How to Mitigate Corrosion in Marine Electronics

The corrosion of electrical and electronic equipment in marine environments is a problem that can cause serious and expensive failures. Corrosion can occur from manufacture to shipping, storage, and in operation. But what can be done about this? How can electrical equipment in marine environments be protected against corrosion, caused by humidity and water ingress, resulting in excessive downtime, equipment failure and unplanned costs?

To take a better look at preventing corrosion in marine electrics and electronics, let’s take a deep dive first into what to look out for, causes, prevention and finally, our preferred method for eliminating this industry wide problem.

Why are marine electrics and electronics susceptible to corrosion? What should I look out for?

Corrosion occurs when oxygen bonds with metal, producing rust and causing the metal to lose its chemical properties. Corrosion on marine electronics occurs on sea vessels, other marine vessels, offshore structures and other places in marine environments.

In marine electronics, corrosion can commonly appear on:

  • integrated circuits
  • circuit boards
  • connectors
  • contacts or
  • inside closed electronic compartments and cabinets

What causes corrosion in marine electronics?

Corrosion in marine electronics can be caused by chemicals or environmental factors like humidity, oxygen and salt in the air. Both causes can also act as accelerants to the already continuously occurring corrosion process.

Eliminating corrosion in electrical and electronic enclosures has proven to be very difficult due to the complexity and sensitivity of the components inside the enclosure. Traditional corrosion control methods such as coatings are not an option, as this would affect the performance of the electronics.

How can I prevent corrosion on marine electronics?

Due to the difficulty in identifying most corrosion on marine electronics before its effects can be felt, a common mitigation strategy is to manage the environment in which the electronic device is being housed and utilized.

How can VpCI® technology prevent corrosion on marine electronics when in use, during layup and during transportation?

Using VpCI® technology (Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors) is ideal for preventing corrosion on marine electronics since they vaporize from their source material (a pouch, a piece of foam, or an emitter cup) and distribute themselves throughout an enclosed atmosphere (an electrical box or a shipping package, etc.). VpCI® vapors are invisible to the naked eye but are effective enough to interfere with the electrochemical reactions that normally cause metal to rust in the presence of oxygen, moisture, and chlorides. The below video offers a better understanding of VpCI technology in action.

In terms of versatility, VpCI® emitters are especially efficient and can be used for corrosion protection in many different non-ventilated housings, control boxes or other enclosures on marine or offshore applications. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Electric motors
  • Switching equipment
  • Fuse boxes
  • Electrical wireways
  • Telecomm equipment and remote electronics devices

Operationally, this means a reduction in the frequency of maintenance, repair, or failure on electric components in the nerve centers of oceangoing vessels, marine manufacturing plants, and offshore platforms– both while in operation or during layup. VpCI® technology is also ideal for shipping sensitive electronics long distances.

How can controlling corrosion in marine electronics support my company’s ESG goals?

Iron and steel production is carbon-intensive and a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. From a climate-change perspective, it is therefore important that we prolong the useful life of existing steel structures, i.e. ships, infrastructure or buildings, with the least possible negative impact on the environment.

By using VpCI® technology, marine electrical equipment is protected against corrosion, thereby extending its life, and reducing the impact of the overall material asset on the environment. Extending the lifetime of material assets is good for business and good for the globe. Read more about how we work to preserve and protect your material assets, prolonging the useful life of existing steel structures and pipes in our latest sustainability report.

Interested in learning more about our preservation and corrosion protection products and services? Contact us at for more information.

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