The developments in the vehicles have tremendously reduced the human efforts. Today we have a machine for every job. Since the introduction of automobiles, the distances have become shorter and the transportation of heavy goods has become easy. We have often seen a truck with a cylindrical tanker carrying some load. They are the trucks that transport liquefied loads. But, have you ever thought of Why Do Liquid-Carrying Trucks Have Cylindrical Tankers?

Wouldn’t it be rectangular so that a large volume of goods can be transported? Moreover, the manufacturing and maintenance of a rectangular container will be much easier. Well, there is certainly a lot of science behind the cylindrical shape of a liquid tanker.

What are tanker trucks?

These are the vehicles that are used for the transportation of liquefied loads like oil, water, gases, etc. The size of these tankers may vary depending on the loading capacity. In addition, they can be pressurized or non-pressurized, insulated or non-insulated and so on. They are similar to the ones which we generally see rumbling on the railway tracks.

Why do they have a cylindrical tanker?

There are many trucks which have more of an elliptical-shaped container than of cylindrical one. The reasons for the shapes are 


This is the foremost important thing in a vehicle. Because it secures others’ lives too while moving on a highway. The overall stability of a vehicle depends on its center of gravity. The lower the center of gravity the more stable is the vehicle. This necessitates the use of cylindrical shape which keeps the center of the vehicle as low as possible. Rectangular and square-shaped containers don’t meet this standard, as they have a higher center of gravity.

No weak spots

A cylindrical shape has no weak spots along its length because there are no edges. Less weak spots mean less of the chance of damage when the tanker experience some stress. Contrarily to this, a rectangular-shaped container would have several weak spots because of the edges. 

Weak spots are the point that would collapse firstly than the other points on experiencing the stress. A similar logic is also used behind the use of oval-shaped windows in an airplane. 

Go to this link to know the science behind the oval shape window of an airplane

Sloshing liquid

This is a problem that initially led to many accidents of the liquid carrying tankers. As tanker accelerates or de-accelerate, it experiences the force from liquid sloshing in the containers. This can be better-explained with the law of inertia which states that an object at rest or motion will be at rest or motion respectively until an external force acts on it.

This sudden surge of load in the container can never provide stability to the vehicle especially when it needs to move fast or stop suddenly, and turn frequently. It will be a lot of hard work on driver maneuvering the vehicle. 

Therefore to stabilize the vehicle and improves its handling, vertical metal sheets are present inside the container.  these can be flexible

Liquid extraction and maintenance in cylindrical tankers

The venting of the liquid is far easier in cylindrical tankers than the rectangular ones. An elliptical or cylindrical shape automatically allows the flow of load downwards due to gravity. 

Imagine how difficult it will become to extract the load from a rectangular container. It would take more time and a method to extract the load from the edges. 

Moreover, the maintenance of the rectangular-shaped containers would be much of the task when it comes to cleaning it. Traces of liquid can stick at the corners and accessing these places is not that easy.

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