Corrosion is a constant threat to products in the industrial sector, making it crucial to find new and effective ways of protection. Industrial packaging is an essential part of the protection chain, ensuring that goods remain intact during transport and storage.
To fully appreciate the importance of packaging in corrosion protection, it is important to understand what corrosion is, how it occurs, and the role of volatile corrosion inhibitor or VCI in this process.
What is corrosion
Corrosion is a process that causes the deterioration of materials through an electrochemical reaction when exposed to environmental elements.
It is a natural and spontaneous process, a chemical reaction involving three factors: the affected material, the environment and water. The rate of corrosion depends on ambient temperature and salinity of the agents with which the material comes into contact.
Metals are the most commonly affected materials, but not exclusively. There is a difference between corrosion and oxidation, where the former is a type of oxidation that can lead to rust formation. All alloys are susceptible to corrosion, but those containing ferrous metals, such as iron, will rust.
Metals typically undergo oxidation in the presence of water and moisture, resulting in the formation of a layer of rust or corrosion on iron and steel surfaces. However, corrosion can occur when metals are exposed to air and chemicals, leading to the formation of metal oxides or salts.
Other terms used are white rust on galvanised steel, green patina, tarnish, pitting, flaking and peeling.
Types of corrosion protection
An estimate of five tonnes of steel are dissolved worldwide every few seconds due to corrosion. In packaging there are two types of corrosion protection that can be used to prevent rust formation and combat corrosion.
Active or chemical protection
Active protection modifies physical processes to fight corrosion. The most significant example is the creation of a VCI protective atmosphere. VCI is a volatile corrosion inhibitor that works by creating a protective atmosphere around the metal surface, preventing corrosion.
Passive or physical protection
Passive protection fights corrosion by creating physical barriers against moisture. Several methods can be used.
- Plastic containers and with the use of desiccant bags
- Barrier packaging (aluminium complexes)
- Vacuum packaging
How VCI packaging works
Products with the VCI anticorrosion treatment offer protection against corrosion and rust formation by creating a physical barrier and generating a protective atmosphere.
The packaging material creates a protective physical barrier against external dirt and abrasion, and helps to block corrosive contaminating gases, such as sulphur dioxide or hydrogen sulphide, and acids from the outside. This prevents these gases from coming into contact with the metal surface.
VCI generates a protective atmosphere by condensing around the metal surface and creating a thin film of crystals that dissolve when exposed to moisture or acids. This film creates a protective barrier that prevents corrosion from the inside of the packaging.
How does VCI work
VCI products are chemical compounds that are volatile in nature. When a metal part or machine is placed in an anticorrosion packaging treated with VCI, an enclosed space is created. The VCI vapour released creates a protective atmosphere.
The inhibition process starts when the vapour comes in contact with the metal surface and condenses, forming a thin layer of crystals that are only three to five molecules thick.
In the presence of even the slightest moisture or acids, the crystals dissolve and create a protective film on the metal surface that prevents corrosion.
When the metal parts are removed from the anticorrosion packaging, the protective barrier starts to evaporate right away. The parts are left clean, free of corrosion, and ready to use. The VCI treatment does not leave any residue, is environmentally friendly, and safe for health in the workplace.
Anticorrosion packaging of Inviker
Inviker offers VCI treated papers, plastics, and compounds using innovative technologies in the metalworking industry. These products are nitrite-free and tested by accredited laboratories.
Inviker offers a wide range of corrosion protection products, and choosing the right packaging depends on the material properties, conditions to which it will be subjected and processes it will undergo.
In conclusion, corrosion is a significant threat to the industrial sector, making it crucial to find effective ways to combat it. VCI corrosion protection is an effective solution that creates a physical barrier and protective atmosphere to prevent corrosion and rust formation. By selecting the right packaging for your products, you can ensure their protection during storage and transport.
For expert advice on selecting the most suitable packaging, don’t hesitate to contact us.