Vinyl's technical name is Poly Vinyl Chloride. Vinyl is a flexible waterproof material that can be made in many different colors by adding dies and coloring agents, it can also be made clear, opauqe and tinted. Vinyl can be stamped with patterns like the Safara-Tex Vinyl Composite™ shown below which is strengthened with a Polyester substrate, and is also fire resistant.
Most vinyl fabric is actually a composite material containing a polyester mesh or substrate either completely enclosed by vinyl on both sides or bonded onto only one side of vinyl. The vinyl portion can either be a solid rolled sheet that is laminated onto the substrate, or an expanded vinyl product where air is introduced into the vinyl to make it thicker, and feel softer like leather. Vinyl products like the Rubber-Duc™ shown above consist of a hot coated vinyl over the polyester substrate. This coating proccess makes the vinyl bond better to the polyester substrate preventing delamination of the vinyl from the substrate under normal conditions and wear and tear.
The Rubber-Duc™ vinyl shown above is excellent for making tarps and tents becuase of it's durable water proof construction , its flexability in cold temperatures and it's fire resistance rating. For a really heavy duty construction, reinforce all seams and hems in your project with nylon webbing. Use high quality Brass Grommets, and always use Heavy Duty Nylon Sewing Thread.
Vinyl is used in many different applications from tarps and bags, to table cloths and tents. There is also a vinyl that is formulated with a special material that makes it block infrared light, this IR Blocking Vinyl is used almost exlusively by the military.
Clear Vinyl is also a common form of vinyl, it comes in several different thicknesses and finishes and is crystal clear, weather resistant so it makes great windows for tents and patio and porch enclosures.
Usually the Polyester is the substrate or backing for vinyl but this Polyester Backed Vinyl has just the opposite construction: the Polyester is actually the front of the material intended to be visible when manufactured into a textile product, the Vinyl backing gives the material a stiff hand and makes it completely waterproof. Of course, as with any material that is water proof, to maintain waterproof integrity, the material must be handled and sewn in a way to preserve it's waterproof qualities, like glueing instead of sewing, or using a silicon cualking over stitching points to fill the holes made by the sewing needle.
Vinyl coated Mesh is also also considered a vinyl fabric, it can be made by hot dipping a fiber mesh into vinyl, or by coating the fiber by running it through molten vinyl, usually polyester or nylon; before weaving it into mesh.
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