• Steel Drums 101
  • Karen

    Karen D. Hamel, CSP, WACH, is a regulatory compliance professional, trainer and technical writer for New Pig. She has more than 22 years of experience helping EHS professionals find solutions to meet EPA, OSHA and DOT regulations and has had more than 100 articles published on a variety of EHS topics. Karen is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Walkway Auditor Certificate Holder (WACH), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainer and hazmat technician. She also serves on the Blair County, Pa., LEPC and has completed a variety of environmental, safety, emergency response, DOT and NIMS courses, including Planning Section Chief. She has conducted seminars at national conferences and webinars for ASSE and other national organizations. She can be reached at 1-800-HOT-HOGS (468-4647) or by email karenh@newpig.com.

  • Pitz Bonillasays:
    05/09/2013 at 4:19 am Reply

    What is the maximum temperature a steel drum can go or used?

    • Brocksays:
      05/09/2013 at 10:13 am Reply

      In general, there are no set temperature limits for steel drums. Given that our drums are mostly used to contain hazardous materials, we must handle this type of question with extreme caution. Some drum users reference the operating temperature range for EPDM gaskets which is -40 to 150 F (this is the gasket that is used on most of our drums). While others may refer to the extreme melting points of carbon steel (2,600 F) or stainless steel (2,750 F).
       
      Any set temperature limit is really dictated by the material that is placed in the drum. For example, if a customer places a chemical in the drum with a flash point of 90 F, then the temperature limit would be less than 90 degrees. Other users may place a product in the drum with a boiling point of 100 F. In this case, if the temperature of the drum and the product inside exceed 100 degrees the product would begin to boil, building up pressure in the drum to the point where the drum could possibly fail or explode. Another key consideration here is the UN liquid rating that shows the hydrostatic pressure rating for the drum (example: UN 1A1/X1.8/300). This rating would need to be taken into consideration along with the temperature variables of the product being placed in the drum.
       
      Lined drums are another case all together. Our lining and paint are both cured at 425 F. Now, assuming that a lined drum is empty and heated to a temperature of 450 F for 3 hours or more, the lining will start to show signs of failing (peeling, discoloration etc). However, if the drum is filled with maple syrup at a temperature of 450 F and immediately begins to cool the lining should perform just fine. The key variable in this question is the material that is being placed in the drum, average temperature of the drum/product and time. Some chemicals may become more aggressive at 200 F and cause immediate lining failure, while others will have no adverse reaction what so ever no matter how long the drum is in use.
       
      In summary, we feel that in order to answer the “temperature limit” question one must always take into consideration the product inside the drum more so than the drum itself.

  • shidasays:
    04/23/2014 at 2:34 am Reply

    hi.can you help me to source 200L open top steel drum? can you give me the price per unit? await your prompt reply.thanks

    • Monicasays:
      04/23/2014 at 11:04 am Reply

      Hi Shida,

      We sell a few different versions of 55 gallon open head steel drums.

      First, We offer the lever lock version, DRM837. This is a quick style method of opening the drum, rather than the standard bolt and ring closure that can be harder to open and close. These are good if you need to open the lid multiple times a day.

      We also have the bolt ring closure version, with three different UN ratings , DRM340, DRM423, and DRM844.

      Finally there are open head drums with lids that have bungs, if you need to put a pump or vent in the drums, and those parts are DRM975, DRM974, and DRM973.

      Which one you choose depends on your preference, as well as the required UN rating, if shipping in these drums.

      Please let us know if you have questions on these products.

  • Eric Starksays:
    06/05/2014 at 2:05 pm Reply

    What is the maximum amount of pressure can a closed top drum take from the inside before bulging?

    • Jensays:
      06/06/2014 at 12:31 pm Reply

      Hi Eric,

      Good question. And the answer is…it depends on the drum. NON-UN rated drums are not tested for this. UN rated drums are.
       
      For example, when you see a rating of UN 1A1/x1.8/300…the 300 refers to the hydrostatic pressure the drum has been tested to withstand, in kilopascals.
       
      Does this help?

  • Krissays:
    10/03/2014 at 10:17 am Reply

    To build on the question about pressure: Is there data on how high you can drop a full 55 gallon drum before it fails? (I’m thinking there are too many variables here to get a good answer: contents, temperature, what is falls on (ie rocks or concrete), orientation of impact, etc.) In the spirit of due diligence I’m searching high and low for the answer!
    Thanks,
    Kris

    • Karensays:
      10/06/2014 at 11:36 am Reply

      It’s true that there are a lot of variables, but the DOT regulations do provide some perspective on the performance standards of different types of packaging. When you see a UN rating on a container, it tells you that the container has passed a number of tests and is “strong enough” to meet the shipping criteria associated with whatever level of hazard the container is rated to handle.
       
      Ideally, it’s best not to drop full containers, but we all know that it happens from time to time (and DOT does, too.) So, one of the tests that a UN-rated container must pass is a drop test.
       
      Here’s quick look at the testing a container goes through to get it’s UN rating. A container must pass all of the tests shown below before it receives a UN rating.
       
