Corrosion protection for the electronics industry

Corrosion protection for the electronics industry

There have been several studies that attempt to quantify the cost of corrosion. In 2002, NACE International came out with a study that estimated that corrosion was costing the US 276 billion dollars per year. The industries where corrosion had the biggest impact was

  • Drinking Water and Sewer Systems
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Defense
  • Bridges and Highways

In terms of impact, electronics was merely a blip on the radar screen. Does the fact that corrosion cost estimates are so low for electronics compared with other industries mean that electronics are not susceptible to corrosion, or that electronics have better designs that inhibit corrosion? The answer is no: electronic components are highly susceptible to corrosion. Materials such as copper, tin, aluminum and silver all are susceptible to corrosion. It takes very little corrosion to impact some of the micro-miniature devices that are used in electronic applications. So why wouldn’t electronics be one of the major industries impacted by corrosion?

The following are some possible reasons:

  • Overall human impact: When your car doesn’t start, you have a major problem on your hands. The disruptive impact on your life is significant. An electronic game or television set going out may be an irritation, but for most people, it doesn’t keep you from going to work, visiting places or buying groceries.
  • Designed Life: Most people expect their new car to be trouble-free for years. The average vehicle age is slightly over 10 years. A smart phone is obsolete in 2 years. Most consumers get free smart phones by renewing their data service plans. Most electronic games are used for a few months then forgotten after putting on a shelf.
  • Environment: Many of the products that are classified in electronics industry are primarily used in ambient conditions. Portable devices such as smart phones or tablets are certainly being exposed to the elements more than say a desktop computer, but most people are not leaving there smart phone out in their driveway overnight.
  • Category Classification: There are many failures that occur in automotive or the defense industry that are actually electronics. While consumer electronics may have mild environmental requirements or aren’t expected to last that long, there are many electronic devices that go into motor vehicles, aircraft, military weapons, medical devices and industrial equipment that have severe environmental demands and are expected to last forever.

What is the best technology for protecting electronic devices from corrosion? The answer is VpCI. VpCI is vapor phase corrosion inhibitor and it is the best way to protect delicate electronics. Many coatings or wraps are difficult to apply, and may actually degrade the electronic components that they are trying to protect.

How does VpCI work?

VpCI is vapor phase corrosion inhibitor made by Cortec, the process works as follows: VpCI molecules disperse into air by vapor pressure. As the molecules saturate an area, they come into contact with metal surfaces where the molecules break down and ionically bond to the metal. The bond forms a corrosion resistant surface; it does not alter the metal or effect the flow of electrons in anyway. Because the VpCI molecules disperse freely into the air, virtually every metal area in the vicinity will come into contact with the molecules. With VpCI there is no need for labor intensive coating or subsequent cleaning.

VpCI comes in a variety of Cortec products used for electronics:

Emitters: 105/111 Emitters are devices that can be attached inside a control panel or case and continuously dispense VpCI into the air. They protect up to 5 or 11 cubic feet respectively.

  • Foam Sheets: Impregnated foam sheets not only cushion the product but continuously saturate the local air with VpCI
  • Pouches: Cor-pak breathable pouches can be used in packages the same way desiccant bags are used; the difference is that Cor-Pak provides both desiccant and VpCI action.
  • Kraft Paper: Cortec VpCI 146 is impregnated paper that can be used as layers or wraps.
  • Bio degradable film: VpCI 126 blue is the world’s only biodegradable anti-corrosion film.
  • Woven Polyethylene bags: Cor-Pak EcoWeave is so durable that it can be reused.
  • Packing Pads: Cortec BioPad provides an eco-friendly and sustainable packaging option for corrosion inhibition. BioPad provides up to two times as much corrosion inhibiting action as related foam products.


Cortec products can be used to protect electronic devices during the fabrication phase, shipping phase and during field use or extended storage. For more information on Cortec protection for electronics products, please contact Packnet or view the corrosion section of our website.

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