Corrosion & Metals: The Bully & The Victim
Science can be confusing. There’s an endless set of laws and theories involved, numbers to remember and chemical reactions to observe. Unfortunately, CORROSION is a scientific process. It plagues nearly all industries, destroys items of value and causes headaches, stress and financial losses.
CORROSION is the enemy!
If you’re not a scientist, but want a fuller understanding of this persistent enemy, then this article is for you!
I’m going to break down corrosion and various methods of corrosion protection with a traditional analogy:
A Bully, his Victim and an Interloper.
NOTE: By no means do we mean to make light of bullying or its devastating effects. We feel that this analogy provides a simplistic way to comprehend corrosion. If you or someone you know is being bullied, visit www.stopbullying.gov/resources for more info on how to properly deal with the situation)
The Corresponding Roles
We’ve talked at length about the causes of corrosion. Put simply, the most common causes of corrosion are:
- Corrosive Gases (Sulfuric Gases)
You can picture these elements as the bully in this analogy, picking on his victim (ferrous and non-ferrous metals).
The metals that degrade by way of corrosion are the bully’s victims:
- Ferrous Metals
- Non-Ferrous Metals
Whether the influence is rapid and immediate or drawn out over time doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the bully’s effects on the victim are drastic.
The form of corrosion protection used to protect metals can be thought of as the interloper:
- Conversion Coatings
- Volatile Corrosion Protection
- Intercept Technology
These are the third parties who stand in-between the bully and his victim in an attempt to stop the caustic process.
A common method of corrosion protection is galvanization. We’ve mentioned it before. Galvanization is a process in which a ferrous or non-ferrous metal is coated with zinc.
The zinc acts as a sacrificial anode by way of giving up its electrons and corroding in place of the metal it’s coated on. It takes the bully head-on.
In this sense, Galvanization stands up to the bully for a period of time. While at first it defends the bully’s victim (the ferrous/non-ferrous metal), eventually the bully’s influence is too much for the interloper to take.
As the bully’s caustic behavior is directed towards galvanization, it wears him down. Over time the galvanization interloper surrenders, throwing in the towel and leaving the victim completely exposed to the bully’s onslaught.
Conversion coatings are chemical and electro-chemical process in which a metal’s surface is converted into a derivative that’s more suited for corrosion inhibition.
In this analogy, a conversion coating is an interloper who attempts to train the victim how to defend himself. He gives him defense tactics, informing him of what to do when faced with the bully.
Conversion coatings are ineffective though for a few reasons. First and foremost, conversion coatings DO NOT WORK ON NON-FERROUS METALS. That’s an entire class of metals that conversion coatings cannot defend.
Second, conversion coatings wear away quickly when faced with friction.
This means that over the course of time, the conversion coating’s attempts at teaching the victim how to defend himself will be in vain. The persisting bully will overcome the victim’s new defense strategies and continue to affect him.
Volatile Corrosion Protection
Volatile Corrosion Protection incorporates any compound-releasing storage materials that attempt to stop the corrosion and oxidation of ferrous & non-ferrous metals.
They emit a vapor when stored in packaging, coating the metal inside and forming a barrier. While VCP’s claim to protect metals from corrosion, in reality they compromise metals’ integrity.
In our analogy, the VCP interloper initially defends the victim, following him everywhere he goes. Anytime the bully strikes, the VCP interloper is there to defend him.
However, over the course of time, the interloper begins to “smother” our victim. His ongoing presence becomes just as much as a negative effect on the victim as the bully’s torments!
This is because VCP’s contain volatiles. The compounds released by VCP’s are oily, ineffective at preventing corrosion and their ingredients are mostly unknown. As a matter of fact, other countries have banned the use of VCP’s due to the volatile chemicals they contain.
In effect, our VCP interloper eventually turns around and starts picking on the victim along with the bully himself!
The VCP and the bully spread their influence from our one defenseless victim to the ENTIRE PLAYGROUND of students, subjugating them to caustic and unhealthy behavior.
Intercept Technology, the protective material used in all of PreservAll’s preservation bags, surrounds metals with a blend of copper and plastic in order to protect them from corrosion.
Copper is naturally un-reactive, which means it doesn’t undergo drastic chemical or structural changes when in contact with other elements. By making alterations to its atomic structure, the copper used in Intercept Technology becomes more reactive. Increased reactivity means that all forms of corrosion – gases, moisture, etc. – are drawn towards the Intercept material.
Intercept Technology acts as a sacrificial anode by taking on corrosives. The essential difference between Intercept Technology and the other forms of corrosion protection listed in this article is that Intercept neutralizes corrosives.
In our analogy, Intercept packaging is an interloper that solves the victim’s bully problem. Standing in place of the victim, it takes on the bully’s caustic behavior, counteracting and neutralizing it.
The bully is gotten rid of for good, and the ferrous metals and Intercept live together in harmony!