      All UN-rated, non-bulk packagings are subject to the following tests:
       
      1. Drop test (49 CFR 178.603)

      a. For drums – three drops are performed diagonally on the chime, then three more drops are performed on “the weakest part” of the package, usually on a closure
      b. For boxes – one drop on its bottom, one drop on its top, one drop on its long side, one drop on its short side and one drop on a corner
      c. Plastic drums are tested when the container and contents (usually antifreeze in water) are at 0°F
      d. Drop height is determined by packing group, and ranges from 2.6 ft to 5.9 ft

       
      2. Leakproofness test (49 CFR 178.604)

      a. Packaging is restrained under water and an internal air pressure of 3 or 4 psi – depending on packing group – is applied

       
      3. Hydrostatic Pressure test (49 CFR 178.605)

      a. A pressure gauge is installed on the lid of a sealed packaging. Metal packaging is tested for 5 minutes, plastic is tested for 28 minutes
      b. Air is pumped into the drum at pressures ranging from 15 to 36 psi – depending on packing group – and the pressure must remain even, constant and continuous throughout the test

       
      4. Stacking test (49 CFR 178.606)

      a. A stack of packagings is created, at least 10’ high.
      b. The stack must be stable for at least an hour prior to testing
      c. Force is applied to the top of the packaging for at least 24 hours (steel) or 28 days at 104°F (plastic)

       
      5. Vibration test (49 CFR 178.608)

      a. Packagings are bounced vertically on a platform for one hour.
      b. Immediately following the test, the packaging is turned on its side and observed for leakage

       
      I’ve had the opportunity to watch several containers go through this battery of tests. Some have passed. Some have failed – and, yes, a container that has failed its drop test can make quite a mess. Those that have failed get scrapped and sent for recycling. I can’t say what will happen if a container falls 20 feet… but I do know that a frozen plastic drum that is rated to ship packing group I materials can fall 5.9 feet with barely a scuff to show.
       

  • Seansays:
    10/16/2014 at 11:36 am Reply

    Can you tell me the difference between Carbon Steel and Stainless? Currently looking into getting a few drums for my shop and my supplier has both.

    • Lisasays:
      10/16/2014 at 3:34 pm Reply

      Carbon steel is used to denote steel with carbon as the main alloying element. In carbon steel, the properties are mainly defined by the amount of carbon it has. For this alloy, the amounts of other alloying elements like chromium, manganese, cobalt, tungsten are not defined.
       
      Stainless steel is different from other steel alloys because it doesn’t corrode or rust. Other than this, it has other basic properties of steel, as mentioned above. Stainless steel is different from carbon steel due to the amount of chromium present.
       
      – Carbon Steel is significantly less expensive than Stainless steel.
      – Standard drums are carbon steel and a 55 gallon drum price is ~$100.00, the price of a stainless steel 55 gallon drum is ~$700-$1000 each
      – Carbon Steel will corrode and rust vs. stainless steel does not corrode or rust
       
      Does this help to answer your question, Sean? If you have more questions, I’d be happy to answer them.
       
      Thanks,
      Lisa

  • Mahdi Sufisays:
    11/18/2014 at 1:16 pm Reply

    Dear sir
    1.What is the thickness of oil lube steel drum?
    2.Do you have any standards?

    • Jensays:
      11/18/2014 at 2:38 pm Reply

      Hi Mahdi,
       
      Here are your answers from Bill, one of New Pig’s Tech Specialists:
       
      1. Thickness of steel drums is dependent on the size of the container and the container’s Dangerous Goods “Packing Group” rating. The thickness ranges from 0.9mm for a 5-gallon/20-liter drum, to 1.5mm for a 55-gallon/200 liter drum.
       
      2. The steel drums are built to US DOT (Department of Transportation) standards, and the US DOT standards are based on the UN Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
       
      Hope this helps!
       

  • mahdisays:
    11/18/2014 at 1:48 pm Reply

    Dear Sir
    what is thickness of oil lube steel drum?
    (with standard Number please)
    thanks

    • Jensays:
      11/18/2014 at 2:39 pm Reply

      Hello again Mahdi,
       
      We’re hoping that the answer to your previous comment answered your question. Millimeters (mm) is the standard unit of linear measure for these. However, if you have a particular item you’re interested in, please send us the part number and we can provide more relevant detail for that particular item.
       
      Thanks!
       

  • mahdisays:
    11/18/2014 at 11:27 pm Reply

    Dear Jennifer
    thank you for you answer.
    my products is lube oil SAE20 & SAE40 and bright stock.
    so we use 55gallon/220 liter drum with 0.9mm for body and 1mm for heads. now i want know that can i use 0.9mm for body and heads for this products?

    • Jensays:
      11/19/2014 at 11:27 am Reply

      Hi Mahdi,
       
      From Bill in our Technical Services department:
       
      While it is possible to use drums of 0.9mm thickness construction for the storage and transport of non-Dangerous Goods such as the lubricant oils you describe, one should always consult the relevant national transport regulations to be certain that such drums are authorized for transport of such cargo.
       
      In addition, it is customary in the steel drum industry to manufacture 55-gallon “tight-head” drums with top heads thicker than the body or bottom head. As an example, our lowest-rated tight-head 55-gallon steel drum is manufactured using 1.2 mm top, 0.9mm body and 1.2mm bottom.
       
      We hope this helps to answer your inquiry and look forward to any questions you may have about our products.
       

  • Barrysays:
    12/08/2014 at 11:40 am Reply

    How do you dispose of a drum and how much does it cost for a pick up and disposal?

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      12/08/2014 at 3:43 pm Reply

      Hi Barry,

      When it comes to disposing of a drum of hazardous materials, the shipper must be properly trained under DOT hazmat requirements and be aware of the EPA RCRA regulations that apply to hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal. Disposal costs will depend on what the hazardous material is, how far it needs to be transported and how much treatment or processing it needs before it can be disposed of.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Ikesays:
    01/22/2015 at 9:37 am Reply

    We’re experiencing packing failure on the lid gasket because the product is being heated to approximately 250F. What are my options given this heat setpoint.

    • Lisasays:
      01/28/2015 at 11:11 am Reply

      Hi Ike,
       
      The Maximum temperature rating of our steel UNLINED drums is 250F and the Maximum temperature of a lined drum is 450F; that is only for the steel drum itself. The gasket material is another matter, as the EPDM gasket is only rated to ~150F (*GENERAL GUIDELINE ON TEMPERATURES*).
       
