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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Why We Offer Both "lined" And "unlined" Steel Drums

August 7th, 2007 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Safety

As a child, you probably heard your mother telling you not to buy a food can that was dented. She was right! In order to protect food from coming into contact with metal, food cans used to be coated internally with a phenolic lining. This lining was brittle and if the can was dented, it was likely that the interior lining had cracked. Today, linings offer the chemical protection of the phenolic plus they are mixed with the flexible properties of epoxy. Together, these epoxy/phenolic coatings are chemically resistant and able to adhere to a surface when it is damaged. While the epoxy/phenolic is a sprayed-on and cured coating (like paint) a passive rust inhibitor is applied to all our carbon steel drums in order to remove surface oil prior to painting. The rust inhibitor is much like the final rinse at a carwash, it is a light clear spray that is neither visible or measurable once it is applied. The purpose of the rust inhibitor is to prevent flash rust on uncoated carbon steel. If a customer needs an epoxy/phenolic lined drum for chemical or long-term rust resistance, then an unlined drum will not suffice. Please contact me, or your sales representative, if you have questions about our lining options.

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50 Responses

  1. Brett Ritchey says:

    What is the heat tolerance for epoxy phenolic lining, and what occurs above the tolerance temperature?

    Thanks, Brett

  2. Brett,

    After checking with our lining manufacturer, they informed me that the upper tolerance for the epoxy phenolic lining would be about 550 F, at which point the coating would become brittle.

    Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Keep reading the Skolnik blog!

    Howard Skolnik

  3. What is the best lining option for toluene/1-pentanol solution?

    Thank you

  4. Dear Irwan,
    Thank you for visiting the Skolnik blog and posting your question. While we do offer drums with protective epoxy/phenolic linings, we cannot recommend product compatibility with each lining.

    In this situation, what I suggest, is that I have have our lining manufacturer contact you to set up a Compatibility Test Series. The Series would involve accelerated testing of samples of your product in different lining sample cups. With most products, conclusive test results are available within 30 days. If you would like to proceed with such testing, please contact me at: 773.735.0700 x 1500.

    Thank you,
    Howard Skolnik

  5. Rolf says:

    Will the epoxy phenolic or 100% phenolic lining degrade in water at ~200F? Or.. will the epoxy phenolic or 100% phenolic linings leech into the water? Are the drums suitable for food use? Thanks

  6. Hello Rolf,
    Thanks for presenting such an interesting question. I really don’t have an answer for your question, although I would refer to you our lining supplier for an answer. Call me at 773.884.1500 and I will give you his contact information. Yes, the drums are suitable for food use. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  7. Marty Stevens says:

    If I’m going to use the barrel to hold fuel, does a lining matter?

  8. Hello Mary,
    Thanks for posting your question. First of all, fuel is a hazardous material and if you choose to put it in a drum, please make sure that you choose a drum that is compliant with the hazardous properties of the contents, especially if you are transporting the drum over a public right of way. However, there are containers made for fuel storage that might be more appropriate for your usage. You can check with your local fire department for some direction on these options. With regard to a lining, because of the aggressive nature of fuel, I would anticipate any epoxy or phenolic lining would fail after a short period of contact. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  9. Kelly says:

    Are phenolic linings the compatible with samples containing acid?

  10. JT says:

    I bought a drum from you recently with the epoxy phenolic liner that I intend to convert to a smoker. I don’t anticipate ever cooking anything at over 400 degrees, mostly low & slow, 225 degrees. I know it is supposed to be safe for food but Is it safe for cooking bbq? Does this liner need to be removed prior to smoking on it? Thanks!

  11. Hello, I must apologize for the delayed response. Thank you for purchasing a drum from Skolnik. Having the interior lined will not effect your smoker environment. The liner is similar to a high temperature paint and all the ingredients in the liner are food safe. After some use, the liner may begin to peel due to heat exposure. Just wire brush the peelings to prevent them from dropping onto your food. Hope you have many great tasting bbq’s!

