Before there was a Tech-Patch, there was the “Eureka” moment of the Polymer Bonding Process (Process). With the Process, you can bond any polymer to itself, to any other polymer and/or to almost any other substrate. After the Eureka moment we were testing the Process against any polymer that we could find, but we were still doing trade shows. It was at a trade show that we got the request for a patch. The Eureka moment occurred in November, 2016, while the request came in January, 2017.
What was the request? … the challenging request?
At a trade show in Pittsburgh, one gentleman watched the speed and versatility of the Process during bonding demonstrations for a lengthy period of time. Finally, he came up and asked a series of questions. Then he introduced himself and made the request. He was a Hazmat supervisor for Allegany County and wondered if we could develop a patch that could be used to stop active gasoline leaks. These leaks occur in the tankers used to deliver gas to service stations.
Apparently, these leaks are a common problem, not only in Pittsburgh, but across the country. No one has been able to develop an efficient way to stop the leak.. With gasoline spilling out on the ground. any solution must be quick, the faster the better. Loving challenges, I said that we would try and find a solution. It was immediately obvious that any solution would need to involve a flexible polymer, of which there are many. We started by testing various silicones, nitrile, buMA, poly-vinyl, butadiene, etc.
None of the above met are requirements for fuel resistance. Eventually, we identified the polymer that was resistant to gasoline, fluorosilicone (FVMQ). Fluorosilicone is used by the automotive, avaition and aerospace industries in high stress environments. Our testing proved that FVMQ was highly resistant to gasoline.
What gives fluorosilicone it’s outstanding durability? The fact that the fluorosilicone’s surface is reinforced by polyfluoroalkyl side groups. Translation,? In essence, fluorosilicone’s surfaced is reinforced with another poly. FVMQ aced all of our tests, as it has done in other industries. But, initially, we did not perform one critical test. More on this later.
Once we found the right flexible polymer,fluorosilione, we developed prototype and the necessary application procedure. Occasionally, four hands will be necessary for a repair. More importantly, the Hazmat patch solution would require a molded patch. At this early point of our journey, we did not have the time an money to purchase and test molded patches.
The design of the Tech-Patch
Yet we had a patch that would stop gasoline leaks, in plastic tanks and metal tanks. We knew there was a need for such a patch in the marketplace. So we designed our first Tech-Patch and made our first video, shown below.
As you see, our first Tech-Patch design included tension tabs. Conceptually they solved the problem of the adhesive running onto fingers, hands and clothes, not a fun result. But cutting the tabs proved difficult as well as being wasteful. We solved the runniness problem by using SI Black, our thicker adhesive and, by necessity, we eliminated the tabs. Our application process now calls for the adhesive to cover the entire patch, EXCEPT for diagonal corners. To apply the patch, grab those corners, apply tension and press the patch on the problem area.
By the way, the Tech-Patch above was put on the above plastic tank in May of 2017 and the tank was filled with gas. Since then the filled tank has been outside in the heat and sunlight a couple of dozen times. Of course, the tank ballooned, but not a drop of gas has leaked.
In limited testing, oOur Tech-Patches worked beautifully for a couple of years. Until they didn’t. All of a sudden, there was a problem, in Australia, Gasoline ate through a patch in short order. Why? the vehicle used a premium, high octane gasoline. Since thirty percent of all vehicles in the US use premium fuels, we had to find a solution that would work with high octane gasolines and high cetane diesel fuels. Collectively, high octane gasolines and high cetane diesels are called aromatic fuels.
What polymer is impervious or highly resistant to aromatic fuels?
There were only a few possibilities. Only one polymer, Teflon (PTFE), passed our tests. After we tested everything that was available in the US, we went to China and found a flexible PTFE tape. That tape has worked. Our PTFE tape has passed every test that we and our customers subjected it to. What makes all of our Tech-Patches so effective is the Process. To illustrate the effectiveness of the Process, poly-to-poly bonds rival the wood-to-wood bonds that woodworkers get from Titebond.
Below is our PTFE Tech-Patch videooming
Types of Tech-Patches
Based on the variety of challenges where Tech-Patches are a solution, we’ve had to develop three varieties of Tech-Patches, as follows;
- G Series Tech-Patch – Our G Series Tech-Patch is the original patch and it works extremely well, with some limitations. Those limitations are the ability to withstand aromatic fuels and, secondly, having the ability to withstand higher pressures. G Series patches are rated at 40 psi.
- PTFE Tech-Patches – We recommend the PTFE Tech-Patch for the repair of all gas tanks whether the vehicle uses regular or premium gas.
- XT Tech-Patch – XT Tech-Patches are abraded on one side which allows the XT patch to have a better “grip”. With that abrasion, XT Tech-Patches are rated at 120 psi on a steel pipe. In our opinion, psi ratings on other substrates will be higher.
Tech-Patches are the first what we call “Global Solutions”
Leaky tanks and leaky pipes are not only a major problem in the transportation industry, but also in the dairy, irrigation and horticulture industries, among others. Tech patches are a global solution for all of these these problems. To a lesser degree, Tech-Patches will solve problems in the single family home and multi-family unit markets. In many cases the savings in repair time by using a patch equals the cost savings.
Our patented Process offers a way to provide global solutions for a number of worldwide issues. The second global solutions has been identified. (It’s not the Hazmat patch). The Process story is just starting.