Facility upkeep is an important long-term strategy for increasing the
service life of plant structures and equipment. Deterioration of structures through corrosion and lost efficiency through scale buildup are
normal processes that happen over time. These natural mechanisms
accelerate in certain conditions such as high humidity, high temperatures, or the presence of corrosive gases. If left untreated, corrosion
and scale can impact the performance of critical equipment and shorten
the service life of facility assets. To avoid these problems, minimize
downtime, and maximize facility lifetime, it is helpful to take simple
preventive steps that are sometimes overlooked.
Minimizing Replacement and Downtime of Electricals-
Facilities rely on hundreds to thousands of electrical control panels,
control boxes, and wire-ways to keep operations running smoothly.
Corroded electrical contacts could result in failure and downtime and
require extra labor to repair or replace. Corrosion protection minimiz-
es these interruptions and costs and is easy to achieve with the use of
vapor phase corrosion inhibitor technology.
This technology comes in many forms, including VpCI emitters. These
are small self-stick cups that emit corrosion inhibiting vapors through
a breathable lid. When placed inside an enclosure such as an electrical
cabinet, the inhibitor vapors diffuse to fill the enclosed space, then
condense and form a protective molecular layer on all metal surfaces
inside the area. The layer protects multiple metals from corrosion and
does not interfere with electrical performance.
To maximize protection of electricals, a Corrosorber cup, similar in ap-
pearance to a VpCI emitter, can also be placed in electrical equipment.
The Corrosorber contains a material that absorbs corrosive gases such
as hydrogen sulfide and volatile mercaptans, so that they are not free
to damage metals. As the corrosive gases are absorbed and trapped, the
material inside the Corrosorber changes color from off-white to black
to indicate that it is spent.
Another helpful strategy for minimizing corrosion on electronics and
electricals is to spray a thin film coating on circuit boards, electrical
contacts, motors, generators, and junction boxes using a VpCI electron-
ics cleaner such as ElectriCorr VpCI-238 or VpCI-239. This creates an
extremely thin film that protects metal surfaces directly in contact with
it. It also adds a degree of vapor protection to protect surfaces that may
have been missed by the spray.
Maximizing Protection and Efficiency of Process Water
Industrial plants often include boilers and other closed loop heating
and cooling systems that can benefit from corrosion inhibitor/scale
removal maintenance. Scale and oxide build-up inside water systems,
heat-exchangers, cooling towers, and pipes reduce system efficiency
and obstruct water flow. This can be addressed with an eco-friendly
treatment such as EcoClean Biodegradable Scale and Rust Remover, a
USDA Certified Biobased Product that can be thrown in water-soluble
pouch form into portions of the system affected with scale buildup.
As the product circulates, it works to remove scale and rust even from
hard-to-reach areas, while protecting the freshly exposed metal against
flash rust. The overall benefits are improved process water flow and
enhanced system efficiency.
For long-term protection of process water systems during facility
operation, vapor phase corrosion inhibitor additives can be added to the
systems in low doses at very low or no toxicity. In addition to protecting surfaces in contact with the treated process water, the vapor phase
action of the inhibitors provides protection to metal surfaces above
the water level where traditional contact inhibitors cannot reach. If for
some reason the system needs to be drained for temporary layup (e.g.,
seasonal changes), an additive such as VpCI-649 can be circulated
through the system and drained, leaving residual protection and allowing easy disposal because of the absence of nitrites, phosphates, chromates, and heavy metals. Heat system boilers laid up for the summer
can be more easily and effectively treated with vapor phase corrosion
inhibitors because the inhibitors do not need to be directly applied to
all surfaces, and because they can be left inside and circulated when the
system is restarted.
Minimizing Labor on Coatings Application
Coatings application is a must for the many metal surfaces inside an
industry facility. Metal stairways, tanks, and miles of piping all need
protection and stand to benefit from coatings enhanced with organic
corrosion inhibitors. VpCI coatings protect with a thin molecular layer
that lines micro-cavities in the metal surface, unlike traditional sacrificial metal corrosion inhibitor coatings that rely on zincs or chromates.
Due to their large particle size, these heavy metals leave gaps that can
allow the start of micro-corrosion, eventually leading to coating failure.
VpCI coatings discourage the spread of corrosion and achieve protection at a lower dry film thickness, requiring the purchase of fewer
materials and reducing labor.
Good surface preparation and use of a two-coat system are still import-
ant keys to ensuring the best performance of a coating. This is often a
challenge on rusty surfaces. A common solution is sand-blasting, which
is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and not always feasible. An excel-
lent alternative is to remove loose rust from the metal surface, and then
to apply CorrVerter, an environmentally-friendly water-based primer
that converts rust into a hydrophobic passive layer. A VpCI topcoat can
be subsequently applied at a low dry film thickness, making the whole
process easier and less labor-intensive.
to Reduce Facility Corrosion
Taking Simple Steps
Figure 1: Self-stick VpCI-111 Emitters are a practical strategy for
protecting electrical equipment from corrosion.
Image Credit: Cortec Corporation.