  12. Hello, please accept my apology for the delayed response. Lining compatibility can only be determined by performing an accelerated test sampling.
    However, I don’t believe that our phenolic coatings would be sufficient to hold acid. Acid is better suited in one of our stainless steel drums.
    Hope this is helpful.

  13. Sunder says:

    Hi howard,
    What is the difference between Water Based epoxy Paintsand regular grade epoxyies? If so, wat is the baking temperature for both of them. Would be glad if you could throw some light !

  14. Hi,
    Water based epoxy linings contain far less solvents than most regular “solvent” epoxy linings, and are more common nowadays due to lower amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These coatings are just as, or more effective, than their solvent based counterparts. They are also safer for employees and the environment, and high quality water based linings even out perform solvent based epoxy linings.
    Baking temperature is different depending on lining manufacturers but our water based linings cure between 375 and 400 F.

    Please let me know of any questions.

    Thank you,

  15. Established in1975, EPOLAB has been dedicated in the development of versified series of epoxy resin. With competition in the technology industry and dynamic market changes, EPOLAB gradually developed adhesive, sealant, LED potting compound, solder mask ink, high-voltage coil potting, putty, composite prepreg material, thermal conductivity materials and so on.

  16. lori says:

    if a lined drum is dented slightly – will this cause the lining to flake off and contaminate the contents ?

  17. Hello, that is an excellent question.
    Skolnik’s linings are designed to offer both chemical resistance and flexibility to survive reasonable surface denting. Using a combination of Phenolics and Epoxy, these linings provide excellent protection for inner contents. Please note that before choosing a lining, product compatibility testing is recommended. Thank you, Howard

  18. Byron Chestnut says:

    I have a 55 gallon drum that held clear resin before emptied. The resin used was dumped out and mixed with color in separate containers and such to make epoxy..???…..I would like to use for a smoker. It does not have the epoxy coating on interior. But I am thinking it had the rust inhibitor inside it. Did it? How do I tell? How can I remove the rust inhibitor to make it safe for cooking? Degreaser and brillo pad, high heat exposure? Please help! Thx.

  19. Byron,
    Thanks for sending in your question. As a matter of general concern, I would NOT recommend that you use this drum for anything food related and certainly not for anything that will be near a flame. The previous contents could be flammable and poisonous. Do yourself a favor and buy a new drum that has not been exposed to chemical contents. Good luck. Howard

  20. Ramadas says:

    Dear Sir,
    We use mild steel barrels for packing rubber latex based adhesive. The adhesive contains toluene and ammonia. please inform whether the toluene and ammonia can damage the metal causing quality problems to the product?
    Kindly suggest a suitable lining for our barrels. Is epoxy lining okey? which type epoxy is suitable? your drums are available in India ? How can I get some sample drums?
    Hope you would reply early.

  21. Dear Ramadas,
    Thank you for your inquiry. I can’t speak to the effect of toluene or ammonia on your metal drums as I do not know the specific strength of each product. However, if you would like to find a suitable lining that we can apply to the interior of your drums, we offer free compatibility testing for your products. To proceed with this testing, we would need to receive samples of your products which we will then send to our lining manufacturer for testing. Since all of our manufacturing is in the US, it might be prohibitive for you to send us your products in a regulatory compliant manner. Therefore, I suggest that you find a local steel drum manufacturer and ask them to perform the compatibility testing with a local lining source. If you are unable to get a satisfactory answer from a local source, we are happy to help you from the US. Best of luck and thank you for the contact. Howard Skolnik

  22. David says:

    How do I know if a barrel is lined or not?

  23. Thanks for your inquiry. Unlined drums may have a passive rust inhibitor on the inside but visually, the inside looks like bare metal. A lined drum has a painted, or lined, interior surface which, in most cases, is either a light buff color or a rich red/brown. Hope this answers your question. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  24. Jeff Bowen says:

    I have redish/brown lined food grade 55 gallon drums that were used for storing tomato based and juice concentrate products. I am making smokers out of them. Are the drums safe to use (with a good washing out 1st) as they are or do I need to remove the liners 1st? 1 will have fire directly in it and 1 will have food sitting on racks while the fire will be approximately 22″ below in a separate fire box. And lastly, can 1 be used to boil corn in, using a propane burner underneath?

