Spotlight on Hot Air Balloon Fabric
Since the dawn of hot air ballooning, the quality of fabric has played a pivotal role in its performance and durability.
by Cameron Balloons
A Brief History of Nylon Fabric
Since the dawn of hot air ballooning, the quality of fabric has played a pivotal role in its performance and durability. Originating in the laboratories of DuPont in the 1930s, nylon quickly became synonymous with strength, versatility, and durability.
The Alchemy of Nylon Production
Nylon, a synthetic polymer, undergoes a fascinating process of creation. It starts with the polymerisation of petrochemicals, typically derived from crude oil. The resultant polymer is then melted and extruded through spinnerets to form long strands. These strands, known as nylon filaments, are drawn, and cooled to achieve the desired strength and elasticity.
This yarn is then woven into huge rolls of sheet fabric using Cameron Balloons' specified ‘recipe’ of threads – this adds our characteristic grid of ‘rip-stop’ thicker criss-cross threads which increases both the tear and overall strength. The fabric is then colour-dyed to one of our 23 standard colours, or a customer specified special colour.
Cameron Balloons Fabric Coatings
The Cameron recipe of aliphatic-polyurethane coating, delays fabric porosity onset - meaning it helps envelopes last longer and use less fuel. It also repels water and deters the formation of moulds that can discolour and weaken fabrics. The coating also allows the fabric to be packed away in a compact manner, making life much easier for crew and pilots.
The design engineers also incorporate an additive which acts as a neutraliser of ultra-violet light energy, working to protect individual fibres in the yarn from degradation; something designed specifically for aeronautical textiles. This enables our hot-air balloon nylon fabric to offer much better resistance to harsh UV.
Breaking Down Hyperlast Nylon Fabric
In the quest for innovation, Hyperlast nylon fabric is a pioneering solution. The marriage of traditional nylon with an elastomeric coating has birthed a fabric that redefines durability and performance. The coating enhances the fabric's elasticity, offering superior resistance to punctures and abrasions. This results in a fabric that not only withstands the rigors of ballooning but also excels in challenging conditions.
Hyperlast nylon's exceptional UV resistance further contributes to its longevity.
Unveiling Superlight Fabric
As the demand for higher altitudes and increased fuel efficiency grows, Superlight fabric emerges as tour-de-force in hot air balloon design. Engineered with a focus on minimising weight without sacrificing structural integrity, Superlight fabric propels balloons to greater heights while optimising fuel consumption.
The secret lies in the meticulous composition of the fabric, striking a delicate balance between strength and weight.
A Kaleidoscope of Colours: Special Dye Options for Balloon Fabrics
Fabric can now be customised with a myriad of special dye colours, adding a touch of personalisation and vibrancy to each balloon. From radiant reds to tranquil blues and captivating purples, the spectrum of dye options allows balloonists and brands to express their individuality.