AirTime in Hood River have a new lighter & stronger bladder material they are releasing - details at www.kiteforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2348408&sid=e79da44ffef297410d112b73a9c3f2c5&start=10 .
Claims are it’s 35 - 45% lighter than standard TPU bladders. With OR bladders at 0.005” thick isntead of the more common 0.003”, the weight savings could be up around 60% of the weight of current OR bladders. Maybe in 14 & 16 m2 kites OR is now using 0.003 material, so the weight savings isn’t so dramatic.
Anyway, still worth investigating. AirTime claims they have been testing it for 1 year in all possible conditions. Will we be seeing this stuff in OR kites anytime soon ?
Greg - very interesting indeed. I have forwarded this to the appropriate people.
I’ve said for years that bladder technology will lead to drastic changes in our kites as they account for so much of the weight of the kite. If we could ever figure out how to make a bladder out of latex (so far impossible as latex is a dip mold process and can not be welded so valves would never be able to be applied) we would be able to cut the weight of our kites down significantly.
could we not just tie a not in the end as per instuctions on most condom packs!!
Ocean Rodeo Rep Ireland
This comment is from another forum i visit…...
“Interesting… Just a few thoughts from my sailing background from dealing with ultralight films in sails.
Being made of mylar/tedlar/plastic I question its longevity. Sand will chew through it pretty quick. If you watch the very end of the video the bladder was just shy of blowing, it will not “herniate” in the event of a l.e. or strut failure like the latex bladders. Flexion(folding) failure will be a problem with such a thin and stiff(read “brittle) product. Repairable?
I do like the idea of less weight but question how much can be saved and at what cost. “Heavy” and “Lighter” are very relative terms. If they are half the price of standard bladders then there are some pluses.
Not knocking it, just questioning the “Hype”.
I love to Kiteboard
Trevor Salmon is right to question the “hype’ around it, the claim of increased bladder stiffness in the kite is probably hype.
Durability is the big unknown. AirTime claims to have tested it around the world for > 1 year & > 100 sessions. Will it last 2, 3, 5 years, good question.
If AirTime did material property tests on the 1 year/100 session bladders then they should be able to predict with confidence whether the new material will last. Releasing it as a commercial product shows confidence.
From JZ’s post sounds like this is news to the OR design team.
I think I know where the stiffness claim comes from: as the bladder is inflated, it is pressed to the fabric of the struts and LE, so some friction will occur there. Even with a couple of creases it will probably add a smidgen to the stiffness of the strut, since the orange stuff is not very flexible. However, it’s quite unpredictable were the stiffness goes, unless you can manage the pattern of the creases.
This behavior should be a source of concern because the friction to the dacron is a potential cause of wear. In engineering you avoid mechanical stress on seals - which in fact a bladder is.
Watching the vid did not leave me highly convinced, the bulging in the end sort of undid the whole euphoria.
But they could have edited this out, so maybe altogether they are on to something hot!
With a kite that can pull you at 40mph, yank you 40ft into the air,...what noticable difference is a reduction of a few hundred grams going to make?
I’ve often wondered about companies that promote their lightweight control bars. I’ve never had to hold mine up, or fight gravity against the bar’s weight, it is always pulling up…
If it doesn’t blow it sucks!
a few hundred grams
Lighter bladders are only of importance for light wind kites.
Those that live in consistently windy places don’t have to bother with marginal conditions, but for others, a lot of riding is done on big kites and boards. These are the folks interested in reduced kite weight, for their 12, 14, or 16m.
Well, I had a very interesting meeting with Casey from Airtime today - a great guy.
We will be testing the new bladders to see if there is a noticeable improvement in performance of the kites. As Big Bamboo says it would seem funny if a pound of weight could affect the kite’s performance but we suspect it will. Certainly the swing weight of a kite will affect its turning speeds and stability.
I’ll post again once we’ve had a chance to fly them. As for longevity, Casey claims to have 100’s of hours in different weather (hot, cold, etc) showing that the material stands up in all conditions.
I’ll keep you posted!
Not only for light wind kites. It should increase turning performance as well. So I suspect real good results on Rise 10, 12, 14, 16
Everything smaller might be actually better to have the added weight of the standard bladders.
Well, we’ve picked them up and will be testing them shortly. They are about 2/3 the weight of the standard bladders (we’ve weighted them at least!)
More to come…
Any news regarding the new Airtime bladders???