  25. Alex Hedrick says:

    Is the tan colored lining food safe or only the red lining?

  26. Hello Alex,
    Thanks for posting a good question. Both the tan and reddish colored linings are food safe, however, the linings do not have an FDA certification.
    Let me know if you have further questions.
    Thank you,
    Howard Skolnik

  27. Jacob D says:

    Would an epoxy/phenolic liner be acceptable for storing a silane solution?
    Thank you,

  28. Hi Jacob,
    Thanks for the interesting question. Contents often contain elements that are unknown and therefore, we do not recommend a lining compatibility. What we offer, is free accelerated compatibility testing of your product. The testing would be conducted by the manufacturer of our linings and usually produces reliable results within 30 days. If you would like to proceed with this testing, please contact our Sales team directly, or I can introduce you to a Sales Rep.
    Thank you, and hope this is helpful!

  29. Michael says:

    is unlined drums are good enough to store hydraulic oil for a year or 2?

  30. Hello and thank you asking this question. In my experience, storage of hydraulic oil, in a carbon steel drum, can last for years, as long as the storage environment is dry.
    Hope this answers your question, and you can call 773.735.0700 and ask to be assigned to a sales representative if you wish to proceed with buying these drums.
    Thank you,

  31. Matthew says:

    Howard, I’m making a bbq smoker from a lined drum. The bbq will get to 250 degrees. Is it safe? Is there any concern of off gassing at this temperature?

  32. Hello Matthew,
    Thanks for submitting your question. It would be better to use an unlined drum because the lining will probably crack and flake off with use. Initially, you will have to be watchful of any lining material that may fall onto your food. The lining does not have any harmful agents in it, and eventually it will burn off. To answer your question, I don’t believe off gassing will be an problem. Happy BBQ! Howard

  33. PRAKASH SHETH says:

    what kind of Internal lining do you suggest for Carbon steel drum for fillig BENZYL CHLORIDE

  34. Hello and thank you for asking this question. We are not able to recommend a lining for your specific product however, the manufacturer of our linings will perform, for free, a compatibility test with a sample of your chemical. The test is accelerated and is completed in 30 days. Please let me know if you would like to proceed with testing.
    Best of luck,
    Howard Skolnik

  35. Lauren says:

    In regards to the 55 gallon food grade steel drums, what types of food ingredients can you fill them with or what are they most commonly used for? Thank you

  36. Hello Lauren,
    Thank you for asking this question. Our carbon steel drums can be used for either liquids, in a closed head or solids, in an open head drum. For products that are compatible with a bare steel surface, filling is through the 2″ plug in the top head or, for a solid, by removing the ring assembly and cover. For products that are not compatible with bare steel, the interior can be epoxy/phenolic lined. The closed and open head styles are also available in 409, 304 and 316 stainless steel. Furthermore, almost all our products are UN tested and certified for the safe transport and disposal of dangerous goods (hazmats). If you have any further questions, please contact me at 773.735.0700. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  37. Brandon says:

    Do you have any suggestions for removing the red liner?

  38. The red liner is a sprayed on, and baked, epoxy/phenolic compound. It is very difficult to remove. The best solution is to send the drum(s) to a reconditioner that has the ability to process the drum through an oven that will burn off the lining. Depending where you are located, it is likely that there is a reconditioner that is local to your facility. If you need further assistance, you can contact me directly at 773.735.0700. Thank you, Howard

  39. Bob Holland says:

    We use unlined drums for storage of Antifrees. The antifreese is a 50/50 mix and it has a rust inhibitor in it. Should I be concerned about rust from inside?

