The Limitations of Magnetic Flux Leakage Scanning of Aboveground Storage Tank Bottoms

Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) scanning can be an extremely effective method of detecting areas of isolated corrosion pitting in aboveground storage tank (AST) bottoms. This method has been proven to be effective by numerous different means (i.e. Ultrasonic (UT) prove-up, coupons) and has become the industry standard for assessing the condition of a tank bottom when an aboveground storage tank has been removed from service. However, the effectiveness of this inspection method is almost entirely dependent on the knowledge and experience of the MFL operator. The MFL operator’s knowledge of the theory of MFL as well as the MFL operator’s knowledge of hisher specific equipment is imperative, but something that is often overlooked is the limitations to MFL that are often present when scanning a tank bottom. Numerous limitations are often present on a tank bottom that can prohibit a thorough tank bottom scan. The objective of this paper is to educate storage tank owner-operators as well as MFL operators on these limitations in order to improve the overall quality of MFL tank bottom scanning.

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