Frequently Asked Questions
What is VCI?
VCI is an acronym for Volatile Corrosion Inhibitor. VCI chemicals are a class of corrosion inhibiting compounds, which have sufficient vapor pressure to release molecules from the compound into the air. Armor Protective Packaging® VCI products are packaging products, which contain ARMOR’s proprietary VCI Nanotechnology™ chemicals directly in the packaging. Our packaging products include papers, films, foams, nettings, chipboards and many other packaging components, which safely prevent corrosion on protected metals without the need for messy grease, oils, protective coatings or other ineffective methods.
How does VCI work?
Corrosion begins when an electrolyte (water, oxygen, humidity) is present on the surface of a metal. When this happens, electrons then flow from high-energy areas of the metal to low energy areas in a loop, through the electrolyte. The corrosion process results in the formation of oxidation on the metal surface. ARMOR VCI Nanotechnology™ retards this reaction by passivating the surface and inhibiting or depressing the electro-chemical mechanism that triggers oxidation, i.e. the current flow from anode to cathode. Electrical current attempts to flow from the anode through the electrolyte into the cathode but cannot, because of the VCI’s presence. VCI molecules attach themselves to a metal surface to form an invisible, thin film, possibly only a few molecules or even one molecule thick, to protect metal from attack. ARMOR VCI products can work for several years to prevent corrosion from occurring on the metal surface.
How long does VCI protect a product?
When using ARMOR VCI products properly, protection will last for years. ARMOR offers a range of VCI products to protect a variety of metals for specific packaging requirements. Typical protection periods of a normal 1010 steel panel wrapped properly in ARMOR WRAP® VCI paper can remain protected for over two years.
What causes corrosion?
Corrosion is the natural mechanism by which metal returns to its original state of ore. Corrosion of metal is an electro-chemical process. The flow of electrons from high-energy areas of metal to low energy areas through a solution on the surface of the metal, capable of supporting corrosion. Corrosion will not take place without a conducting solution. The solution is called an electrolyte, caused by water, rain, moisture, and humidity. As little as 65% relative humidity will form an electrolyte, which can cause corrosion.
Which is a better rust inhibitor, VCI Paper or VCI Poly?
From strictly a corrosion inhibitor standpoint, paper has been a better inhibitor of rust due to the way that the VCI is impregnated into the paper, and is released into the air and onto the product. VCI papers have been in existence for over 50 years, first adopted by the United States Military. VCI because of paper characteristics is able to protect a part quicker coming off of a paper, than it is off of polyethylene. This is not to say that VCI poly is not an excellent product or that it does not have its place. However, from a pure rust inhibitor issue, paper has proven over the long haul to be slightly more effective.
What advantages/disadvantages does VCI Poly have over traditional VCI methods?
VCI Poly has several advantages as a corrosion inhibiting packaging medium. The three main advantages are:
Provides moisture barrier in addition to a corrosion inhibitor
Offers ease of usage by simply placing a product into a treated ARMOR POLY® VCI bag
Often a customer is already using a poly bag for moisture, dust and containment reasons and an ARMOR POLY® VCI bag can give them these same benefits with the addition of corrosion inhibiting protection. Disadvantages of VCI poly are that from a purely corrosion inhibiting standpoint, paper has a slight edge in overall protection. However, this is slight and usually the advantages will weigh more favorably over the disadvantages.
How does VCI compare to desiccants in preventing corrosion?
VCI products and desiccants work in a completely different way. ARMOR’s proprietary VCI Nanotechnology™ prevents corrosion by an electro-chemical process that forms a thin molecular layer of protection on a metal surface. This layer of protection is microscopic and does not alter the metal in any way, nor require removal of the VCI after being removed from the package. A desiccant is simply a moisture absorber. Desiccants absorb moisture but do not satisfactorily protect a metal surface from other electrolytes that cause corrosion such as oxygen. In fact, if a desiccant packet absorbs moisture as it should, it can actually cause rust wherever a metal part touches the desiccant packet. Our recommendation is that in most applications, if a customer uses a desiccant packet, that it be placed in an area that will not touch the parts.
Can only one type of VCI work on all metals?
Diverse needs call for diverse solutions. That is why ARMOR offers over 12 types of ARMOR WRAP® papers to choose from for your specific VCI needs. Some VCI manufacturers incorrectly claim that a single formulation will protect everything from steel to copper, others are vague or cannot tell you how much VCI is actually in the product. The fact is no single VCI formulation for paper can provide true corrosion-free protection for all metals and applications.
Why is a compatibility test recommended?
Due to the abundance of metals available, as well as the numerous coolants, washes, rust preventative oils and other substances used within a manufacturing process, it is important to check VCI compatibility with these substances ARMOR VCI products rarely react with any of these elements, occasionally there may be factors that either react adversely with a particular VCI formula or react to diminish the VCI performance.
Why does ARMOR Protective Packaging offer so many VCI formulations and products?
Metals are composed of many different elements. Due to the vast differences in metal composition, one cannot attempt to protect varying metals with one formulation without a sacrifice in performance, or worse yet, failure. That is why ARMOR offers over 12 types of ARMOR WRAP® papers to choose from for your specific metal needs.
Why is it important for workers to wear gloves when handling metal parts?
It is extremely important that all workers wear gloves to protect not only their hands but also to eliminate acidity and moisture from transferring onto the part. This is a very real and legitimate problem in many manufacturing facilities. A person’s hands have moisture and acidity that is directly transferred onto metal. This transfer of moisture and acidity will lead to corrosion at some point. In conditions of more severe temperature and/or humidity the problem arises much quicker. In situations where a metal part is more susceptible to rust due to machined surfaces, metal composition or the like, the problem is exponentially greater.
Does ARMOR offer accelerated corrosion testing?
Armor Protective Packaging® offers full-service, in-house, accelerated corrosion testing at NO CHARGE to its customers. We have two distinct methods to subject parts to accelerated conditions including a 100% humidity chamber and the traditional method of ovens with humidity features.
What are the advantages of ARMOR VCI Packaging?
Cost effective protection
VCI vapors replenish inside contained package
Easy to apply
No grease, messy oils, surface preparation
No need to remove VCI protection before using or welding product
Vapors penetrate recessed, inaccessible areas
Provides up to 2 years of corrosion protection
What is the shelf life of ARMOR VCI products?
Armor Protective Packaging® corrosion management products provide approximately three years of protection for metal parts and surfaces when used properly in normal warehouse conditions. To ensure successful results, parts must be completely wrapped or enclosed – airtight packaging is the most effective for best results and longest protection time. Variable conditions such as temperature and humidity extremes, airflow, production and process methods, surface conditions of metal to be protected, customer employee training and other factors are impossible for ARMOR to control so it is impossible to guarantee a specific length of protection. Contact your ARMOR representative for details related to your specific application.
Can ARMOR VCI packaging be re-used?
ARMOR VCI packaging, such as ARMOR WRAP® paper, ARMOR POLY® film and ARMOR SHIELD® products, is reusable, provided it is stored properly, it is not exposed to any extreme environmental conditions and that it is in good condition. For a full list of proper storage recommendations, contact ARMOR’s Customer Service at (800) 365-1117.
Where can I learn more about the technical aspects of Armor products?
You can go to the Technical section of the Armor official website to learn more about the products.
How can I purchase ARMOR VCI Products?
ARMOR VCI is sold through industrial packaging distributors. For an authorized ARMOR distributor nearest you, please contact Armor Protective Packaging® by phone, (02)633-7510 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.