In U.S. propane fulfills 3 to 4 percent of total energy needs. And, nearly 11 billion gallons of propane are consumed annually in the U.S by over 60 million Americans. Propane is used in many ways in our day to day life such as in their homes, on farms, for vehicles, and even for recreation. Propane is available anywhere in the U.S. , it burns cleanly. It is environmental friendly in nature. (NPGA)
Dr. Walter O. Snelling of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910 was first to identify propane as a volatile component in gasoline. This happened when we was contacted to investigate vapors coming from a gasoline tank vent of a newly purchased Ford Model T. He filled a glass jug with the gasoline from the car and later discovered on his way back to the lab that volatile vapors were forming in the jug which is causing its cork to pop out frequently. After experimenting with these vapors he learned that propane was a component of the liquefied gas mixture and it could be used for lighting, metal cutting and cooking. (History of Propane)
LPG or propane tanks are the storage containers for propane in its liquid state. There tanks are engineered and designed in different sizes for propane containment at high pressures. These tanks are for both stationary and mobile use. This tank allows propane and its usable energy to be portable.
Even though the tanks are constructed to be safe at all circumstances when they are first put into service. However, accidents can't be avoided when misused, abused or mishandled; at most care needs to be taken during handling, transport, storage and even in the disposal of those tanks. (Mathisen)
General Statement Of The Problem:
It is observed that there is no proper packaging of LPG tanks for road transportation has been defined, rather there are many precautionary instructions and measures defined for accident situations.
The purpose of the study is to propose a proper packaging design and definition in order to limit the damage intensity during loading, unloading and transportation of LPG or propane tanks.
Statement Of Hypothesis:
The hypothesis of this project would be proposing different packaging designs which could be more efficient during handling and transporting the propane tanks.
The propane tank size cannot be customized as the size is standardized one. Hence, the packaging design needs to bring into play few standard restrictions while proposing new designs of packaging.
There are no regulations on how you load and unload the tanks, so the objective would be designing new way to load and unload the tanks. Also, making sure that there is minimal drifting or movement of tanks loaded on the truck while transportation.
Definition Of Terms:
Propane is a hydrocarbon (C3H8) also referred as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is produced from other petroleum products during natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It is nontoxic in nature, colorless and odorless. Propane is easy to transport and because it is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, it is very economical to store and transport as a liquid.
Propane tanks are the storage containers for propane in its liquid form. These tanks are available in different sizes which are designed for both stationary and mobile use. (Propane Tanks)
Propane Tanks Standards:
The manufacturers of propane tanks are required to abide to the rules of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) for constructions of propane pressure vessels that are intended for use within the United States.
Propane Tank Requirements:
Propane tank related safety and compliance items:
a) Manufacturers Nameplate: Tanks which will not have any nameplates are not permitted to be filled.
b) Tank Paint Color: Propane tanks should be painted a reflective color.
c) Regulator Position: Propane regulator should be covered and protected or should be pointed vertically down.
d) Level Position: Propane regulator should be placed above the soil and on the level ground.
Propane Tank Parts:
The propane tank parts consist of the following replaceable fittings and connections:
a) Fill Valve: this is the point where the hose from delivery truck is attached to the tank during refueling.
b) Service Valve: this is the point where propane gets converted to vapor in an over-pressure situation.
c) Relief Valve: This safety relief mechanism is designed which will vent propane in an over-pressure situation.
d) Float Gauge: also known as dial gauge is a visible indication of the propane volume available in the tank.
e) Fixed Liquid Level Gauge: this shows the level of propane whether it is 80% capacity or above.
f) Vapor Return Valve: this helps to remove excess tank pressure.
g) Liquid Withdrawal Valve: withdrawal of liquid propane from the tank is done from here.
Review Of Literature
This project's objective is to ensure the propane tanks position to be in tact to the bed of the semi-truck during transportation with minimal or no movement of tanks.