      Our steel drums are UN Rated and tested with the EPDM gasket so this cannot be changed if you are shipping a hazardous material or waste in this container and need to maintain the UN rating. If you are NOT shipping in this container, then finding a gasket material that will withstand a higher temperature is going to be necessary.
       
      If you’d like, I can check to see if another gasket material is available through customs for the drums should you be shipping in the container, or you can try to source another gasket material for the drum you are using if this is not going to be used for shipping of hazardous material or hazardous waste. If you’d like me to do this, please contact me at 1-800-HOT-HOGS.
       
      Let me know if you need anything else. This is where I found the temp ratings for the gasket material – this is not specific to the gaskets used in our drums, but a general guide
      http://www.sealfast.com/a_pressure_temperature.html
       
      Thanks,
      Lisa

  • Johnnysays:
    01/23/2015 at 10:45 am Reply

    I have some very viscous product that is hard to get out of some 55 gal steal drums. We use air pressure to move these products but not in drums. Is there a safe pressure rating for a sealed 55 gal steal drum. I am wanting to make a fitting that will incorporate a pressure gauge and an emergency release valve that will release pressure before the drum explodes. What pressure should I be looking for?

    • Lisasays:
      01/28/2015 at 11:16 am Reply

      Hi Johnny,
       
      Steel Drums will typically begin to bulge around 10 psi + or – depending on steel thickness. If this is a UN drum, there should be a KPA rating on the drum. This is the last three digits of the liquid rating, for example: 1A1/X1.8/300. The 300 represents that pressure test rating in KPA. Translated to PSI that would be 43 psi, which means that when the drum was tested it held 43 psi without leaking. Of course at 43 psi there is significant bulging and deformation of the drum, but it held its contents. Anything over 43 psi the drum will either self-vent, rupture, explode etc.
       
      Given all of that, if you want the drum to maintain its shape, you need to stay in the 5 to 7 psi range or less.
       
      Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with!
       
      Thanks
      Lisa

  • mr maleksays:
    01/31/2015 at 10:08 am Reply

    a bit confused here… our atmospheric pressure is 14.6psi. or do you mean 19.6 to 21.6 psi will not explode the drum? thanks

    • Monicasays:
      02/02/2015 at 1:53 pm Reply

      Hello,
       
      When the pressure is listed in the rating of a drum, it means that is the maximum pressure that the walls of the drum can handle from the liquid on the inside. That is the pressure to which it has been tested and certified. It has nothing to do with the atmospheric pressure.
       
      I hope that helps! If you have questions, please call us at 1-800-463-4647.
       
      Thanks,
      Monica

  • Davesays:
    02/17/2015 at 11:33 am Reply

    My company fills 5 gallon metal pails and then caps them with a torque wrench (30 ft lbs). It is difficult to hold the pails and prevent them from spinning when the caps are torqued on.

    Is there fixturing out there that holds the pails in place when the caps are torqued tight? I’m looking for something that can be used in production. So it has to be easy and quick.

    • Lisasays:
      02/19/2015 at 11:47 am Reply

      Hi Dave,
       
      This is probably the first time we’ve ever referred someone to a fishing site! Unfortunately, New Pig does not have a product that would work for you. However, by working with our drum manufacturer, we’ve found a product that may help – the Bucket Grip. We can’t know for sure how this will work, as we’ve never tested it, but it seems to promise to do what you need for filling your pails. If you do decide to try it, please let us know how it worked for you.
       
      Hope that helps!
       
      Thanks,
      Lisa

  • Bonesays:
    02/18/2015 at 12:08 am Reply

    Hi, I have a plastic drum which has 2 bungs on it with different threads. Do you know why this is the case? Do the 2 bungs have different purposes?

    • Lisasays:
      02/19/2015 at 11:28 am Reply

      Hi,
       
      Poly drums can have either two NPT, two Buttress or one of each. (Example: DRM1136 has one 2” NPS with one 2” buttress threads for the bungs.)
       
      The fine thread is an NPT (National Pipe thread tapered) or NPS (National pipe thread straight). The wider thread is the Buttress.
       
      The reason for the two different threads on one drum is the ability to add a product such as a drum funnel to the drum and have the correct thread available without having to use an adapter.
       
      On a poly drum the fine thread (NPT or NPS) needs to be threaded on carefully as the threads can be crushed if force is used to get the product (like a funnel) to thread on. Once the threads are crushed you cannot fix it and it may make the drum useless due to the inability to put the bung back in or use it with an appliance such as a funnel.
       
      The buttress thread makes it easier to thread a product on and is less likely to damage the thread or need to use force to get the thread started. The buttress thread pattern was developed to handle high one-direction load forces. The load-bearing face (the flat part) has about twice the shear strength as a normal machine screw thread. Useful for pumps and faucets, it’s harder to break off or strip the threads. If you have a diaphragm pump mounted on top of a plastic drum, for example, the buttress thread will better resist the inherent vibrations.
       
      Note: Steel drums ONLY come in fine thread NPT or NPS.
       
      Let me know if you have any further questions.
       
      Thanks,
      Lisa

  • Jaysays:
    04/17/2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    I am filling a carbon steel 55 gallon drum with 350F material. Is there a cool down period required before I put the lid on the drum?

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      04/17/2015 at 12:53 pm Reply

      Jay:
       
      It depends, to an extent, upon what you are putting in the drum. Although there are some instances where “hot sealing” is preferable, in most circumstances, it is advisable to have the contents closer to ambient temperature before sealing a drum. If there is any water in the product, this will help prevent condensation from forming inside the drum. Condensation can taint product and can cause corrosion inside the drum.
       
