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Old 19 January 2001, 15:51   #1
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Hypalon VS PVC-fabric

Experienses about the the PVC-fabrics (Strongan etc.), especially the life-span of the boats?
I know that inflatable parts of the boats are usually made by using the hypalon fabric.
Some manufacturers will give 10 year guarantee for the (hypalon) collar. Zodiac RIB:s and inflatables are now made by using Strongan (PVC) fabric.
I would like to know how long life-time I can expect for the boat made from Strongan (maintaind and used properly). Any long time user's info would be essential.
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Old 22 January 2001, 03:27   #2
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There seem to be strong opinions for and against PVC and hypalon -- each has its supporters.

From what I have seen, the quality of PVC material used varies between manufacturers much more than Hypalon does.

Quality manufacturers like Zodiac use very heavy duty material, hence their long guarantee. I've got a Zodiac MkI GT that is over ten years old and looks almost new!

Some of the cheaper PVC inflatables and RIBs use a very lightweight material, that I don't think would last so well . . .

After ten years I would be suprised if any RIB tube would have much life left in it, regardless of material.

John
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Old 23 January 2001, 09:08   #3
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I look after 7 club RIBs plus my own 2 and can give some "age" related info on Hypalon vs. PVC (and Polyurethane). Out oldest RIB (just sold) was Searider in grey Hypalon. It is now 14 years old and spent the first 10 years out in all weathers. Apart from abrasion damage the rubber material is still as flexible a ever, although there is slight exterior fading from UV. The various orange BWMs, Humbers and Osprey all show different levels of exterior fading but are all retaining flexibility OK. The orange suffers more UV damage and some of the materials show much worse dirt penetration than others, even from the same supplier only one year apart. All the hypalons show dirt so easily but can be cleaned with work.
A previous Polyurethane Tornado had gone completely hardened by UV damage to the point that the seams had let go -- this material proved VERY difficult if not impossible to repair, but the one we have now confirms my previous findings that this material is by far the best for abrasion resistance.
My experience with PVC shows that it too suffers from sever hardening with UV, but the Ribmax I have now is fine as it is always kept covered. This stuff is OK to fix (not as easy as Hyp.) and stays so much cleaner! It is a bit easier to puncture than Hypalon so I wont buy it for club rescue.
In summary: Hypalon very durable, easy to fix, shows dirt the worst. PVC OK if kept out of UV, stays clean, bit harder to fix. PU very abrasion resistant, OK out of UV, pig to fix.
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Old 23 January 2001, 09:44   #4
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It's true that Hypalon gets (and stays) dirty easily. This is because the outer layer is porous and dirt gets right into the material.

Applying a tube sealer (from someone like IBS or Polymarine) to clean tubes will go a long way towards preventing this. It will also add some UV protection too.

If you want your tubes to look new for a long time, then go for grey ones to start with! Blue Hypalon can fade particularly badly, although it does depend on the quality of the material used. Yellow tubes seem to be almost impossible to get really clean.

John
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Old 23 January 2001, 16:50   #5
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Yellow boats ARE difficult to keep clean but look so much nicer than Grey ones!

Our yellow BWM is kept under a cover and hence protected from UV. She sat outside without the cover for about a month last summer and faded quite badly. However with some "inflatable boat cleaner" from IBS and a lot of elbow grease she came up looking spic and span again!

Alan
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Old 27 January 2001, 03:05   #6
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Thank you for the aswers. I got all the info I was looking for.

J.Hjerppe
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Old 05 May 2002, 06:59   #7
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Hello Jari

I've found this re tube fabrics whilst 'surfing'

Types of Fabric

A major component of an inflatable is obviously the fabric. Fabric technology has evolved greatly over the last 20 to 30 years, and now includes plastomers, polyurethanes and other fabrics, which can sometimes be stronger, lighter, thinner and less expensive to assemble than the original rubber fabrics. Of course it costs a great deal of money to develop new fabrics or even to switch manufacturing processes to use them. Many manufacturers, big and small, don't have the will or the resources to do this, and that's why they generally hide that fact by resorting to condemning new technological advances in fabrics.
For instance, Zodiac's fabrics have always been on the leading edge of technology and their willingness to research and experiment has led to some innovative new fabrics. These new fabrics are developed to be the best for their intended use. Fabrics used for a small tender don't need to be the same as those for a large RIB, because the intended use is not the same. Some manufacturers do not have the means or know-how to employ different fabrics, so they just use one. In these cases the consumer, may end up paying too much or getting too little.
Most fabrics consist of a strong, close-weave mesh of polyester or nylon material which is sandwiched between 2 coatings to provide extreme flexibility, superior air and water tightness, as well as resistance to abrasion and the sun's UV rays. Zodiac uses a polyurethane fabric called "Strongan" and assembles their inflatable boats by thermobonding the fabric.

Heavy Duty Fabrics
Some inflatable boats are still made from a rubber-based fabric called Hypalon. While this is still a very good material, its major downfall is that it can only be joined by gluing, done manually. Problems including poor bonds, delamination of seams or fabric can still affect these glued fabrics. Today, many inflatables are manufactured from polyurethane fabrics, although larger inflatables (particularly RIBs used for rescue or military purposes) use hypalon because thicker hypalon fabrics are still considered to be stronger and more durable than polyurethane. There are some hypalon fabrics that are "2-ply" or a double unit made up of hypalon/weave/hypalon/weave/hypalon and are used for extreme situations including bumper padding, bow skirts, anti-chafe patches and similar applications.

Seams
Apart from its superior toughness and durability, Zodiac's Strongan fabric allows the use of Zodiac's computerized machine-welding process known as "thermobonding", the welding of fabric using hot air. Two sealing strips are thermally bonded to the butted fabric seams in a continuous electrothermal process. A highly airtight seal is created when the narrow inner strip literally melts into the collar material. The wider exterior strip functions as a overlapping structural connection and a sealer against water penetration. Thermobonding creates seams that are typically stronger than the fabric itself and produces a better seam than any hand-gluing method.



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Old 05 May 2002, 07:47   #8
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Keith

Where did you find it? It would only be fair to provide a link back to the source.

John
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Old 05 May 2002, 08:02   #9
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John

It is on the 'All Inflatables' site: http://www.allinflatables.com/

It is in the 'Research Inflatables' section.

Keith (super surfer) Hart
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