Road tankers are a vital piece of equipment; they are used for transporting various types of liquids which in many cases are flammable.
For example, petroleum products are transported on land using road tankers because it is the safest vehicle for transporting such volatile liquid over land. Despite other safety concerns, one issue that could put the operation of a vac truck for sale at risk is static electricity.
What is Static Electricity?
Static electricity is an excessive electric charge on the surface of an object. Almost everything has a charge, including the body of road tankers. These charges vary from one object to another; some objects have a positive charge while others have a negative charge, with a wide variance in between.
All material consists of atoms which contain the same amount of positive and negative charges. The number of protons and electrons can vary because when one object contacts another object, some of the protons and electrons can transfer. This creates an imbalance in the electrical charge of each object which stays that way even when the objects are separated.
When the two oppositely-charged items come near each other, the excessive charge escapes to the opposite charged one so that the two objects have the same charge again. Static electricity happens on a pretty much random basis as opposed to current electricity that travels through conductors such as wires. Static electricity can actually be seen from the small electrical spark that passes between the two objects.
Dangers of Static Electricity
Static electricity exists everywhere and is a completely normal phenomenon. It is very unsafe when it exists in equipment that contains volatile substances such as fuel. The static electricity in tankers may cause an electrical discharge during loading or unloading because the tanker itself may possess a different charge than the surrounding equipment involved in loading or unloading the carried material.
This difference in the charge can potentially cause a strong electrical discharge between the tanker and the surrounding equipment or even the ground. In worst case scenarios, such a discharge can be strong enough to cause the ignition of volatile petroleum fumes resulting in fire and possibly an explosion.
How Can This Be Avoided?
Wherever static electricity may be present, it can be stabilized to prevent discharge through the process of earthing or grounding. Grounding directs the excessive charge of an object into another object that is of substantial size; it is done by connecting the body of a road tanker with a highly conductive cable to a direct physical connection with the Earth. The ground is like an infinite reservoir of electrons. It is capable of absorbing excess electrons and it is also capable of giving out electrons which evens out the imbalanced electrical properties of the grounded object.
For example, with a grounded tanker the imbalance of protons or electrons can be eliminated because electrons from the tanker travel through the grounding wire to the earth to level the imbalance between the tanker and the holding tank. As a result of grounding, any difference in the static charge between the tanker and the holding tank or other equipment is eliminated.
Grounding is an important safety protocol for any vacuum truck for sale that is handling volatile substances . While it isn’t often that fires and accidents caused by static charges occur, history proves that it does happen and it can happen again if safety protocols like grounding are neglected. Hopefully this article has provided helpful information about the dangers of static electricity in road tankers and how it can be prevented through proper grounding!
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