  40. Hello Bob,
    We get this question often. The only way to know the proper answer is to submit a sample of your anti-freeze to our lining manufacturer for compatibility testing. The test is accelerated and takes 30 days to complete. There is no cost to you for this test. In the end, you should have a definitive answer. Please contact your Skolnik Sales Associate or call 1-800-441-8780 and ask for assistance from Client Services. Hope this is helpful and thank you for sending in your question. Howard Skolnik

  41. MIke Conway says:

    We have the ability to test in house. Can you send me tabs or coupons coated with a phenolic lining for Trichloronitromethane? I would also like to test an epoxy phenolic lining.

    Our goal is to packing in carbon steel drums with a phenolic lining. Can the coated drums be recycled?

  42. Hello Mike, thank you for submitting this question. It is unusual for one of our own customers to perform their own compatibility testing. In addition to the contents, environment, test duration and temperature can impact the outcome. For this reason, our lining manufacturer offers this test, at no charge, in their lab. If I may suggest, contact our Client Services at 1-800-441-8780 and ask to be connected to a Sales Rep. You can also email daniel@skolnik.com if you prefer to email. Hope this process leads to us having a new customers! With thanks,
    Howard Skolnik

  43. Gene Rector says:

    Hello Mr. Skolnik,

    A very large number of people, including myself, use metal drums to make grills and smokers. We purchase these drums new from Skolnik or other manufacturers or purchase used drums that previously held food related products. After purchasing the drums we go to very great effort to remove the lining. This effort includes building very large fires in the drums, sometimes two or three times. After burning there can still be lining material left on the inside of the drum. When this occurs we resort to mechanical means (sanding, sandblasting, wire wheel, grinder, etc.) to remove the remaining liner. Based on no science, the consensus of the barbequing and grilling communities (internet forums, social media, gatherings, etc.) is that if the liner is left on the barrel, the heat from the burning charcoal, wood fire, etc., will cause some sort of toxic substance to get into our food. Assuming we keep any flaking liner from getting onto the food, my question to you is, would you eat food that had been cooked using a barrel that has a liner or rust inhibitor remaining on the barrel? Your answer could either confirm our concerns and we will continue to remove the linings or it could save us an enormous amount of effort we put into removing the linings. I know you have answered some previous questions about this, but I don’t feel the previous questions fully presented the issues to you. I whole heartedly thank you in advance for your response

  44. Hello Gene,
    Thank you for asking about the use of used steel drums as BBQ’s. This is a very simple answer. Steel drums are mostly used for the storage and transport of dangerous goods that are regulated by the US Department of Transportation. Therefore, using any used drum that once carried contents, lined or unlined, is a risk that should not be taken when considering it for use with anything edible.
    Wishing you many safe and happy BBQ’s!
    Howard Skolnik

  45. Robert says:

    I need to scald a pig for butchering. Can a lined fda steel barrel be safely used when water is is heated by a propane burner to 155 Degree’s F?

  46. Dear Robert,
    Thank you for your inquiry. I have never been asked such a question but if you are asking if a barrel is safe to heat water to 155 degrees, then yes, it is capable of handling this task. However, please make sure that the cook is wearing protective equipment and the drum is properly guarded. Also, only use a new drum, not used, to be sure that the drum is free of any chemical contamination to the water. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  47. Brooke Miller says:

    I am interested in how thick the phenolic coating is on your 55 gallon drums. How many lbs/grams of phenolic lining per 55 gallon drum? Is this the same for the epoxy phenolic lining? Thanks for your help.

  48. Dear Brooke,

    Thank you for your inquiry about our linings. Per the manufacturer of our coatings, these are the suggested coating characteristics:

    The phenolic and epoxy/phenolic coating on a drum is approximately 0.6 MIL (0.0006 in) thick.

    The calculated weight of the phenolic coating is approximately 0.0342 lbs (15.5 grams).

    The calculated weight of the epoxy/phenolic coating is approximately 0.0252 lbs (11.4 grams).

    Please let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  49. Mike Dooley says:

    Are your drums new manufactured drums or reconditioned drums? I’m looking for a new unlined drum to use for a smoker.

  50. Thank you for your inquiry. We manufacture only new drums.
    Happy cooking!

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