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How are shipping containers are constructed? We get this question a lot. Our typical answer is "solid" or "heavy duty". However, if you want more details, here's what we've researched.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of materials used in the construction of roofs and walls for shipping containers.
The floor is generally made of wood, usually planking or plywood. The standard thickness for international shipping containers is 1 1/8" thick. Although wood is relatively expensive, it has substantial advantages over other materials; it is strong and resilient, does not dent, and may be easily replaced during repairs. Underneath the floor, there are steel cross members that increase the strength even more... enough so that you can put up to 28,000 kg in a single 20' container.
Because of the long-term exposure to the marine elements, containers are manufactured with some amazing paint. The bare steel container surface is primed with a zinc rich primer and once dried a final top coat of marine paint is applied. This marine paint usually contains zinc phosphate and is based on acrylic resin and non-chlorinated plasticizer.
The corner post is the steel corner supports of a container which bears all of the weight when containers are stacked. ISO Standards state that the corner posts of an ISO Series 1 containers should be tested to a load of 86,400 kg. This is the load applied to the posts of the bottom container in an eight-on-one stack. That's pretty incredible!
Thinking about a shipping container based structure? Check out our field tested solutions.
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