Industrial Packaging for Critical Contents

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

The Purpose of a Steel Drum Lining

January 10th, 2014 by Lisa Stojanovich

Filed under: Industry News

Steel drums are often the ideal packaging for the transport and storage of contents across a vast number of industries.   However, there are some liquid products, many in the food and chemical industries, that may negatively react with steel.  These reactions could result in the contamination of product or in damage to the drum itself.  To avoid these problems, and insure a safe containment, drums made to hold these kinds of contents are lined.  These drum linings are specifically designed to combine with the contents and help protect the product and the drum itself from any dangerous reactions.

Before they are added, the linings of the steel drum will be tested to insure the prevention of any negative reactions.  Once combined with the strength of the steel, a lining makes the drum a safe and proper for choice for many liquid materials.   Any liquids that could react with bare steel must be put in a lined drum, and as always, it is important to know how the chemicals will react before storing and transporting.

The drum lining most commonly used at Skolink Industries is an epoxy/phenolic lining which is created by combining heat-cured epoxy resin with thermosetting phenolic resin.  The chemical resistance these two resins create make a lining that is ideal for drums containing liquids such as food products, detergents, latex paints, or materials with a pH range above 7.  An epoxy/phenolic lining is also flexible; when applied correctly the lining can adhere to a dent, or  bend, within reason, with the metal. This coating prevents chipping and potential contamination of the contents.  Lining quality is based on many attributes including the quality of resin and formulations used in manufacturing, and performance should be evaluated with a compatibility test to insure the lining can meet the needs of the end user

A modified phenolic lining uses a smaller amount of the epoxy resin, making it much less flexible.  Although these linings are not used as much in the industry, the higher ratio of phenolic gives the lining more impact resistance.  However, a phenolic lining does not have the same resistance to acids as an epoxy/phenolic.  It is best used for drums containing organic solvents, insecticides, and other liquids in the pH range below 7.

Any questions or concerns should be brought to the manufacturer’s attention before any contents are put into a drum.

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26 Responses

  1. Theodor Wilks says:

    Please recommend drum lining for (1) pure (99%+) liquid product phenol at 45 C temperature and (2) pure phenol hydrated with 8 wt% water (92% phenol) at 25-40 C temperature.

    Please also recommend drum lining for 99% acetone product to prevent iron contamination.

  2. Hi Theodor, thank you for submitting this important question. Selection of the appropriate lining begins with a conversation between you and our lining manufacturer. They will ask you about the properties of your product, and suggest linings which may test out to be compatible. Then, samples of your material will be subjected to accelerated test cups for 30 to 90 days of observation. Once the test is complete, if a lining appears successful, it will be your responsibility to request that Skolnik apply said lining onto steel drums to package your product. If you would like to proceed with this process, which is a free service from us, please contact Dean Ricker, VP Sales, at 773.884.1510 or dean@skolnik.com. I hope this is a workable solution. Cheers!
    Howard Skolnik

  3. Wolf Cole says:

    Can the barrels be reused, burned out for use as a bbq grill or smoker without harming someone?
    Thank you for your time.

  4. It is best not to use a closed head drum as cutting the top off is dangerous. Better to buy a real BBQ.

  5. Greg Huber says:

    We are having a problem with the spray lining flaking off the threads of the 2 inch opening when the plug is removed. Is it possible to keep the lining out of the threads during the application of the epoxy resin?


  6. Hi Greg,
    Thanks for writing with regards to the lined plugs. Being metal to metal contact, the coating on the threads can wear when the plug is rotated in the flange. There are solutions that might work for your application, ie: plated plugs, composite or plastic plugs. I will mention this to Jason Snow, your rep, and he will call you to discuss how to proceed. Wishing you Happy Holidays! Howard

  7. Sorry Greg, Veronica Crouchelli is your rep and whe will be calling you shortly. Thank you, Howard

  8. Vohn Diesel says:

    That explains contamination of the products with lining flakes. I wonder why some companies are using lined drums for motor oils. How long will it take for un-lined steel drums to become corroded inside and contaminate products with rust? Can un-lined drums keep motor oils for 2-3 years with no damage done?

  9. Hello and thank you for asking this question. In my experience, motor oils have seen shipped un unlined, carbon steel drums. I do not know of a single customer that ever used a lined drum for motor oil. That said, to answer your question, I imagine that an unlined carbon steel drum containing motor oil, and in a dry storage environment, would last for years. Corrosion of the steel, in this case, is more likely from an aggressive environment with high humidity. If you have further questions, you can call us at 773.735.0700 and ask to be assigned a sales representative. Thank you. Howard

  10. Vohn Diesel says:

    Thank you Howard.

  11. Lori Farr says:

    What is the temperature range for the storage of materials without impact to the lining?

