What is VCI and How Does it Work?

This is a guest post by Thomas White, Marketing Manager at Zerust.


What is VCI?

VCI “Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors or Volatile Corrosion Inhibitors” have been around since the 1940s, when it began to be coated onto paper. In 1979, Northern Technologies International Corporation (NTIC) made two significant innovations, NTIC not only managed to introduce a new VCI chemical system to the market that was used as a common food additive (sodium nitrite) but were also able to successfully impregnate this additive into plastic films. By the early 1980s, NTIC starting to sell VCI products under the brand name Zerust® which left customers with a few common questions: What is VCI and how does it work?


How Does VCI Work?

Vapor corrosion inhibitors (VCIs) are substances that slowly release a corrosion preventative compound into sealed air space, effectively protecting exposed metal surfaces. VCIs are often used in situations where it is impractical or undesired to use rust preventative liquids or other surface treatments. The compounds that VCIs release into airspace actively prevent corrosion by forming strong bonds with a metal surface, promoting and maintaining the natural and healthy passive oxide layer on the metal. The VCI layer that forms are invisible, dry, and do not affect the physical properties or functionality of the metal in any way. The protected metal can be painted, treated and/or used straight out of the Zerust® package without further cleaning.


Types of VCI Products

VCI Paper - VCI paper packaging offers corrosion protection for metal parts in shipping and storage and can be used as added protection to VCI poly packaging products. Zerust® VCI paper products are acid-free, pH neutral and are sourced from responsibly managed forests. They are produced in the USA without bleaching agents and in facilities powered with renewable energy.

Zerust VCI Paper


VCI Film - VCI packaging films are available in many stock and custom options. VCI Film comes in a range of sizes and MIL thicknesses and can be made in VCI plastic sheets, tubing, J-sheeting, and c-fold sheeting. Some stock bag options are flat VCI bags, zipper bags, and VCI gusset liners. A range of metal protection types are available as well as acid-gas scavenging technology and additives such as ESD (electrostatic discharge) and UV (Ultraviolet) protection can be incorporated.

Zerust VCI Film


VCI Emitters and Diffusers - VCI emitters (also known as VCI diffusers) provide targeted corrosion protection in hard-to-reach enclosed spaces or can be used as added protection to VCI packaging products. VCI Emitters emit powerful Zerust® corrosion inhibiting molecules into an enclosure that settle on metal surfaces and protect them from corrosion. They are safe for electronics, odorless*, non-toxic*, residue-free, and are designed to work in restricted spaces.

Zerust VCI Emitters


We've Got You Covered

No matter the application, Rocket Industrial can help you with your corrosion prevention needs. We analyze the current state of your corrosion management needs and work with you and your team to implement the best and most cost-effective solution. Rocket Industrial in partnership with Zerust® Technical Support team members, can come to your facility and do a step-by-step analysis of your current process including fluid audits, VCI and packaging process audits, and data logger analysis. Our mission is to provide you with the right products, processes, and procedures to ensure that you can achieve your desired results. Contact us today to get started.



Protective Packaging Guide