Drums are the most common type of containers that are used to store any kind of materials in bulk.  They are also the favorite of the transporters for using then to transport the bulk shipment. The main reason, which makes them favorite, is their cylindrical round shape that not only stores multiple kinds of stuff but is also easy to roll and move without causing much damage to the materials stored inside.

Understanding the basic structure of a drum

It is a universal fact that a drum is cylindrical while its other factors might vary which includes its size, structure and built. On a structural level, drums can be divided into two broad categories:

  • Open top: It is the most common form of the cylindrical drum that we encounter on an almost daily basis
  • Welded top: It is also known by another name of the barrel. Since barrels usually store liquids; a tap is attached to it to seek out the contents.

In today’s world, especially in the United States, drums and barrels are used interchangeably and they essentially mean the same.

Another structural element that is unique to drums is the presence of rims or chimes usually at the bottom and sometimes on the top as well. These rims in drums are also known as chines. Tipping of drums becomes quite easy with the aid of these chines, which can hold the drum at certain angles some certain time.

Most of the metal drums have their surfaces ribbed as well as providing extra support and strength to the structure. These elements help in rolling the drum thus making its movement easy without damaging the inner contents.

The next important feature of a drum’s structure is the materials. The most common materials that are used to make drums are:

  • Metals, usually steel
  • Plastic
  • The paperboard of dense quality commonly termed as fiber drum
  • Wood generally used to make traditional barrels

While metal and wooden drums have ribbed ridges on their surface, plastic and paper one do not have them. The reason these material types do have those ridges is that they are manufactured in such a way which does not allow to have the ribbed structures. Nevertheless, plastic or paper drums function as efficiently as their metal or wooden counterparts do.

Drum Size as per International Standards

The most commonly used drum that serves, as a kind of international measure is the 200-liter, (55 gallons in the US and 44 gallons in the UK) drum. It measures about 57.2 cm (22.5 inches) in diameter with a length of 85.1 cm (33.5 inches). Even though it can hold up to a capacity of 218 liters, it is normally used for 200 liters only.

There are specific other drums for carrying petroleum products or chemicals, given their hazardous nature. These drums are specialized with standardized bungholes to prevent spilling. The dimensions vary for such drums and are dependent on the materials.

Some of the best drum dimensions are available at 55 Gallon Drum Dimensions.