to ensure the tank functions as required.
1. Tank Type and Manufacturing Process
There are three basic tank types that structural engineers can design for municipal use: cement standpipes, reservoir tanks, and composite elevated tanks (CETs).
The largest and easiest to use and construct are large-diameter, gravity or pump-fed reservoir tanks, which are popular in areas where the space permits.
Gravity-fed standpipes and CETs are structurally engineered to be more effective where there is a space limitation.
Manufacturing processes differ, with some tanks being made in a more controlled factory setting, while others require construction onsite where there are more variables that can affect construction, especially with regard to the application of protective coatings.
2. Coating Choice
Tank coatings used by a structural engineering company consist of either a painted-on coating, glass, or concrete depending on the tank type.
This is another consideration that must be made by structural engineers when developing the initial design for vessels for a specific customer.
To be most effective and properly seal the vessel, some coatings must be applied in a controlled setting using a specific process.
3. Tank Assembly
Tank assembly method is another factor that must be taken into consideration when structurally engineering municipal water tanks.
Tank type, coating type, and coating process all must be weighed along with the process required to actually construct the tank.
Some, like reservoirs, must be assembled onsite from the top down using a jacking system to protect interior coatings, while standpipes and CETs are constructed from the ground up.
Flexibility in the construction process must also be taken into consideration and whether large staging areas must be cleared or components can be more easily brought to the site and assembled without the need to clear large areas around the tank construction site.
4. Tank Expansion
A water tank structural engineering company must also take into consideration tank expansion and whether there could be a need to increase the vessel.
If expansion is possible in the future, coating and construction processes should be chosen based on this possibility.
Bolted tank designs with glass coating can be easily added to vertically expand the vessel to increase its storage capacity as needed over time.
This cost-effective expansion is not possible with all tank types.
5. Maintenance Compared to Lifetime Value
Lastly, structural engineers must also consider the cost of maintaining a municipal water storage tank based on its type, coating, and construction method to help customers determine which options are most suitable for their needs.
Budgets can be more efficiently spent by weighing the costs of repainting multiple times versus glass coating and how this can be associated with different tank types.
Many Factors Involved In Municipal Water Storage Tank Structural Engineering
Based on the above points, it is easy to understand that no single water storage tank can be used across the board, as there are different application factors that must always be considered.
Water storage tank structural engineering takes many conditions and needs into account to help municipal customers design the best vessels for their purpose.
To ensure a long useful life for any municipal water storage tank, it is essential to use the services of an experienced structural engineering company with the skill and knowledge to weigh the different variables and recommend the best design.
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