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After a good couple months of having my dining room table strewn with 20 different glues, expensive cleaning alcohol, test bladders (thanks Sin) and some other bits and pieces, I finally got to do the tests.  I video documented a fair bit of it and maybe I’ll edit it together sometime.

I tested the polyurethane range of glues, like your Sestic cable glue and clear glues from most of the different manufacturers; there was about 7 of them that I tried.  These are the glues that we have been using to date.  Next was the different contact adhesives, about five of them.  Then I gave the superglues a go, some pvc glues and a mix of some glues that I knew would not work but thought what the hell.  Then also a couple that I had never heard of from obscure brands and that was a good idea as our winner came from that pool.

The tests were all done according to rigid scientific principles.  Not, but what I did do was to give an equal playing field in that equal quantities of the glues were applied to two sides of the same bladder material.  The material was cleaned with pharmaceutical alcohol and no roughening was done to the bladder material.  My theory is that adding sandpaper to the mix would skew the results as it is hard to roughen evenly over a surface.  I wanted purely chemical bond results.  Mechanical bonding created by roughening the two surfaces would only increase adhesion in the end by the user thereby making the bond that much stronger.  The tests proved that this was a good road to take.

A brief summary of the results is that the contact adhesives failed, the super glues failed and the polyurethane or clear glues delivered varied results but were, as expected, by and large the better glues.  There were however two glues that stood out completely.  A “Shoe” glue by Bostik and then the outright winner by a long shot “Vyna Bond” made by Performix

Vynabond by Performix from what I can tell is an American brand, it can be used underwater, it looks and initially smells like a polyurethane clear glue, but like the Bostik “Shoe” glue it dries to a different smell.  Clear glues have served us well till now but a general problem with polyurethane glues is that they don’t like too much heat and for the most part, excess heat is what is getting kite valves to separate from the bladders in the first place. 

Out of all the glues tested Vynabond was far superior in its adhesion to the bladder material.  Of the 20 glues it was the only one that adhered to both surfaces under limited weight pressure.  All the other glues delaminated from one of the surfaces.  It adhered so well that on separating, it tore out a circle from the bladder material. 

The “kettle test” thanks Sin for this one, is the best way to bring heat (and water) into the equation without damaging the bladder material.  (PS this is how you loosen old valves from the bladder; just hold them over a boiling kettle.)   The polyurethane clear glues surrender their rights at this point in testing.  The Vynabond was not affected by this test at all, so much so that I actually put the test patch into the kettle and stewed it around for a while.  (The other glue that did well here although it originally delaminated on separation was the Bostik Shoe glue.)  Vynabond’s stretch characteristics are also amazing.  The glue seems to become one with the bladder, it’s impossible to get off. 

Vynabond is available from Builders Express outlets.  Tests are not completed yet, as a practical implementation is still to be put out there and I am yet to actually glue a valve onto a bladder.  For patches and repairs already I can see it working, all you need is an old bladder to cut up and use as patch material or just use the glue itself for those pinprick holes.  Performix’s  Vynabond seems to be the answer, if you can’t get that one then Bostik’s Shoe glue is the next best, just roughen and clean the surfaces and you should be fine.

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Tags: Bond, Performix, Vyna, bostik, genkem, kite bladder glue, kite bladder repair, test

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Comment by David Lyon on October 19, 2014 at 21:10

Thanks for this test data, it's great to find a systematic approach. I also found that Aqua Seal formed a very good bond with bladder material, and survived boiling water with no issues. I was surprised to find that GlueFix (made for kites) peeled off the bladder very easily, almost zero adhesion. I will try the Vyna Bond too, a little harder to find so far.

Comment by Dean Bottcher on December 4, 2013 at 8:24

Thanks Pieter, I will look out for these.  

Comment by Pieter La Grange on December 3, 2013 at 17:14

I came upon this post while searching locally for polyurethane glue. I fly model aeroplanes and it is one of the glues we use when working with EPP (expanded polypropylene). Alcolin used to sell Alcolin Extreme but it had a very short shelf life. They fixed the product and it is now sold (check Builder's Warehouse) as Alcolin Waterproof Glue. It comes in one of those 300ml tubes (like silicon sealer) and costs about R200. It foams up a bit when used with EPP, and I have no idea if it will be usefull to you guys. I don't fly kites but if anyone wants to send me a piece of bladder material I can do a test.

I also have UHU Por which is an amazing clear glue. It is solvent free and remains flexible when dry. Not sure if you guys have tried it. It is a bit hard to get hold of in South Africa, but I have seen it in some craft stores.

Comment by Steffen Begere on August 21, 2013 at 12:15

Howzit Dean, I only found one place here in PE and that is at the 'Surf Centre' shop on the beachfront.

Would like to find the distributor for this product...but so far no luck.

Comment by Dean Bottcher on August 21, 2013 at 7:31

Steffen, where can you buy it?

Comment by Steffen Begere on August 20, 2013 at 20:44

I found 'Aquaseal' works the best by far.

I've done repairs to kites 4years ago and the valves are all still holding!

Been using aquaseal for all kite repairs including sail and LE. Absolute must for all kite repairs...


Comment by Calvin Jorge Da Silva on August 15, 2012 at 17:13

Good work guys. U should also think of trying the Bostik Soft Plastic adhesive, Loctite Soft Plastic, and Loctite Adhesive. 

Comment by Dean Bottcher on August 10, 2012 at 11:27

I know the Sika brand, it's available locally but in the big gun tubes and they seem to mainly cater for the industrial market.  It may well be the glue Mike Chamberlain has been going on about.  Whether or not they make it in small tubes and is the same is another story.  I have been looking for that "Cable" glue you guys are using and can't find it.  I did see it once but it was before all this.  I will keep looking for it and then do a test but for now I am happy to pull bladders and sort my two kites out.  Missing the 13.  

Comment by Kitesports on August 10, 2012 at 10:59

Very interesting stuff Dean. We are forever looking for a good glue. We recently found Bostik Cable to be the best we've tried, but it seems as though you have found a clear winner in Vynabond. The heat test result for Vynabond is amazing! It sticks so well that you need to make sure that you get a good clean seal to start with otherwise you aren't going to get it off to try again.

Will be interesting to see how it fairs on the valve front as some types of  valve are made of a different plastic than the bladder is. This is feedback from Flexifoil when we asked them about the valve issue, "Our repair centre technique is to use a glue branded as Aquaseal or Stormsure. This is a urethane based glue (the bladder is TPU - Thermal Polyurethane, the white valves are also TPU and the blue valves are PVC with a Poly Ethylene disc between the valve and bladder for adhesion) The industrial name for this glue used to be Sikaflex."



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