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Old 16 July 2006, 17:14   #1
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Any comments on this tube material

The WING inflatable is constructed of 40 oz. polyurethane. All seams over-lap one and one-half inches, are taped inside and out and thermo welded instead of glued.


When comparing PVC, Neoprene's and Hypalon (other inflatable tube materials), Polyurethane is four times more abrasive resistant and twice as puncture resistant. These tubes are tested and used by the U.S. Navy Seal Team. They are tough, long lasting, UV resistant and low maintenance. Multiple air chambers add additional safety
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Old 16 July 2006, 20:11   #2
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welded seems- better air holdin quality than glue, but it's far weaker, welded and glued make the best seems.

last i knew poly didn't form up a nice tube,
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Old 17 July 2006, 13:00   #3
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Rumor has it that they don't keep their appearance all that well. It is supposed to be some pretty tough stuff, though.

Wing has been pretty busy for the past few years; seems the military market for PU tubes has skyrocketed. Says something about the material, I suppose.


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Old 17 July 2006, 14:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyasaki
Rumor has it that they don't keep their appearance all that well. It is supposed to be some pretty tough stuff, though.

Wing has been pretty busy for the past few years; seems the military market for PU tubes has skyrocketed. Says something about the material, I suppose.


jky
Probably that it suits volume production more. The number of people running 30yr old Avons that have had years of neglect makes me wonder why anyone would choose anything other than Hypalon.
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Old 18 July 2006, 04:17   #5
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My only thought is whilst taped inside and out and thermowelded may produce a suberb seam, what happens two years down the line when the tube gets punctured and you need to make a repair?
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Old 18 July 2006, 06:11   #6
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slap a patch on it,if it's in spot that is vary seeable, i'd try to put like a velcro
hold down patch on it, or some thing like that,D ring, if that woun't work, make a rub patch for the spot and put one on the other side of the boat so it looked like the factory put in thare, so it looked trick.
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Old 18 July 2006, 06:26   #7
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My experience of polyurethane has been very good over the short term (3 years) and in the short term would prefer it to Hypalon. No idea how it fairs over time though.

Itís incredibly abrasion resistant, much more so than Hypalon. I also think it keeps its appearance much better too; the surface is very smooth so it doesn't collect or hold dirt. Many people used to comment on how clean/new the boat looked.

I was told the welded seams are stronger than the material; I donít how true that is. Mine werenít taped on the outside, not sure about the inside. Welded seams are certainly less visually intrusive than taped.
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Old 18 July 2006, 16:09   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn
Probably that it suits volume production more. The number of people running 30yr old Avons that have had years of neglect makes me wonder why anyone would choose anything other than Hypalon.
Probably because the next generation will want their boats to last longer with less maintenance. Technological improvements are not all bad.

The machine welded method of construction got a bad rap, I think when Zodiac first transitioned to PVC. The primary problems were that the technique they used was not the greatest, resulting in quite a bit of trial and error tweaking until they got to where they are now (and time will tell if it's actually right at this point or not.) Add to that the relatively unstable nature of PVC (not the greatest material for UV resistance, and somewhat prone to ofgassing of solvents, resulting in age embrittlement, I think), and the general consensus became that machine assembly was a bad thing.

I personally think the machine assembly is not the problem, and stands to reduce the amount of time and man-labor that goes into making tubes. The key is finding the right material, and mating that with the right assembly techniques. Wing may very well have done that, if the military's evaluation of their product holds out.

RAS: If it gets a hole, repair is no different than hypalon: stick a patch on it. Polyurethane is actually supposed to be easier to repair than hypalon; any sort of polyurethane adhesive (Sikaflex, Aquaseal, 4200, etc.) and a patch, and you're good. No worrying about surface roughness, solvent penetration and evaporation and such. You have to admit that surface prep to repair hypalon is a bit of a chore; I think the prep part is reduced with PU.

I know the hypalon repuation is going to be a tough thing to overcome, and I know there are an awful lot of people who would still choose it first. Which is fine; hypalon is a great material for boats, as long as you have the skilled labor to assemble it into something you can use. I'm just saying that there are other options that are suitable, too.

For me, I found the PU cost was a bit more than I could handle at the time (not to mention that the builder probably wouldn't have wanted to fit a 3rd party tubeset.) Perhaps in years to come I'll look into it again, should the need ever arise.

jky
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