What Are the Different Methods of Sulfuric Acid Storage?

Jennifer Leigh

There are two components of sulfuric acid storage methods: the organization of the acid amongst other chemicals and the containers used to store the acid. Various organizational methods can be utilized in order to prevent harmful accidents, such as using compatibility listings, hazard classifications, and adhering to the manufacturer's storage instructions. In addition, storing sulfuric acid needs to take place in safe containers and shelving units that will not cause damage to the facility or individuals working with the substances.

A sulfuric acid burn should be irrigated profusely with water.
A sulfuric acid burn should be irrigated profusely with water.

The different organizational methods utilized in sulfuric acid storage can greatly affect the safety of the sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is a strong mineralizing acid that can also work as a dehydrating substance, which means that it has compatibility and incompatibility with other substances. Compatibility listings can be found from such places as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which lists chemicals that can be stored together without a problem. Storing sulfuric acid based upon compatibility listings is one of the top methods of storing sulfuric acid and is utilized in many places.

Another method of sulfuric acid storage is to use hazard classifications that delineate which chemicals can be stored together. Since many chemicals, including sulfuric acid, belong to multiple hazard classes, this method is often not the safest and can become overly complex. Some facilities follow the instruction from the manufacturer for sulfuric acid storage, but this can also lead to dangerous situations because of the different properties that can exist in one chemical substance.

Once an organizational system has been developed, sulfuric acid storage needs to take place in safe containers. Corrosive-resistant containers are available in glass or certain types of metal that can handle having sulfuric acid in them. Storage can take place on various types of shelving systems, such as a cabinet made specifically for the purpose of storing chemicals. Another method is to use painted metal or wood shelves with the sulfuric acid located in a place where it can not spill in a person's face when he or she takes it from the shelving unit.

Different countries have different regulations for sulfuric acid storage, so it is important for individuals to look to the government for advice on how best to store the chemicals. Taking into account the dehydrating nature of sulfuric acid is also important when devising a storage system, as it should not be stored around other strong acids to prevent accidents. This will differ depending on the other types of chemicals being utilized within a facility, so it is important for individuals working with chemicals to develop a storage system on a case-by-case basis for ultimate safety.

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