About PVC & ORCA® CSM (Hypalon)


Almost all inflatable boats are constructed with either PVC or CSM/Hypalon fabric. Hypalon was discontinued by its manufacturer (DuPont) and is now sold under its slightly different formula and new name "CSM" or Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene Rubber.

Coastal Boats are made with either PVC (Mehler-Valmex® PVC from Germany & Korean PVC) or Orca® CSM (Hypalon) from France. Each fabric has their advantages and disadvantages. Both fabrics should be considered when making your selection.

PVC fabric is known to be significantly less expensive than CSM. PVC is quite strong and can come in different thicknesses such as .09mm & 1.2mm, but this still does not change the fact that it does not repel sunlight as great as CSM. It can definitely be kept in great shape and last just as long if well maintained.

CSM on the other hand is more expensive overall but will last longer and is excellent against sun exposure & tolerant on fuel spills or fumes. CSM is simply longer lasting, more expensive and has a high tolerance through a variety of environments or different weather.

PVC Pros & Cons

  • Pro: Significantly less expensive
  • Pro: It is lighter and more portable PVC
  • Con: Not as UV resistant
  • Con: Not as resistant to chemicals, gas, oil, and abrasion
  • Con: Shorter life cycle. Average life cycle 8 - 10 years

CSM (Hypalon) Pros & Cons

  • Pro: Excellent chemical resistance and stability against UV-rays
  • Pro: Expands and flexes with heat, shock and impact
  • Pro: Longer life cycle 15-20 yrs
  • Con: More expensive than PVC (100% to 150% more expensive)
  • Con: Will loses air a bit quicker over time due to its structure

SUMMARY

In general PVC fabric won't last as long as CSM fabric if the boat will be subjected to prolonged periods of direct sunlight and no measures have been taken to protect the PVC fabric from the sun (boat cover or UV Protectant). In many ways these fabrics are very similar: modern technology and improvements of PVC are minimizing the difference. The most important differences are : TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE. It makes CSM very preferable in hot climate areas. PVC is also very useful there, but you have to be more careful to your boat. In medium and cold climate areas this difference is minimal. PVC is more sensitive to UV radiation than CSM. But now the special chemical additives in PVC have nearly solved the problem