      Putting the lid on a drum while liquid is still hot can also cause excess pressure to build up inside the drum. This can lead to the drum bulging or rupturing. It can also cause seals to fail.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Jaysays:
    04/17/2015 at 1:44 pm Reply

    Thanks Karen. The material is hot melt adhesive. I have been just laying the lid on top to keep trash out, but usually wait 12 hours or so before I clamp the lid down.

    Are there straight sided 55 gallon steel drums that are coated inside and bottom of the lids. If so I would like information on that. I have had to remove the gasket material on the lids. After one use they would stick to the drum and cause a problem. Is there a remedy for that.

    Thanks,
    Jay

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      04/23/2015 at 8:30 am Reply

      Jay:

      I can’t think of too many straight-sided drums that would have enough structural integrity for this. The rings on the sidewalls of most steel drums add strength to them. Steel drums, however, are available with different linings – anything from a phenol epoxy coating to help prevent corrosion to polyethylene, and many others. We’ll check on some options and send you information on those.

      As far as the gasket and lid sticking – the only solution I know for that is to wipe the top rim of the drum to ensure that there is no adhesive on it before putting the lid and ring on the drum.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Michaelsays:
    04/22/2015 at 6:27 am Reply

    Does anyone have any experience with submerging an empty 205 litre drum wt =0.9mm to about 10 metres. Can they take that depth? I have tried some code checks but they tend to say no.

    • Brittany Svobodasays:
      04/24/2015 at 8:56 am Reply

      Michael,
       
      We have not tried this ourselves and don’t know of anyone who has, but the consensus here is that the sidewalls of the empty drum would cave-in. For a point of reference, it would be somewhat similar to what would happen when the air is pumped out of a metal drum. The body of the drum would buckle and collapse inward under the pressure of the water.
       
      We hope you find this helpful and look forward to any other questions you have on our drums.
       
      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Venkatramansays:
    04/29/2015 at 4:27 am Reply

    I am from Chennai India. We are collecting the used steel drums from customers and selling for re-use. The old drums are closed head. We would like to convert those drums to open head before selling for re-use. Can you suggest any method or machine supplier for this purpose.

    Venkatraman

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      04/29/2015 at 11:19 am Reply

      Hi Venkatraman,
       
      The easiest way to do this is with a product called a drum deheader. These are available from many different manufacturers and can be manual or mechanical.
       
      Manual drum deheaders work like can openers. Some remove the head of the drum, others remove both the head and the top rim or chime. Mechanical drum deheaders do the same thing with less manual effort. Some deheaders also remove burrs to make the top of the drum less hazardous for the next user.
       
      Please note that deheading drums negates any UN certification that the drum may have had. When a drum has been deheaded, the UN markings should be removed from the container.
       
      Feel free to reply with any further questions.
       
      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Arunsays:
    05/27/2015 at 12:35 am Reply

    Dear Karen,

    Why we are using metal drum to store oil not plastic drum?Which drum(metal/plastic)is prefer to store pyrophoric waste?

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      06/01/2015 at 9:08 am Reply

      Hi Arun,
       
      Thank you for your comment.
       
      Oil is often stored in metal drums because metal drums are traditionally stronger than plastic. This allows them to be stacked and handled with a lower rate of failure than plastic drums. Some forms of oils may also be flammable. If this is the case, metal drums are safer than plastic because they can be bonded and grounded to prevent static from building up.
       
      When it comes to pyrophoric wastes, many different precautions need to be taken. Containers need to be kept from heat, for example. Many pyrophorics also need to be kept away from contact with water and/or air. Sometimes, the container needs to be kept refrigerated. It’s hard to make a generalization about which type of container is best. As mentioned above, metal containers can be bonded and grounded. This can help increase safety, but it is best to perform a risk analysis based on the particular chemicals being used and stored to determine which type of container will be the safest. Chemical suppliers and insurance companies are good resources for help with these analyses.
       
      Hope this answers your question. Do not hesitate to leave another comment if you have further questions.
       
      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Subodh Sthalekarsays:
    06/19/2015 at 2:00 am Reply

    Are there any Tapered 210ltr Barrels used for Lube Oils or any other Pproduct.

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      06/19/2015 at 8:45 am Reply

      Hi Subodh,
       
      Thank you for your comment! We stock poly, tapered, 210 liter open head drums that are compatible with lube oils. As for “any other product,” it is best to know what exactly will be stored so that chemical resistance can be verified.
       
      The most common types of drums are carbon steel, polyethylene, stainless steel and fiber.
       
      Hope this answers your question. Do not hesitate to leave another comment if you have more!
       
      Thanks,
      Karen

  • donsays:
    06/29/2015 at 7:06 pm Reply

    above you give the max psi a closed barrel can withstand and a safe psi. Could you give me the same for an open head one and is there a difference between a regular steel and a stainless steel one ?
    I am looking for the best open head container that will accept the most psi what might be the best ? I want to be able to put psi experiment inside of it.

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      06/30/2015 at 2:17 pm Reply

      Hi Don,
       
      Thank you for your comment. Although shipping containers can withstand whatever amount of pressure the certification says they can withstand; they aren’t intended to be pressure vessels, and you will likely be better served with a device that is specifically designed for this sort of testing. If you choose to do this, it would also be imperative to check all seals for damage or wear, sidewalls and interior for signs of corrosion, and seams to ensure the container’s integrity before each use. Drum reconditioners may be able to assist with these tests.
       
      The UN rating on a container will tell you whether or not it has been pressure tested. All UN-specification containers that are rated for shipping liquids must undergo a hydrostatic test as part of the certification process. Containers can be rated for shipping solids, liquids or both. The UN rating on the container lets you know how it can be used. For example, in the UN rating shown below, the “Y1.9” tells you that it’s good for shipping liquids with a specific gravity of 1.9 or less.
       
