Corrosion is a growing concern for foremost industries. It reduces the service life for products or complete failure of aluminum parts or finished goods. Mild and severe corrosion has a direct impact on the cost efficiency of the manufacturing process and even the cost of finished goods. Getting the right aluminum corrosion inhibitor can prevent these issues.

What's corrosion?

It is the destructive attack to metals by an electrochemical or chemical reaction with its environment. Rusting and corrosion are often used interchangeably. But the two terms are different. The term ‘rust’ is applicable to ferrous materials such as iron and steel. But the term ‘corrosion’ is inclusive of non-ferrous metals. 

Corrosion inhibitor is a unique material that coats the metallic surface, offering a protective barrier which in turn prevents the development of corrosive reactions. You can use temporary coatings to prevent corrosion during shipment and storage and between processing and machining operations. 

At one time, oil and other solvent-based materials were the most effective corrosion inhibitor coatings. In the recent decades, water based products and other more effective corrosion inhibitors are being used with success. This is good news for aluminum manufacturers and users.

The choice of a corrosion inhibitor mainly depends on your application requirements. Here are other factors you must consider when choosing a corrosion inhibitor.

1. Types of corrosion inhibitors

There are different types of corrosion inhibitors and each has benefits and limitations. The right corrosion inhibitor depends on various things such as the size of the metal parts but needs protection, storage period, and weather elements. Here are the different types of corrosion inhibitors you may want to consider depending on your needs. 

Solvent-based or oil based corrosion inhibitors

These corrosion inhibitors form a coating in between the metallic surface and the outside environment. This prevents water from coming into contact with the metallic service. Solvent-based and oil-based corrosion inhibitors can be applied straight from the container with no preparation or primer. 

The application methods include dipping, brushing, and spraying. Solvent-based or oil-based corrosion inhibitors are ideal for long-term protection for products that are likely to be exposed to severe weather elements. 

Water-based corrosion inhibitors

These inhibitors alter the metallic surface by decreasing its acceptability to rust or corrosion. The application techniques for water-based corrosion inhibitors include immersing, spraying, and brushing. Since the outer film is usually transparent and thin when dry, you don't need to remove it in the future. Water-based corrosion inhibitors are usually less messy than solvent-based ones and they are most valuable if you plan to store parts for a longer period in mild weather conditions.

VCI paper and poly bags

These materials contain corrosion inhibiting molecules that shift from the packaging component to create an invisible molecular layer on the metallic surface, whether ferrous or non-ferrous. This unique molecular layer penetrates recessed areas, nooks, and holes on the metallic surface. 

VCI paper can be used for long-term protection during storage, packaging, and shipment of metallic parts. These corrosion inhibitors are usually easier to use and less messy compared to oil, water-based corrosion inhibitors, and solvent based corrosion inhibitors. 

The application process involves placing the metallic parts inside VCI poly bags, interleaving layers of VCI paper between metallic parts, or wrapping the metallic parts in paper when storing or shipping them. The top benefits of using these corrosion inhibitors is that you don't have to clean up the metallic parts, they are more efficient, and automatically adjust to different levels of humidity and temperatures to boost protection efficiency. 

2. Type of the metallic surface that needs protection 

It's important to consider the type of metal or material your system has and the probability of rusting or corrosion happening when the surface is exposed to various weather elements. While reading more about corrosion and rusting might give you a lot of insights, sometimes it's important to consult with an expert who understands the concept of corrosion inhibition. This is an effective way of understanding the possibility and extent of corrosion and taking the right measures to prevent it.

3. Exposure to weather elements 

Consider duration and the time of the day when the metallic surfaces of your systems such as industrial water treatment units and boilers get exposed to harsh weather conditions. It's also important to determine how long they are exposed to harsh climates. For instance, boilers that are used daily may require a higher level of protection compared to two ones that are used once or twice a week. This information will help you to determine the right type and concentration of corrosion inhibitor necessary.

Unless you can control external environment and weather conditions such as humidity, temperature, and the probable exposure of the metallic surfaces to extreme cold or heat, it's important to get the right corrosion inhibitor to keep your metallic products or parts in a good condition. Keep in mind that corrosion could affect the overall quality of your products or cause permanent damage. 

4. How frequently are your system parts handled by humans?

The main reason you should determine how often the pieces of equipment and the system parts are handled by humans is the safety for your employees. Different solvent based products react differently with human sweat and body creams that people who use. You don't want to use a corrosion inhibitor that might affect the hands of your employees negatively. If you must use such products, be sure to provide sufficient safety gear for your workers.


If you are looking for the ideal aluminum corrosion inhibitors, keep in mind the tips discussed above. It's important to mention that acquiring the wrong corrosion inhibitor is a wastage of resources and exposes your metallic products to corrosion and other related forms of damage. This will eventually lead to financial losses, and that's something you don't want. If you’re not sure about what corrosion inhibitor is ideal for your products, be sure to consult with an expert.