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How to curb vehicle corrosion

5 min read
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In this article, we look into the number one cause of vehicle corrosion in the automotive industry and explain why some of the UK’s most renowned car manufacturers and heritage engineering specialists rely on Calorex dehumidifiers to fend off rust.

Even when they are hidden from the elements in garages and workshops, prestige cars and their metal components are constantly under threat from corrosion. Specifically, rust caused by moisture in the atmosphere.

Why relative humidity is the key to keeping rust at bay

In both sealed-off and open spaces, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere and the air temperature can fluctuate. This, in turn, will change the relative humidity of the environment.

Relative humidity (RH) is a percentage that tells us the amount of water vapour in the air, relative to the amount of water vapour that can be held at its current temperature. RH is directly linked to temperature because warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. For example, there will be more moisture in the air at 50% RH when the temperature is 25°C than there would be at 10°C.

When air rapidly cools, RH levels can reach 100%, or the ‘dew point’. This means that the air, at its current temperature, has reached its maximum water content and will release excess moisture in the form of condensation.

For the best year-round protection from vehicle corrosion, RH levels should be kept between 30% and 50%.

While rust will gradually affect almost any vehicle over long periods of time, the corrosion of steel will accelerate dramatically in an environment where RH levels exceed 50%.

Corrosion of steel chart
  • At an RH of approximately 50% or lower, virtually no corrosion occurs

  • With an RH of 60% and over, the rate of corrosion on steel rises rapidly

How the UK’s leading car specialists and manufacturers found a solution

In prestige car manufacture and engineering, quality control must be at the highest standards at all times. To minimise corrosion, and ensure the expectations of their clients are met, Land Rover, Jaguar Cars and Aston Martin specialists, RS Williams Ltd, rely on Calorex dehumidifiers to keep vehicles and components safe.

  • Land Rover
    When Land Rover first opened its new painted metal body panel store in Solihull, UK, they needed to ensure complete rust protection while vehicle body components were awaiting assembly.

    Their unheated building was particularly susceptible to condensation during the winter. However, the running costs and disruption of installing a heating and ventilation system was neither cost effective nor efficient.

    Instead, five Calorex DH 600 dehumidifiers were implemented as fully packed units with no ducting required. After a quick and straightforward installation, each unit is capable of removing up to 1,400 litres of water from the atmosphere per day.

  • Jaguar Cars
    Calorex DH 600 dehumidifiers are now also in place at Jaguar Cars to control humidity levels in its unpainted body panel store in Castle Bromwich.

    Previously, each untreated body panel underwent the labour and time intensive process of being sprayed with a protective light oil coating prior to storage.

    Cutting the cost of production and materials, the facility’s three Calorex dehumidifiers keep the sealed storage space at optimum relative humidity levels all-year-round.

  • Aston Martin specialists, RS Williams Ltd
    As one of the leading Aston Martin specialists in the UK, RS Williams limited are responsible for keeping cutting-edge and heritage vehicles in pristine condition.

    While a car is in storage, undergoing repairs and maintenance, or being prepared for the racetrack, three Calorex DH 60 units remove harmful moisture from the atmosphere to keep the prestige Aston Martins in the garage free from corrosion.

What are the benefits of condensaton dehumidifiers?

While each solution is bespoke to its setting, Jaguar Cars, Land Rover and RS Williams Ltd are all seeing the following benefits from their Calorex dehumidification setup.

  • Efficiency
    Unlike a traditional heating system, a Calorex dehumidifier will circulate humid air throughout a space, physically removing moisture from the air as it flows through the system.

  • Cost savings
    In addition to preventing expensive damage to priceless vehicles, a high-quality dehumidifier can reduce energy bills by converting the energy taken out of the room as moisture into useful heat.

  • Reactivity
    With built-in electronic hydrostats and thermostats, Calorex dehumidifiers can react fast to sudden changes in humidity (e.g. when garage doors are opened).

    How a refrigerant dehumidifier works

The process

  1. Damp air is drawn into the dehumidifier and across a refrigerated coil

  2. The air is cooled below its dew point, condensing the water vapour

  3. Latent heat energy is recovered and re-used

  4. Cooled air passes across the condenser and reheated

  5. The warm dry air is then returned to the room at the required humidity

To learn more about preventing vehicle corrosion during storage, manufacture and maintenance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team below.

Related products

Calorex DH 600 – condensation dehumidifier
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Large-capacity floor-standing dehumidifiers

The DH 600 high-capacity floor-standing dehumidifier is self-contained with fully automatic operation.

Calorex DH 300 – condensation dehumidifier
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Large-capacity floor-standing dehumidifiers

With integral humidistat, and options for heating, condensate pump and external condenser unit, and high-pressure fan, you can be sure in your space being controlled to your demands.

Calorex DH 150 – condensation dehumidifier
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Large-capacity floor-standing dehumidifiers

The DH 150 high-capacity floor-standing dehumidifier is self-contained with fully automatic operation.

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