      UN 1H1/Y1.9/100: The number “100” represents the amount of pressure, in kilopascals, that the container can safely withstand. But, again, this rating is derived from the pressure that would normally build up in a drum containing liquids, not the pressure from a blast or explosion. As a reference, one kilopascal = 0.145037738 psi.
       
      The UN rating is specific to the container, and if you are comparing containers, the rating could be different for each one – even if they physically look the same. This is because each container must undergo testing: drum manufacturers are not permitted to make generalities based on composition or type.
       
      In general, a steel tight-head container will have a higher pressure rating than a plastic, open-head container – but that’s not to say that there isn’t a plastic one out there somewhere with a higher rating.
       
      Hope this answers your question. Do not hesitate to leave another comment if you have more!
       
      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Steve Dobrysays:
    06/30/2015 at 3:40 pm Reply

    3 Questions:
    1.) What’s the minimum UN rating for storing A-1 CLEAR
    kerosene in a 55 gallon (new) steel drum ?
    Is the UN rating, 1A1/X1.8/300, acceptable?
    What does the rating really mean ?

    2.) Is there an advantage with a LINED drum when storing
    kerosene, as opposed to an UNLINED drum ?

    3.) Are there 2″ and 3/4″ VENTED plugs ? Do the plugs
    vent the pressure (as it builds up) automatically ?

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      07/01/2015 at 4:19 pm Reply

      Hi, Steve! Thank you for your questions.
       
      1. UN Ratings explained: First – let’s clarify that UN ratings come into play when a hazardous material is being transported offsite. If you are solely storing the kerosene onsite, you technically would not need an UN-rated container. If the kerosene is being transported, you’ll want to spend some time with the table at 49 CFR 172.101, and be sure to get the training that DOT requires all “hazmat employees” who are choosing containers or shipping hazardous materials must have.
       
      Would a 1A1/X1.8/300 container be acceptable for shipping? Yes – but it’s important to know why the answer is yes – which addresses part two of your first question (what does the rating really mean?) Each letter and number in this rating has a meaning. (Click here for a more in-depth explanation of UN ratings.) From this grouping of letters and numbers, I know that the container is a steel, tight head drum capable of holding packing groups I, II and III materials with a specific gravity up to 1.8.
       
      I also need to know that steel is compatible with kerosene and that a tight head drum is generally preferable to an open head drum when it comes to shipping liquids, that there are only there packing groups and this is good for all of them, and kerosene has a specific gravity of less than one – all of which allows me to say that yes, this container would be suitable.
       
      2. Lined or Unlined: Lined or unlined. Steel drums can be lined with a lot of different things. The most common is a sprayed-on epoxy lining. This helps prevent corrosion, and is especially useful when a container will be used for a longer period of time with a water-based liquid. Because kerosene is petroleum based and won’t corrode steel like a water-based liquid, lining really isn’t as essential.
       
      3. Vented plugs: Yes, vented plugs are available. In fact, safety drum vents are a best management practice and are required by some fire safety codes to help prevent flammable liquids from building up unsafe pressure. Some designs may vary, but most are designed to remain closed until pressure in the container builds to 3 psi. when this happens, a valve opens automatically to relieve pressure and prevent it from building to unsafe levels.
       
      I hope this hopes to clear things up. Please let us know if you have other questions!
       
      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Stevesays:
    07/04/2015 at 6:32 pm Reply

    Hello Karen, Just wanted to THANK YOU for your quick response and the attention to detail in answering my questions. That also includes the link references that are very much appreciated; O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G response, THANKS AGAIN !!!
    Steve

  • Silversays:
    07/24/2015 at 11:43 pm Reply

    hi, i would like to know the carbon content of your drums ie 0.2% (low carbon)0.8%(high carbon) thanks.
    Silver

    • Brittany Svobodasays:
      07/28/2015 at 8:19 am Reply

      Hi Silver,
       
      Thanks so much for your comment. Carbon steel drums can have up to 15% carbon content – but the actual amount varies. Our steel drums comply with ASTM A1008 Standard Specifications.
       
      If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to leave another comment.
       
      Thanks!

  • Silversays:
    07/28/2015 at 2:37 pm Reply

    Thanks for the quick reply
    and thank you for putting in the grade number as its not 15% but 0.15%
    thank you for your time

  • Umer Iqbalsays:
    08/25/2015 at 12:19 pm Reply

    Need to setup a new factory for 55 Gallon Steel Drum In Qatar… Need Help…

    • Brittany Svobodasays:
      08/27/2015 at 11:35 am Reply

      Dear Umer,

      As a distributor of steel drums, New Pig would not be able to offer expertise on the topic of establishing a factory to produce steel drums. Perhaps the European Association of Steel Drum Manufacturers could help to guide you to an entity with such expertise.

  • Youngstown Barrelsays:
    09/09/2015 at 5:59 pm Reply

    Very Nice !!!

  • Johnsays:
    09/29/2015 at 4:27 pm Reply

    I was told the rating for hydrostatic pressure on a drum or pail had to be 50% greater than the hydrostatic pressure of the material itself to be in compliance, i.e. acetone with a pressure of 100 @ 55C would need a container rated to a hydrostatic pressure of 150. Is this correct? Thanks.

