What is this big metal thing being hauled through my town? (pics)

I got these pictures from a friend of a friend’s MySpace and I’m rehosting them and linking to them from here with her permission in order to find out what the hell this thing is.

Here are several of the pictures she took.

As you can see, it is very, very long, enough so that the police had to block traffic to let it get through.

Anyone know what the hell this monster is?

Holy crap! Is that thing sitting on two flatbeds? :eek:

Aside from the obvious impression that it is some sort of ginormous storage tank of some kind, though, I have no idea what it might be.

It’s clearly a tank of some sort. Perhaps one of the buried tanks at a gas station?

I’m not sure why it would be so long, though, rather than just having two shorter tanks (which would be much easier to transport, install, etc.).

Ahh! I’ll let my wife know this years septic tank is on the way. Good thing too, we filled that last one in a hurry.

Actually, if it helps any, it doesn’t look new. I can’t tell for sure from the photographs what part of the country you live in but I’m guessing coastal. Even so, had it been under water for any length of time I would expect more degredation. Has there been any major construction in your area?

It looks like a very large petrol tank.

I’m betting it’s a fuel tank. Either for a truck stop or more likely, for a factory.

Just a guess here, but it looks like a petrolium fractionation/distalation coloum. In use, this thing would be vertical (as opposed to laying horizontally, as pictured.

It also looks used, and is probably going for scrap.

A “Frac” column is essentially a big vertical tube, partially filled filled with crude oil and then heated. The crude oil spearates into its verious components (Kerosine/diesil/gasoline/ethylene and many more, at various levels), where they are bled off for further purification and processing.

that’s my guess anyway…

Just curious - where do you live? It looks like a really cute town.

If you watch closely, can you tell if one end of the cylinder is turning, unscrewing?

Middletown, PA - about 10 miles from Harrisburg. While it is a nice place, I should note that the area in the pictures is the main square, and therefore nicer than most of the rest of the town (which includes a little place called Three Mile Island, unfortunately).

I’m not sure. I wasn’t there when the pictures were taken.

Not that I’ve noticed, but then I’m generally fairly oblivious to that sort of thing anyway, unless it’s the kind of construction that blocks off a road and keeps me from getting somewhere.

And have you seen tripods coming out?

What Full Metal Lotus said. I’m pretty sure it’s a distillation column, used by refineries as shown here. http://www.wrg-whv.de/en_new/procedure.htm Here’s a similar object listed for sale. http://www.kitmondo.com/ViewListing.aspx?lid=80510&prodName=Kvaerner-Distillation-Column_CS-SA-516-6R70

It looks like an LP gas tank- the construction is suitable for medium pressure and has domed ends unlike a petrol tank used underground at a filling station.
Lacks sufficient porting to be a frac tower.

We have these things being hauled from the port through Jeddah fairly regularly. I would like to know what it is for sure too, but I presume it has to do with petroleum.

My guess is a large storage tank, too. It has ports that are closed. I’d expect a fractioning column or other piece of refinery hardware to have a LOT more pipes and connections, but I can’t absolutely say.
Either that, or the world’s largest turd.

Fracs and liquid fuel storage tanks must have manways according to API standards. From memory, 24" clearance (not flange diameter ) is minimum for confined space entry. The third photo blind flange appears too small for that.
Another reason to discount refinery equipment, there aren’t any in that part of Pennsylvania.

The second image on this page


looks like a match to me.


I’d guess natural gas tank as well, based on the rounded ends and the ports in the 3ee0 picture, which seem like pressure fittings.

It’s not a distillation column: there’s no base (it’s rounded on both ends) and there aren’t enough inlets and outlets, plus it’s awful rusty for a piece of production equipment.

Of course, it also seems kinda rusty for a storage tank that’s going to be re-used, but it must be destined for re-use – if it was scrap, I think it would be cheaper to cut it up on site rather than moving it whole.

Looks like we have something approaching consensus here (and that picture does look a lot like it.

Thank you all for the guesses, both from me, and the girl who took the pic, and at least adozen other assorted friends and friends of friends who are currently scratching their heads over those pictures.

It’s a Japanese sub.

those sneaky bastards.