What Is VCI Really for and How Does It Work?

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Volatile corrosion inhibitor, also referred to as VCI, is a material meant to avoid corrosion, amongst a wide variety of different types of corrosion inhibitors used to protect ferrous materials and non-ferrous metals from corrosion and oxidation. VCI releases chemical compounds slowly and steadily within a sealed airspace, which actively avoid surface corrosion of certain materials. (Related topics: protective packagingVCI paper)

Some VCIs can be applied directly to the material that’s meant to be protected, and a typical application can prevent stored tools or parts inside bags, boxes or cupboards from corrosion. However, VCI paper, VCI bags and other VCI packaging offer the advantage of maintaining and recovering the inhibition levels even if the container is opened and re-closed.

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But why do you need VCI protection? Well, if you are working with metallic materials or products (ferrous and non-ferrous), VCI is necessary for preventing corrosion. They work thanks to its corrosion inhibiting chemicals, which have proven to be extremely effective when it comes to preserving the integrity of metallic products and materials.

Of course, this effectiveness depends a lot on the ratio of chemicals in the formulation, the amount of VCI on the paper or in the film, the PH of the finished product, the water solubility and the effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitor in the presence of moisture and high humidity.

As a carrier for the VCI agent, natural neutral kraft paper and polyethylene film can be used. However, the overall design of the packaging and the conditions during the packing, shipping and storing processes also play an important role in how effective the VCI actually is.

Other factors to keep in mind include:

– The type of metal you want to protect.

– The length of the protection required.

– If the product will be transported domestically or overseas.

– The climate conditions.

– The value of the product.

– The size and weight of the product.

– The packaging requirements for that specific product.

– If the handling will be automatic or manual.

– The chemical or oil residue on the metal.

– The processing and cleaning methods.

– The location of the packing station in relation to other processes.

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