    • Karen Hamelsays:
      10/01/2015 at 12:40 pm Reply

      Hi John,
       
      Thank you for your comment. UN-rated containers that are certified for shipping liquids must be hydrostatically pressure tested, as specified in 49 CFR 178.605. The test involves sealing the container and applying pressure continuously and evenly for five minutes, unless the container is plastic (in which case, the test period is increased to 30 minutes).
      Containers rated for shipping Packing Group I materials must be tested to withstand a minimum pressure of 250 psi. Perhaps the 50 percent that you are thinking of comes from the safety factor of 1.5 that is codified as one of the test methods in 49 CFR 178.605(d):
       

      “The hydraulic pressure (gauge) applied, taken at the top of the receptacle, and determined by any one of the following methods must be:
      (1) Not less than the total gauge pressure measured in the packaging (i.e., the vapor pressure of the filling material and the partial pressure of the air or other inert gas minus 100 kPa (15 psi)) at 55 °C (131 °F), multiplied by a safety factor of 1.5. This total gauge pressure must be determined on the basis of a maximum degree of filling in accordance with § 173.24a(d) of this subchapter and a filling temperature of 15 °C (59 °F);
      (2) Not less than 1.75 times the vapor pressure at 50 °C (122 °F) of the material to be transported minus 100 kPa (15 psi) but with a minimum test pressure of 100 kPa (15 psig); or
      (3) Not less than 1.5 times the vapor pressure at 55 °C (131 °F) of the material to be transported minus 100 kPa (15 psi), but with a minimum test pressure of 100 kPa (15 psig).Packagings intended to contain hazardous materials of Packing Group I must be tested to a minimum test pressure of 250 kPa (36 psig).”

       
      Hope this explanation provides some clarification. If not, feel free to leave another comment and we can dig in further.
       
      Thanks,

  • Johnsays:
    10/02/2015 at 12:06 pm Reply

    Thanks for the explanation, Karen. This must be where the information came from. Most helpful.
    In conclusion then, acetone with a hydrostatic pressure of 100 @ 55C could be placed into a container with a hydrostatic rating of 100.

  • Sarasays:
    11/05/2015 at 11:48 am Reply

    Hello, I am working on an art project and need to know how much weight can be applied to the sides of these barrels. They will be stacked on top of each other to form a triangle. These will be used as a tunnel or obstacle for a dog park and I’m hoping they will withstand about 100-200lbs.

    • Brittanysays:
      11/11/2015 at 8:21 am Reply

      Hi Sara,

      Thanks for your comment. There really isn’t a designated test that simulates a drum or container being smashed into from the sides. UN-rated drums are tested to see if their structural integrity can withstand the rigors of storage and handling. They are also drop tested to see if they can withstand falling without leaking.

      Steel drums, however, have rolling rings, “ribs” on the sidewalls of the drum. These rings add structural integrity and help prevent the drum from denting, collapsing, etc.

      Hope this information helps! If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to reach out again.

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Briansays:
    11/12/2015 at 5:37 pm Reply

    Does the UN rating of a carbon steel drum have anything to do with how resistant they are to the weather or how long they can be stored outdoors? If not is there any standard that states how long a carbon steel drum should be stored outdoors?

    Thank you,
    Brian

    • Brittanysays:
      11/13/2015 at 9:56 am Reply

      Hi Brian!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      The UN rating describes the characteristics of a container and its suitability for storing and transporting different types of hazardous materials. It really isn’t going to tell you how fast a carbon steel drum will corrode if it is stored outdoors.

      Two considerations for drums stored that will be stored outside are moisture and temperature. In general, a drum of something stored outdoors in Arizona will probably last longer than the same drum stored in Michigan because the humidity is lower in Arizona, and the temperature is more constant.

      Most carbon steel drums have painted exteriors to help slow corrosion. Some are even lined with epoxy or other coatings. But, neither of these features will extend a drum’s life indefinitely.

      Moisture in the form of rain, snow or humidity will cause any un-painted carbon steel surface to rust – sometimes in as little as a day. Scratches, dents and chipped paint can all expose the carbon steel, allowing it to corrode. Steel drums stored in coastal areas or near saltwater are especially prone to corrosion – even without scratches, dents or chipped paint. If water-based liquids are stored in the drum, corrosion can actually start from the inside out. Lining the drum can help retard or prevent interior corrosion – but it is still something to keep an eye on.

      Temperature can also affect a drum’s longevity. When a sealed drum is subjected to extreme temperature variations, it will expand and contract. Over time, this stresses the seams and can weaken the container.

      When drums are stored outside, it is best to keep them covered. This can be done by placing them in covered pallets, under tarps or under canopies.

      We hope this answers your question! If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to leave another comment.

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Timsays:
    11/24/2015 at 10:12 am Reply

    Hello. Can you tell me whether a steel drum is required to have metal bung caps/plugs for HAZMAT shipments, or is it acceptable to use plastic? Thank you in advance.

    • Brittanysays:
      11/30/2015 at 9:04 am Reply

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment! When you’re shipping hazardous materials, you need to close the container in accordance with the closure instructions that are provided by the container’s manufacturer. The DOT requires container manufacturers to specify the types of bungs, bolt rings, gaskets, etc. that are required to close the container so that it will meet the performance standards specified in the UN approval [40 CFR 178.2]. Container manufacturers are also required to provide closure instructions to their customers so that they will be able to properly prepare containers for shipment.

      If the container manufacturer specifies plastic caps in their closure instructions, it would be acceptable to use them. If not, only the bung caps specified in the closure instructions would be acceptable for shipping hazardous materials.

      Hope this answers your question! If not, feel free to leave another comment below and we will help you further.

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Nawaf Asays:
    11/24/2015 at 8:52 pm Reply

    I would like to know what thickness should a SS304 tank be if it operates at 50 C and 35 bar? The tank is 20 ft high and 5 ft in total diameter.

    • Brittanysays:
      11/30/2015 at 1:30 pm Reply

      Hello Nawaf,

      The ASME publishes several standards for design and construction of pressure vessels (tanks) that take into account features such as the metal being used, allowable stress, temperature and welds. In addition, the specific gravity of the liquid, it’s chemical properties, corrosion and other safety factors need to be taken into consideration.

