Nondestructive Inspection Methods for Liquid Deicer Storage Tanks

Report No: 23-R9

Published in 2023

About the report:

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is widely used for above-ground storage tanks (ASTs). However, there are currently no guidelines for non-destructive testing (NDT) and evaluation (NDE) of HDPE ASTs. Moreover, the feasibility, limitation, and challenges of using non-destructive testing techniques for field inspection of HDPE ASTs have not been studied yet. This study explored the viability of HDPE AST inspection using infrared thermography (IRT) and ultrasonic testing (UT). The results indicate that: 1) ambient environmental parameters can affect IRT accuracy; 2) there is an ideal time during the day to perform IRT; 3) the heating source and infrared camera orientation can affect IRT accuracy; and 4) with proper measures taken, IRT is a promising method for flaw detection in HDPE ASTs. Additionally, UT can be used following IRT for detailed investigation to quantify the defect size and depth. The manuscript concludes with a discussion of limitations and best practices for implementing IRT and UT for HDPE AST inspection in the field.

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Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Amir Behravan, Ph.D., P.E.
  • Thien Q. Tran, Matthew M. DeJong, Mohammad Shadab Shaikh, Mitchell Davis, Sean Li, Alan Hernandez, Alexander S. Brand, Ph.D., P.E.

Last updated: March 28, 2024

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