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To differentiate between the two, look at the assembled parts of your tube :
- a welded assembly gives a brilliant appearance to the fabric assembled on PVC
- parts glued to neoprene hypalon can sometimes "taper away" a little on the edges. There may be yellow along edges where glued areas means, from environmental or UV exposure.
There is very little difference to the touch; depending on the grade, PVC fabric can be a little grainy, but a good quality PVC fabric can be very smooth too.
Hypalon is a trademark for a series of chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE) synthetic rubbers (CSM) made by DuPont Dow Elastomers. It has many known applications in a range of industries due to its excellent air holding capabilities and outstanding resistance to the deteriorating effects of temperature extremes, ozone, oxygen, weather, oil, and chemicals.
Neoprene is a Zodiac fabric that is a brand style of fabric used on Zodiac boats. Achilles CSM Hypalon is what is used on there own style of branded boats. Orca/Phillipe Hypalon fabric is usualy used on other branded style boats.
Hypalon is a natural product, it is a fabric weft that is rubber coated.
The qualities of the hypalon vary according to 3 characteristics: the dyes that are used, the thickness and weight of the coating, and lastly the weave.
The weave: there are single and double weaves. Double weave is the most resistant.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a synthetic plastic polymer. It is known to be significantly less expensive than Hypalon. It has so many applications ranging from house siding, sewage pipes to furniture, toys, and of course, inflatable boats.
The main advantage of a PVC tube is its price: it is two of three times cheaper than hypalon or neoprene. This is because it can be assembled industrially in a factory.
Its second advantage derives from how it is assembled. PVC needs to be welded, whereas a hypalon fabric can only be assembled by gluing. Welding is a process that can be more reliable than gluing, since it is a fusion of material, whereas gluing consists of adding an adhesive, which has its limits in time. Once the fabrics are welded, they cannot separate.
Polyurethane material offers four times the abrasion resistance and greater tear or tensile strength compared to Hypalon and is much stronger than traditional PVC. Polyurethane fabrics have excellent welding properties.
Vinyl facric is generally used on watersport pool toys, toy inflatable boats and other like style concepts. Very thin, offers great weight savings, but tears and punctures easy.