Semiconductor Giant Achieves Code-Compliant Spent Sulfuric Acid Handling with Cost-Effective Double-Containment Piping System

A leading semiconductor manufacturer in central Texas faced a significant challenge in complying with stringent local safety regulations for handling hot, high-concentration spent sulfuric acid. Traditional solutions involving expensive, high-alloy piping materials proved cost-prohibitive. Simtech stepped in to design and deliver a custom ContainTech® double-containment system utilizing a combination of ArmorTech® and CPVC piping materials. This innovative solution not only met all local, state, and national safety requirements but also offered significant cost advantages over conventional approaches. This case study explores how Simtech’s expertise in engineered plastics and double-containment systems enabled the semiconductor manufacturer to achieve both regulatory compliance and cost optimization.

Simtech's Containtech Double-Containment Technology

The Challenge: Navigating Complex Regulations and Cost Constraints

The semiconductor industry relies heavily on sulfuric acid for various manufacturing processes, including wafer cleaning and etching. As a result, semiconductor fabrication facilities generate substantial quantities of spent sulfuric acid, a highly corrosive and hazardous byproduct that requires careful handling and disposal.

The semiconductor manufacturer in this case study, located in central Texas, faced a two-pronged challenge:

  • Stringent Regulatory Landscape: The facility was subject to a complex web of local, state, and national regulations governing the safe handling and containment of hazardous chemicals like spent sulfuric acid. These regulations often overlapped, creating a challenging environment for compliance.
  • Cost Considerations: Traditional solutions for handling hot, high-concentration sulfuric acid typically involved expensive, high-alloy piping materials like Hastelloy C-276. These materials, while highly corrosion-resistant, came with a hefty price tag, making them a significant capital investment for the semiconductor manufacturer.

The company sought a solution that would not only ensure compliance with all applicable regulations but also offer a more cost-effective alternative to traditional high-alloy piping systems.

The Solution: A Custom-Engineered Double-Containment System

Simtech, renowned for its expertise in engineered plastics and double-containment piping systems, collaborated closely with the semiconductor manufacturer to develop a tailored solution that addressed their specific needs. The proposed system centered around Simtech’s ContainTech® double-containment technology, engineered to provide an additional layer of protection against leaks and spills.

Key Features of the Simtech Solution:

  • ContainTech® Double-Containment System: This system featured a primary carrier pipe nested within a secondary containment pipe, creating an interstitial space that would capture any potential leaks from the primary pipe. This design provided an added layer of safety, ensuring that even in the unlikely event of a primary pipe failure, the hazardous spent sulfuric acid would be contained within the secondary pipe, preventing environmental contamination and worker exposure.
  • ArmorTech® Inner Carrier Pipe: For the primary carrier pipe, Simtech selected their proprietary ArmorTech® material, a high-performance engineered plastic specifically designed for handling hot, corrosive chemicals. ArmorTech® offered exceptional resistance to sulfuric acid at elevated temperatures, surpassing the capabilities of conventional plastics like PVC or CPVC.
  • CPVC Outer Containment Pipe: The outer containment pipe was constructed from CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), a cost-effective material known for its excellent chemical resistance and durability. CPVC provided a reliable secondary containment barrier, further mitigating the risk of leaks or spills.
  • Flangeless Piping System: To simplify installation and minimize potential leak points, Simtech designed the system using a flangeless piping approach. This involved utilizing specialized butt-fusion welding techniques to create seamless, leak-proof connections between pipe sections.
  • Comprehensive Engineering Support: Simtech’s team of experienced engineers worked closely with the semiconductor manufacturer throughout the design and implementation phases. This included conducting a thorough analysis of the facility’s specific requirements, providing detailed design drawings and specifications, and offering on-site technical support during installation.

The Results: Regulatory Compliance and Significant Cost Savings

By implementing Simtech’s custom-engineered double-containment piping system, the semiconductor manufacturer achieved a multitude of benefits:

  • Full Regulatory Compliance: The system’s robust design and material selection ensured compliance with all applicable local, state, and national safety regulations governing the handling of hazardous chemicals. This provided the semiconductor manufacturer with peace of mind and eliminated potential regulatory liabilities.
  • Substantial Cost Savings: Utilizing ArmorTech® and CPVC piping materials, coupled with a flangeless installation approach, resulted in significant cost savings compared to traditional high-alloy piping systems. This allowed the semiconductor manufacturer to allocate resources more effectively and optimize their overall operating budget.
  • Enhanced Safety: The double-containment design provided an added layer of protection against leaks or spills, safeguarding both the environment and plant personnel from exposure to hazardous spent sulfuric acid. This proactive approach to safety fostered a more secure and responsible working environment.
  • Increased Operational Efficiency: The system’s reliable performance and reduced maintenance requirements contributed to increased operational efficiency for the semiconductor manufacturer. This allowed them to focus on their core business operations without disruptions or costly downtime.
Simtech's Containtech Double-Containment Technology in Texas


This case study highlights how Simtech’s innovative use of engineered plastics and double-containment technology provided a compelling solution for the semiconductor manufacturer’s complex challenge. By choosing Simtech, the company achieved full regulatory compliance, realized substantial cost savings, and enhanced the overall safety and efficiency of their spent sulfuric acid handling system. This project serves as a testament to Simtech’s commitment to delivering tailored, cost-effective, and reliable solutions that meet the unique demands of various industrial applications.

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