Corrosion is a word used to describe a process that causes materials, primarily metals, to deteriorate over time as a result of chemical and/or electrochemical reactions with their surroundings.
Corrosion is a damaging phenomenon that results in significant financial losses, as well as deteriorating the appearance of metals and, in certain cases, causing equipment failure.
Corrosion can take many forms depending on the environment to which the metal is exposed, including air corrosion, water or soil-induced corrosion, and high-temperature corrosion.
Due to the omnipresence of air in the environment, metal surfaces are primarily affected by atmospheric corrosion during packaging, storage, and transportation.
This results in significant financial losses as well as a decrease in the metal’s aesthetic appeal. Sulfur dioxide (SO2), chlorine (Cl2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2), and ozone (O3), all of which are prevalent in the atmosphere, trigger electrochemical reactions on metal surfaces and hence cause corrosion.
Corrosion can be prevented by altering the metal’s composition, isolating it from the corrosive environment, or altering the environment. Separation of metal from the corrosive environment is the most cost-effective solution when the goal is to prevent atmospheric corrosion.
This can be accomplished using one of two methods: permanent protection strategies or temporary protection approaches.
Permanent treatments include alloys, metallic coatings, plating, permanent coatings, cathodic protection, and anodic protection, whereas temporary techniques include waxes, oils, greases, volatile corrosion inhibitors, and moisture-absorbing desiccants.
The use of volatile corrosion inhibitor coatings is the most effective and cost-effective method of preventing atmospheric corrosion.
What are Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors
Volatile corrosion inhibitors (VCI) are chemicals that are added to packaging materials to prevent corrosion. Special chemicals are used in this sort of packaging, which are scientifically developed to release rust-inhibiting molecules.
These molecules bind themselves to the metal’s surface. These tiny rust-fighting molecules produce an impenetrable protective layer that keeps the metal from corroding.
VCI’s core premise is to protect metal parts during production, shipping, and storage while minimising residual contamination on the shielded metal surface.
This type of preservation has allowed packaged things to be used right away without the time-consuming procedures generally connected with removing oil or grease preservatives before putting stored or packaged equipment into use.
In many circumstances, the expense of packing is outweighed by the savings in man-hours gained from equipment reactivation. This approach may be used to protect complicated metallic assemblies, such as electronic equipment.
VCI is advantageous because it is compatible with other corrosion prevention techniques such as cathodic protection, and when used together, it reduces the corrosion rate of metals such as steel, zinc, mild steel, and aluminium while also reducing the amount of electric power required for cathodic protection.
According to Reports and Data, the volatile corrosion inhibitors packaging market is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years.
Types Of VCI Protective Packaging
Both sides of VCI paper are treated with safe, water-based rust preventatives. This kraft paper wraps around metal items to keep them protected from corrosion over time. VCI is extensively used in the automotive sector to manufacture all metal parts.
The volatile corrosion inhibitors are injected into the poly material in poly bags and stretch wrap. Barrier packaging and anti-corrosion protection are combined in these films.
VCI emitters have good absorption in difficult-to-reach regions. Emitters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including pouches, tablets, foams, and corrosion-resistant paper. They’re excellent for preventing corrosion in electrical boxes, export containers, and other places where packing isn’t feasible.
VCI Packaging Materials Advantages
The use of VCI coatings to prevent atmospheric corrosion is advantageous since it does not require the use of lubricants, which require additional time and money to remove before using coated metal.
Furthermore, removing the protective oil coatings necessitates the use of organic solvent- or water-based detergents, the disposal of which is problematic and in violation of environmental standards.
The vapour diffusing capabilities of these corrosion inhibiting formulations provide a significant advantage over traditional inhibitor coatings, as traces of these gas molecules permeate into inaccessible fissures, gaps, and slots, reaching the surfaces of difficult-to-coat complex-shaped products.
They are adsorbed onto the metal’s surface, forming a corrosion-inhibiting protective coating only a few molecules thick.
VCI products may additionally contain acid gas-absorbing compounds in the packing material to act as a barrier and provide further protection for the metal content. The scavenging chemicals react with the polluted air that may pass through the VCI material and neutralise it.
The majority of the inhibitors are organic salts that condense on the metal to protect it from corrosion. Moisture and other environmental elements (such as oxygen) are prevented from reacting with the metal surface, creating corrosion and rust.
When the cage is opened, the molecules evaporate and do not need to be removed. Some of the advantages of VCI packaging include:
1. Packaging performance can be improved while corrosion and packaging expenses are minimised.
2. Most VCI packages are simple to use and easy to install
3. VCI packaging goods can be customised to fit the dimensions of metal objects, conserving space and making handling easier.
4. VCI packaging films, bags, and papers are mostly non-toxic, recyclable, and reduce corrosion waste.
5. Because metals have varying sizes, shapes, and weights, they require different types of corrosion protection.
6. VCI packaging provides extensive protection for metal parts and components during shipping and storage, not only against corrosion but also against mechanical impacts.
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7. The shelf life of VCI is five years. Corrosion protection is provided for components in storage for up to five years.