June 19, 2006
The Three Types of Tubes
There are three different tube materials used by RIB manufacturers; PVC, Polyurethane, and Hypalon. We’re often asked what are the advantages and disadvantages of the three materials. As a manufacturer of professional grade RIBs, we prefer Hypalon for its overall strength and longevity, however the others do have their benefits. We just think that Hypalon has more – that’s why our standard tubes are made of Hypalon.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
As a material for building tubes, polyvinylchloride (PVC) has the disadvantage of being hard: it lacks flexibility. To make it supple, an additive is used with the polymer. This additive vaporizes as the material ages, making the PVC brittle which allows it to crack easily. A PVC tube is the cheapest option and lasts approximately five years.
Tubes made of polyurethane (PU) are difficult to manufacture and even more difficult to repair. PU has the advantage of being very tough, but unfortunately to make PU airtight, it has to be used in layers, combined with neoprene. The biggest disadvantage with PU is that it ages quickly: thermal and mechanical wear-and-tear and exposure to ultraviolet-light are problems. PU tubes are found in applications where strength and durability are needed. Replacing the tubes when they wear out, usually costs one third of the complete RIB.
Tubes made of hypalon are easy to manufacture and even easier to repair with simple puncture repair kits.
Hypalon is not airtight on it’s own so must be combined with neoprene when used to build tubes. Tubes made with hypalon and neoprene layers can easily last 30 years or more. Although early in its life a PU tube will be stronger than a hypalon/neoprene tube, by the age of 5 years they have similar levels of durability and that is why hypalon/neoprene tubes are often found on RIBs that are owned by commercial and high value leisure users. Hypalon tubes are the industry standard among professional users.
Posted by ribcraftusa at June 19, 2006 05:43 PMBack To Index