Inflatable Boat Tube Fabrics
Hypalon and Neoprene Coatings (Synthetic Rubber Coatings):
Hypalon is a synthetic rubber material patented by DuPont. Hypalon has many applications in many industries and it has proven itself as a material with excellent air holding capabilities and oil resistance. Hypalon coated onto polyester or nylon fabric with an interior coating of neoprene a very reliable and durable inflatable boat fabric and can last for more than a decade even in the harshest environments – which is the reason for warranties of five and 10 years.
The seams in Hypalon boats are either overlapped or butted, and then glued. Butted seams produce an aesthetic, flat, airtight seam, without the ridge or air gaps left by some overlapped seams. However, butted seams are more labor-intensive, thus the boats are usually more expensive. It is always wise to look for an inflatable boat with seams that are double-taped, and are glued on both sides. In stress tests, Hypalon and neoprene glued seams are so strong and reliable that the fabric will fail before the seams.
PVC (Plastic Coatings):
PVC is a vinyl polymer chemically known as polyvinyl chloride. It has several applications in the leisure and construction industries. In the inflatable boat industry it is used as a coating on polyester or nylon to increase the strength and tear resistance. Because it is a type of plastic, it can be thermobonded or glued. This allows the manufacturer to mass produce boats on a large scale with machines and unskilled labour. PVC coated fabrics come in a larger array of colours than Hypalon
The seams of PVC-coated inflatables can be fused together using several different welding techniques. Some manufacturers use either high heat pressure, radio frequencies (RF), or electronic welding. Large, specially developed welding machines must be used to fuse the fabric together. Again, this makes it easier and faster to produce PVC-coated boats, especially over handcrafted Hypalon boats.