Hypalon Tube Fabric
uPVC Tube Fabric
Hypalon and Neoprene Coatings (Synthetic Rubber
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.
uPVC (Plastic Coatings):
uPVC 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. uPVC coated fabrics come in a larger array of colours
The seams of uPVC-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 uPVC-coated
boats, especially over handcrafted Hypalon boats.
Are your Tubes uPVC 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
from as it's very important to use the correct adhesive for
There are two main types of material used in the manufacture
1. Hypalon:- this is a rubber/neoprene material;
2. uPVC:- used in most production manufactured boats.
Test to Check
There are several tests to check.
A. If you can see the inside of the tube, through
the valve, Hypalon is a dark grey or black on the inside. uPVC is the
same colour on
B. Sand the material. Hypalon will matt down and
produce a dust. uPVC will just scratch, There will be no difference
C. Wipe over lightly with MEK (methyl ethyl ketone
- often available at hardware, paint or plumbing stores, sold as a
cleaner for uPVC pipes or lacquer thinner) or Acetone. Hypalon will
leave an oxidization and maybe some colour on the cloth. The material
not be affected.
For uPVC you will have some colour on the cloth but, the surface of
the material will feel tacky. It is important to use the correct solvent
on this solvent test.
List of Known Boat Fabrics
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 commercial range is probably Hypalon).
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* (some pre 1968 leisure
TORNADO, VALIANT* (larger commercial ribs)
Information courtesy of Polymarine, supplier of inflatable
boat spares and accessories, visit: www.polymarine.com Note:
Polymarine can supply inflatable boat fabrics by the metre length for
patches or larger repairs. Extensive spare parts for repairs or replacement