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Types of tanks

There is no unique way of classifying tanks based upon a single criterion such as shape or roof type. However, the nature of the pressure due to the substance stored in the tank determines the shape of the tank to be used.
  • Fixed-roof
      o Cone-roof tanks (usually supported by an additional structure)
      o Dome-roof tanks (usually self-supported structures)
      o Flat-roof tanks
      o Spherical tanks
  • Roof supports
      o Rafters and girders
      o Columns
  • Floating-roof
      o External floating roof
      o Internal floating roof
  • Bottom plate
      o Flat
      o Conical

Spherical tank typically used to store gas. External stairs are used to access the top of the tank.

Typical tank with a dome roof (Bacardi, Cataņo, Puerto Rico).

Tanks with dome roof in Stolhaven, Louisiana.

Tank with conical roof, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. This tank has a reinforcing ring stiffener.


This tank with a conical roof has rafters and girders to support the roof. Further, there is a central column.

Aerial view of a tank with a floating roof, Chalmette, Louisiana. The dike is full of liquid due to flooding after Hurricane Katrina, 2005. The tank has a ring stiffener which is also used for walking around the tank.

An external floating roof in a large tank (CAPECO, Cataņo, Puerto Rico). The stairs slide as the floating roof elevates due to increasing fluid inside the tank.

A floating roof may have a complex mechanism to avoid gases accumulating on top of the fluid by means of a pontoon resting on the fluid. There are various models of sealing rings to allow vertical displacements.

This research was supported by NSF-CCLI, DUE-0736828: "A Computer-Based Simulated Environment to Learn on Structural Failures in Engineering"