  12. Hi Lori,
    Good question! The short answer is that the temperature and storage conditions of a lined drum will definitely impact the integrity of a lining. Furthermore, compatibility of the contents with the lining is also a factor to consider. The best answer to your question is to submit a sample of the contents to be shipped to our lining manufacturer for testing. The lining manufacturer has a test lab in which they can create a scenario with the anticipated temperature and storage conditions. The test is accelerated and results are usually ready in 30 days. The testing is free to our customers and potential customers. Please let me, or one of our sales representatives know if you would like to proceed down this path. Many thanks, Howard

  13. Fred Targee says:

    We purchase salvage drums from Skolnik. Recently we have received several drums without the plastic liners in them.Was this done in error or have the requirements changed?

  14. Hello Fred,
    Thank you for inquiring about the Salvage Drums you purchased from Skolnik. Our Salvage Drum standard has an unlined interior. A sprayed-on epoxy/phenolic lining is an additional feature. In addition, we also offer a poly bag that fits into the drum. Either way, if you would like your drums to have either of these internal options, please give us a call at 800-441-8780, ask for your client representative, and request the lining feature that best suits your needs.
    With sincere thanks,
    Howard Skolnik

  15. Danielle Hodge says:

    Good Day! Can you tell me what kind of drum is best to ship AND store Virgin coconut oil in? Im torn on which decision to make. I need to pour my oil out into a larger container to store before pouring out into my jars. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. : )

  16. Hello,
    Thank you for sending in your inquiry. Since I am not familiar with the properties of coconut oil I cannot comment on its compatibility with carbon or stainless steel, we offer both. If your concern is the integrity of the bottom seam, then both drums would qualify as secure for holding your oil, at an ambient temperature. In addition, there are additional steps that we can offer to further secure the bottom head. If you would like to proceed with ordering these drums, please contact one of our Client Representatives at 773.735.0700 or 800.441.8780. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  17. joshua says:

    What is the maximum resistance temperature for this lining? At what temperature will permeation begin to occur or exchange of electron between the metallic drum and the substance it is holding?

  18. Dear Joshua,
    Thank you for submitting this question. Lining performance will vary based on the method of heating. We wouldn’t be concerned with filling a lined drum with hot material but we would have concerns with the drum being used as a batch-making container where you are applying heat to the bottom of the drum or something to that effect. Generally speaking, our linings should not be exposed to temperatures that are significantly higher than the recommended Peak Metal Temperature (PMT) that is noted for each lining option. For the our epoxy phenolic linings, the PMT ranges from 350-425F. The dark red epoxy phenolic lining has a PMT of 425F.
    In terms of electron exchange between the metallic drum and the stored substance, it would be important for you to use standard grounding/spark protection techniques when pouring flammable material.
    I hope this answers your questions, with thanks, Howard Skolnik

  19. Jordan Taylor says:

    I have a off grid dwelling and would like to use a 30 gallon drum and heat it by using a stationary propane fixture under it about 6″ away. For dishes and showers all gravity fed. No pressure tank. I would like to use the epoxy phenolic lined drum so no rusting occurs. Is this ok? Tank would be drained every time I leave and exposed to freezing temps when emptied as well.

  20. Hello Jordan,
    A lined steel drum is a spray coating that is baked onto carbon steel. Using a propane tank to heat a lined drum will probably cause the heated area of the lining to crack and break off. Since you are not planning to use the drum for drinking water, than using a drum for dishes and showering is probably fine, just rinse well!
    Best of luck,

  21. Admark Polycoats Pvt Ltd says:

    we are manufacturing phenalkamine resin and packing in MS drums with internal laquer coating.The customer complant is that the laquer coating internal is peeled off with passage of time.we are using Ethylenediamine for making the phenalkamine resin about 17 %.can you suggest a alternative method of packing drums.

  22. Hello,
    From the description of the coating peeling off, there are several possibilities that relate to the coating application. If the coating peels off in sheets, it is likely to be uncured. Since you state that peeling occurs after a prolonged time, it could be relative to where the drum is stored or the (high) temperature of the warehouse. Long hot storage can also cause a coating to peel. Lastly, did you perform a compatibility test between your resin and the coating? This is essential to be sure that you have the right coating. We are happy to walk you through this process to determine the best coating for your product. You can reach our sales department by calling 1-800-441-4140. Hope we can be of some help. Thank you, Howard Skolnik

  23. Sandy says:

    How hot can a polyphenolic lined drum be heated without risking drum liner failure due to softening of the liner.

  24. Hi Sandy,
    Thank you for sending posting an interesting question. A drum lining is applied by spray, and then oven cured. Performance of the lining is designed for storage at ambient temperatures. If the drum is heated, it is likely that the lining will over cure and possibly crack or blister. This is a very delicate matter and you should perform a test of the compatibility of the drum to the heated temperature. Skolnik does offer free compatibility testing for our lining products. You can contact Customer Service at 1-800-441-8780 if you would like to proceed.
    With thanks,
    Howard Skolnik

  25. John Val Tomkins says:

    Can a lined drum be used to store gasoline?

  26. Absolutely not, steel drums cannot be used for storage of gasoline! There are vented containers that are specifically designed for gasoline storage. Find an appropriate container, not a steel drum.

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