Propane tanks are manufactured in different sizes:
a) Small Disposable tanks: these are used for holidaying or during camping kind of activities, such propane tanks are purchased full, used only once, and then discarded.
b) Large tanks: these are tanks that are used for residential and commercial purposes. These are generally delivered and set up at a particular location, and are not moved during their useful life. When the tanks require refilling, a truck comes for refueling these tanks.
c) Medium sized tanks: are available in different sizes or capacities that are measured in gallons or pounds of propane that they can hold.
Regardless of their size propane tanks store propane liquid until it is used as either a liquid or vapor. All propane tanks are subject to rules based on safety, they can only be filled to about 80 percent.
Propane tanks are manufactured in many sizes, these are manufactured by many companies around the world these days. The manufacturers have to adhere to the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) rules for construction of propane pressure vessels that are intended for use within the United States.
Propane tanks subject to protection requirements for few obvious reasons. Propane tanks that “subject to vehicular traffic” as the rules state, clearly needs to be protected from any type of impact caused by a vehicle and its motion.
Propane tanks which are installed where there is automobile traffic can be expected or is present needs to be protected from the potential impact. A slight bump by a car can do more damage than tampering or accidental jarring of the line or tank by people.
Many a times the propane tank may not get damaged but the movement of the tank can be very significant which would result in a stronger and more drastic movement of the service line. If in case the force of the vehicle impact is very severe, the gas service line can subject to large leaks or even total breakage.
During transportation, either accelerating or applying brakes, these tanks tend to fall over and when emergency brakes are applied or during any crashes, they can become missiles and tend to pose a substantial risk to the surroundings. These tanks are very heavy and their weight can impact severe injuries or sometime can cost life of the people who are traveling in the vehicle. They can get chucked from the vehicle during the application of brakes or crashes, these impact with those outside the transport vehicles.
The greatest threat is that these tanks can explode. Some of them leak a small quantity of propane. Over time, the propane can accumulate and any type of a spark can then ignite the propane. If enough propane has accumulated, an explosion or fire can occur.
There is no possible and effective known solution that exists which can be used to transport a propane tank for filling of the tank that is adapted to secure the tank in position in the bed of a pickup and which is adapted to hold a variety of sizes of tanks.
There is no proper regulations defined by transportation regulation which tells us how to transport a propane tank securing it in position in the bed of a truck.
The transportation companies never bothered to find any kind of solution. Even if one such device would be discovered they worried about the space wastage if they install one which was unavoidable.
Propane tanks are available in many sizes; it becomes difficult to accommodate them all.
Description Of Suggested Packaging Design:
This designs main objective is to curb the movement of the propane tank during transportation. A special bedding is designed to accommodate the propane tanks, which would restrict any kind of movement of tank during transportation.
According to Packaging Reference 49CFR 173.304; charging of cylinders with liquefied compressed gas tanks must be packed in strong wooden or fiber boxes of such design as to protect valves from injury or accidental functioning under conditions incident to transportation.
Taking the transportation of 1000 gals tank as reference the design is explained. The bedding is designed on a wooden plank following the regulation defined in the Packaging Reference 49CFR 173.304. This plank's length is equal to the breadth of the truck bed. The bedding has 4 slots for cables and 4 slots for legs of the propane tanks.
The dimensions of 1000 gallon propane tank:
Length: 190” ; Diameter: 41” ; Weight: 1750 lbs
The dimensions of the bedding:
length: 102” wide ; breadth: 30” ; height: 10”
A11, A12, A13, A14 are cable slots. Propane tank leg slots are in between A11, A12 and in between A13, A14. We need two of such beddings which would accommodate front and back legs of two propane tanks in parallel. Similarly we need two beddings to accommodate the stacking of two tanks above these tanks. And finally, wrapping of tanks will be done between the slots A11 and A12, A13 and A14. This way the tank which is stacked above gets enough grip to restrict the sliding over the tank which is providing the base to stand.
Finally, this entire packing will wrapped using nylon threading for extra protection and grip to hold the tanks position on the bed of the truck.
Holes needed to be drilled in the bed of the truck so has to enable the wrapping of the bedding with the cables along with truck's bed. This way bedding will stay in tact to the bed of the truck to accommodate propane tanks into them.