Are your Tubes PVC or Hypalon?

If you looking to repair your tubes with patches or to replace any valves on your rigid hull inflatable boat or inflatable it’s essential to know what fabric your inflatable sponsons are made from as it’s very important to use the correct adhesive for the material.

There are two main types of material used in the manufacture of inflatable boat tubes, Hypalon and PVC.

Hypalon-inflatable-boat-fabric72
1. Hypalon:- this is a rubber/neoprene material;

PVC-inflatable-boat-fabric72
2. PVC:- used in most production manufactured boats.

Test to Check

There are several tests to check if you are unsure which fabric your inflatable RIB or dinghy is made from.

hypalon-fabric-back
A. Back of Fabric;
If you can see the inside of the tube when deflated, through the valve, Hypalon is a dark grey or black on the inside. PVC is the same colour on both sides.

pvc-or-hypalon
B. Sand the material; Hypalon will matt down and produce a dust and suede like nap to the abrasion. PVC will just scratch, remain glossy and there will be no difference in colour (click on the image to zoom in).

C. Wipe over Solvent Test.  Wipe lightly with an MEK based solvent. (methyl ethyl ketone – often available at hardware, paint or plumbing stores, sold as a cleaner for PVC pipes or lacquer thinner) or Acetone Solvent. Hypalon will leave an oxidization and maybe some colour on the cloth, the material will not be affected or become sticky. For PVC you will have some colour on the cloth and the surface of the material will feel tacky. Please Note: Before using Adhesive, It is important, for best results to use Solvent to prepare the surfaces to be adhered.
Caution All these solvents are very flammable and appropriate precautions should be taken before use in a well ventilated area with no naked flames.

POLYMARINE SOLVENT.
2903 INFLATABLE BOAT SOLVENT CLEANER
For Priming and Cleaning both PVC and Hypalon Inflatable Boat Fabrics.

List of Known Boat Fabrics

HYPALON:

AB, ACHILLES, AQUAFLYTE, AVON, BALLISTIC, BEAUFORT, BRIG*, BWM, CALAGARI, CAMPARI, CARIBE, CHINOOK, COMPASS, DELTA, DOMINO, EUROCRAFT, FLATACRAFT, GOMMONAUTICA, GORDON, HENSHAWS, HUMBER, LOMAC, METZLER*, ML LIFEGUARD, NOVAJOLLY, NOVAMARINE, NOVURANIA, OSPREY, PICTON, RED BAY, REVENGER, RIBCRAFT, RIBTEC, RIB-X, RING, ROBCRAFT, SCANNER, SCORPION, SELVA, SEMPRIT, SELVA, STINGHER, TINKER, YAM RIBS, ( ZODIAC – some pre 1968 leisure models – and their custom/commercial range could be Hypalon).

PVC:

ARIMAR, BOMBARD, BRIG*, COMPASS II, EUROVINYL, EXCEL, HONDA, LODESTAR, MAXXON, METZLER*, NARWHAL, OMC EXPRESS, PLASTIMO, QUICKSILVER, RIBEYE*, SERIE, SEVYLOR, SUZUMAR, TOHATSU, TYPHOON, VALIANT* (some larger ribs are PU), WAVELINE, YAM, ZED, ZOOM, ZODIAC  ( Zodiac Hypalon – see note above).

POLYURETHANE (PU):

TORNADO, VALIANT* (larger commercial ribs)

 

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