      If you’d like a rough estimate, you could use one of the formulas that ASME uses to determine thickness:

      Thickness = (P x Di) / (2ƟE – 0.2P)

      P = design pressure
      Di = internal diameter
      Ɵ = allowable design stress
      E = weld joint factor

      Hope this helps! If you need more information or have another question, do not hesitate to leave another comment.

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Majidsays:
    12/03/2015 at 11:38 pm Reply

    What is the different between Leakproofness Test and Hydrostatic Pressure Test? What are the significance of these 2 tests?

    • Brittanysays:
      12/04/2015 at 2:02 pm Reply

      Hi Majid,

      The Leakproofness test [49 CFR 178.604] is used to verify that the seams, fittings, seals and closures of a container will not leak while a container is in use, storage, handling or shipment. It is only performed on containers that will be certified for shipping liquids. The test involves sealing the container and placing it under water. While the container is under water, a specified amount of air pressure, which varies according to the packing group that the container will be certified for, is applied to the inside of the container for five minutes. If there is no air leakage, the container passes.

      The hydrostatic test [49 CFR 178.605] confirms the amount of pressure a container will withstand. It is only performed on containers that will be certified for shipping liquids. The test is performed by sealing the drum and applying a prescribed amount of continuous and even pressure for a specified amount of time, which varies according to the type of container. If no liquid leaks from any part of the container, it passes.

      Hope this answers your questions! If not, please leave us another comment so we can help you further!

  • Majidsays:
    12/03/2015 at 11:41 pm Reply

    What is the significance of Vibration test? Is vibration one of the reason for fracture of metal drums at bottom/body during transit?

    • Brittanysays:
      12/04/2015 at 3:58 pm Reply

      Hi Majid,

      The vibration test [49 CFR 178.608] simulates conditions that a container will experience during shipment. The test is conducted by filling and closing the container and placing it on a vibrating platform for one hour. After an hour of vibrating and bouncing, the container is placed on its side to look for any evidence of leakage.

      Does this answer your question? If not, please let us know and we will gladly help you further!

      Thanks!

  • Majidsays:
    12/07/2015 at 11:26 pm Reply

    Hi Brittany,
    Thanks for the detail reply.
    I want more clarity on the metal fracture in Drums. Specially at bottom during transit. Is vibration one of the factor for metal drum leakages (crakes observed on bottom of drum)?

    • Brittanysays:
      12/04/2015 at 1:58 pm Reply

      Hi Majid,

      The vibration test is really only designed to test the seams and seals of a container. It’s not really designed to test metal for fracturing.

      Does this info help?

  • Rajesh Hukumsays:
    12/12/2015 at 5:34 am Reply

    I want to know the load bearing capacity of oil & lubricants drum as we stacked oil & lubricant drum’s 4-5 layers in horizontal condition on concrete floor. Please help me out.

    • Brittanysays:
      12/21/2015 at 11:55 am Reply

      Hi Rajesh,

      Industry best practice would be to put the drums in racks, not stack them in layers. Doing this will preventi drums from rolling onto someone, thus increasing safety. It will also allow easier access and will help prevent stress cracks that could cause a drum to fail.

      One of the tests for UN rated containers is a stacking test, but for drums, it is a vertical stack test, not horizontal.

      Does this answer your questions? If not, please leave another comment below!

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Majidsays:
    12/20/2015 at 8:42 pm Reply

    Hi Brittany,
    Thanks for the info. Yes all the info do really helped me.

    Do you what test is done for fracture of metal drum?

    Regards
    Majid

    • Brittanysays:
      12/21/2015 at 11:55 am Reply

      Majid,

      We are happy to help! We are looking into an answer for you about this test. Once I have a response, I will let you know. Stay tuned!

      Thanks,
      Brittany

      • Brittanysays:
        02/15/2016 at 9:00 pm Reply

        Hi Majid,

        It really isn’t a test that specifically tests fracture loads. The tests that a drum goes through to receive UN certification replicates conditions that the drum may experience in transit. Tests include drop test, stacking test, leakproof test (for packages rated for liquids) and hydrostatic pressure test (for packages rated for liquids).

        Hope this info helps!

        Best,
        Brittany

  • Brucesays:
    01/13/2016 at 11:45 am Reply

    We are a distributor of bulk of fish oils that we receive in a 55 gallon Tight Head Steel Drum. We are looking for the required equipment to open the drum, add Vitamin A to the product, mix the product and then reseal the drum. What is required?

    • Brittanysays:
      01/13/2016 at 1:46 pm Reply

      Hi Bruce,

      Because you are dealing with food materials, it would be best to discuss this process with a food safety inspector to verify that sanitation, preservation and other food safety rules are maintained and followed during the process.

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • Irenesays:
    02/15/2016 at 9:12 pm Reply

    Hi,

    When a volatile solvent is shipped in a 55 gallon drum with approximately 3 gallons head space, can temperature fluctuation during shipping create a vapor pressure change sufficient to cause the drum to deform? If so, what would the minimal drop in vapor pressure need to be for the can walls to be sucked in.

    Thank you!

    • Brittanysays:
      02/15/2016 at 9:14 pm Reply

      Hi Irene,

      Thank you for your comment!

      Yes, it is possible for fluctuating temperatures during shipping to create sufficient vapor pressure that can cause the drum to deform. That’s why the shipper is required to take temperature changes into account when selecting their packaging. If a packaging did fail in the manner described it will be seen as a violation of 49 CFR 173.24(b)(2).

