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Rubber Cement Vs Vulcanizing Fluid

Rubber Cement Vs Vulcanizing Fluid

Rubber Cement and Vulcanizing Fluids for Patching Tire Tubes

At some point in time, there may be a need to remedy a small leak or a burst to your tire tubes. Therefore, adhesives made up of rubber cement or vulcanizing fluids are common products used to patch tire tubes and make them useful again.

Although they may serve the same purpose, they are different in composition and how they work. In this article, we are going to walk you through the difference between rubber cement and vulcanizing fluid and why it is not advisable to use rubber cement adhesive on bike tubes.


What is Rubber Cement?

Rubber cement is sometimes sold in stationery stores. It is an adhesive which is mostly made from an elastic polymer, particularly latex, and mixed with solvents such as hexane, toluene, acetone, or heptane. More often than not, the mixture is not strong enough to perform an effective patch work on your tires.  To add to the confusion, some bike repair kits come with a “rubber cement” that is actually self-vulcanizing fluid. These are really the “vulcanizing fluid” products that you should be using.


What is Vulcanizing Fluid?

Vulcanizing fluid is another adhesive that is used in making cross-links in materials made of rubbers. They are fast-drying adhesives that can be used with or without heat.


How do Rubber Cement and Vulcanizing Fluid Work?

Rubber cement and vulcanizing fluid are adhesives that are used in patching up rubber components. They are both made up of elastic polymers like Gum Arabic, which, when dissolved in volatile solvents like benzene or acetone, give them the property of hardening and cross-linking broken rubber parts, upon the evaporation of the volatile solvent.

Tire tubes are made of vulcanized rubber, which is precisely the components these adhesives have to work with to produce a significant effect. After the application of the adhesive, the tire tube gets reformed with bonds to the polymer in the glue. Upon evaporation of the volatile solvents, the inner side of the glue must have wholly bonded with the tire tube, leaving you with a choice of peeling off the outside remnant or leaving it to wear off.

Rubber Cement Vs Vulcanizing Fluid

Why You Shouldn’t Use Rubber Cement to Patch Up Bike Tubes

Most bike tubes contain rubber components that are not very strong. Rubber cement is not particularly effective at patching tire tubes, and may even cause rubber components to break down, thereby damaging them for further usage.


The Best Solution is a Patch Kit

The patch kit is otherwise known as the service/ repair kit. These are a set of tools and spare parts that are used in the repair of tire tubes. They can be kept in the vehicle and moved around to ensure an on-the-spot repair. The components of the patch kit vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. A typical patch tool contains tire levers, sandpapers to make the affected area clean, a vulcanizing fluid, a wax crayon to mark the affected area, and a metal grater.