Air-Operated Double-Diaphragm Pumps Forewarned is Forearmed — How to Achieve Full Containment with Dangerous Chemicals
Learn how a special type of pumping technology, positive displacement (PD) solid-body plastic air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps, possesses the design and construction features that are necessary to guarantee full containment of dangerous chemicals, while also offering working characteristics that enable the highest level of operational efficiency to be achieved.
There’s an old adage, usually credited to the first chancellor of Germany, Otto Von Bismarck, that “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” The implication is that reaching the consensus required to create a new law can oftentimes be unpleasant and it may be best not to know what the actual “ingredients” are and how that consensus was reached.
The same can said for a number of industrial processes, whether it be the refining of petroleum products, manufacture of pharmaceuticals or the treatment of wastewater. In many cases, these processes require the use of many dangerous chemicals. Among them can be strong acids and caustics like hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF), nitric acid (HNO3), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), potassium hydroxide (KOH) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Then there are dangerous solvents like toluene, a colorless, water-insoluble liquid that can cause a series of severe reactions in the body when exposed to humans, and xylene, a slightly greasy, colorless flammable liquid with some level of acute toxicity.
In contrast to being dangerous, these substances are also invaluable in the manufacture of thousands of consumer products and the production of components that are used to create consumer goods or facilitate industrial processes. The challenge, then, for manufacturers and users of these dangerous chemicals is to construct, handle and transfer them in a way that eliminates any chance for their release into the atmosphere where they can harm humans or the environment.
Any time substances comprised of dangerous chemicals are handled there is an inherent risk involved. This risk stems from the fact that the release of these chemicals can lead to severe health consequences for humans and animals, as well as damage to the environment. While safety in handling these chemicals is a top concern for those who come in contact with them, there is also a secondary one: these chemicals are often very expensive and any loss due to leakage or release has a direct effect on the manufacturer’s bottom line.
However, keeping these dangerous chemicals fully contained is often easier said than done. Since many can also be highly corrosive, the pumping equipment used to transfer them is prone to chemical attack if the materials of construction are not compatible with the acid, caustic or solvent. Materials of construction are not the only factor to consider when determining if a pump should be used to handle dangerous chemicals. Another area to focus on is the actual design features of the pump. For example, if the design incorporates mechanical seals or packing, they may be prone to leaking.