      The minimal drop in vapor pressure needed for the walls to be sucked in will vary. The hydrostatic test pressure making (in kPa) on the UN rating tells you how much pressure the container can withstand. A packaging with a higher hydrostatic test pressure is able to withstand greater changes in pressure. The hydrostatic test pressure required for a packaging is determined by the vapor pressure of the material and is explained at 49 CFR 173.24(b)(4). However, this determination is made at specified known temperatures. Temperature changes during transportation must be accounted for by the shipper.

      You’ll need to know the vapor pressure of the liquid at the temperature it could reach during transportation and whatever conditions will apply (e.g. 3 gallons of head space). It is likely these conditions will not be known with precision, but you can reasonably anticipate temperature ranged based on geographical locations and seasons.

      Hope this info helps! If you have any other questions, please leave another comment.

      Thanks,
      Brittany

  • PAULsays:
    03/20/2016 at 8:43 am Reply

    HI THERE, HOW MUCH DOWNWARD WEIGHT CAN A NORMAL 55G DRUM TAKE, WHEN EMPTY, TO USE TO SUPPORT A BOAT?

    • Karensays:
      03/22/2016 at 12:46 pm Reply

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for your comment. The amount of weight that a drum will support depends upon a number of factors. In general, a steel drum will support more weight than a plastic drum, and for the purpose of this discussion, I’m going to discuss steel drums. But, even when you consider only carbon steel drums, there’s no single answer to how much weight “every” drum can support because the gauge of steel that is used, the way the seams are welded, whether it is open or closed head, whether it is in good condition with no dents and whether or not it has rolling rings are all variables that need to be considered.

      First, let’s look at the gauge of steel. The lower the gauge of steel that is used, the stronger (and more expensive) the drum will be. For example, a drum made of 16 gauge steel will be stronger (and cost more) than a drum made of 20 gauge steel. The following chart shows lists the thickness of 16 to 24 gauge carbon steel:


      GAUGE INCHES METRIC THICKNESS
      24 0.0200-0.0260 0.71-0.81 0.6mm
      22 0.0880-0.0320 0.71-0.81 0.8mm
      20 0.0319-0.0370 0.81-0.94 0.9mm
      20 0.0319-0.0370 0.81-0.94 0.9mm
      19 0.0380-0.0420 0.99-1.07 1.0mm
      18 0.0433-0.0480 1.10-1.22 1.2mm
      16 0.0543-0.0590 1.38-1.50 1.5mm


      Drum manufacturers usually list the thickness of the drum on the container. This information is not part of the UN marking, if the container is UN-rated, but may be listed near the UN marking. Look for markings that are all numbers, no letters. There are three parts listed: top/body/bottom. So a drum that lists 1.2/.09/1.2 on it would have a top that is 18 gauge, a body that is 20 gauge and a bottom that is 18 gauge. The lower the gauges on each part that is listed, the stronger the drum.

      Second, consider the type of drum. If the gauge is similar, an open head drum usually won’t be as strong as a tight-head drum. Typically, tight-head drums are used to ship liquids and, therefore, must be stronger (in general) than drums rated for solids. Also, it makes sense that a container with a lid that is permanently attached would be stronger than one with a detachable lid. Look also for a container that has rolling rings (or ribs) on the sidewalls. Most drums have two or three of these. These rings give the container additional strength. A straight-sided container is more likely to fail/collapse than one with rings, and will be much more likely to fail when you put weight on top of it.

      Third, think about overall structural integrity. When a drum is tested for UN-certification, it goes through a number of tests. One of the tests is a stacking test. A general rule of thumb is that steel drums can be stacked three-high (unless you’re stacking flammable liquids, then NFPA 30 states that you may only stack them two high.) Another general rule of thumb is that a steel drum can usually hold about 400 pounds. So a three-high stack would weigh about 1200 pounds. So, a carbon steel drum, in good condition with a sufficient gauge should be able to support roughly this amount of weight… but be sure to consider all of the variables at play if you plan on doing this.

      Hope this info helps, Paul. If you have any other questions, please leave another comment.

      Happy sailing!

      -Karen

  • Daniel szokarsays:
    03/21/2016 at 10:34 pm Reply

    What are the 2 flaring rings around the barrel called and there purpose?

    • Karensays:
      03/22/2016 at 12:25 pm Reply

      Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for your comment. The rings on the sidewalls of a drum are called “rolling rings.” Some people also call them “ribs.” They provide structural integrity to the drum and protect the sidewalls when the drum is rolled on its side.

      Hope this info helps! If you have any other questions, please leave another comment.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • AJsays:
    05/10/2016 at 12:52 pm Reply

    I’d just like to say that this is the most informative comment string that I’ve read in a long time. Great questions and wonderfully detailed answers. Good Show, Karen.

    • Karensays:
      05/10/2016 at 1:03 pm Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, AJ!

      -Karen

  • Heemansays:
    07/22/2016 at 5:03 pm Reply

    Hello,
    I am looking for some steel drums that were sent to me with heavy hex nuts in them.
    They were shipped from a factory that produces the nuts.

    These were open top drums.
    About 11″ diameter and 19.5″ – 23″ tall.
    I believe they can hold about 25 liters.

    Is there a certain name for these drums or kegs as I have not been able to find any manufactures on line but I see that many heavy hex nut manufactures use them to store and ship heavy hex nuts.

    • Brittanysays:
      07/25/2016 at 3:52 pm Reply

      Hi there,

      Do you have a UN rating on the side of the steel drum? This will tell us what the weight rating of the of the drum. Here’s a post that shows what a UN rating looks like: https://www.newpig.com/expertadvice/cracking-the-code-explaining-un-ratings/

      What we can then do is match the UN rating as closely as possible to ensure the drum can handle the weight of the nuts and bolts and won’t open during transit.

      Please let us know if you have any questions!

      Thanks,
      Brittany

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