Chemical blanketing, or "tank padding," is a very simple process of applying nitrogen to an empty vapor space inside a container or vessel in order to control the composition of a specific chemical. This prevents a chemical reaction with oxygen molecules. N2 is used during production, storage, transportation, and final packaging, and can be used in a wide variety of container sizes, ranging from a small bottle to a million-gallon tank. But why use nitrogen specifically? Simple: it’s an inert gas, meaning that it’s non-combustible and will help prevent fires and explosions. Additionally, nitrogen helps to displace oxygen, thus preserving the integrity of products that otherwise would degrade in oxygen’s presence. In this sense, nitrogen is a buffer protecting the products on the inside of the tank. For these reasons, N2 is considered as the security blanket of the chemical industry.
Elements to Consider When Sizing a Nitrogen Generator
Thinking about how to size a nitrogen generator for this your chemical blanketing application? A few of the most pertinent tips are outlined below:
Look through the invoice from your gas company to see the SCFM required by your specific application.
Identify your annual nitrogen spend. If you use bottled nitrogen delivered from a gas company, this would be your spend.
Determine if your N2 usage spikes or fluctuates.
What is your Minimum Oxygen Content (MOC)? This is the level of oxygen that will react with the chemical used in the manufacturing process of the facility.
The purity level required will be dictated by the MOC by adding a 3% fudge factor.
Industries such as refineries, pharmaceutical companies, and petrochemical companies use nitrogen in chemical blanketing to ensure a quality product and mitigate potential safety issues. If you feel that your business can benefit from nitrogen generated on-site, reach out to the experts at Atlas Copco. We’re standing by to help!