Very often the early solidification of sealants is due to contamination by other liquids.
The most common reasons for polymerization of latex sealants (synthetic or natural) can be divided into two groups:
- physical (related to temperature changes, evaporation, etc.);
- a sudden temperature drop, e.g. when using CO2 cartridges, as described here;
- a quick evaporation, e.g. when the sealant comes out from a puncture in the tyre. In this case the sudden solidification is a desired feature, but it can also be triggered without noticing, like in the “hair-dryer effect” described here.
- a change of the sealant pH.
Let’s talk about the chemical aspect.
Any sealant has a specific pH value and it mostly remains liquid as long as the pH doesn’t change. The easiest way to change its pH is mixing the sealant with other liquids.
We call these liquids ‘sealant contaminants’, with a negative connotation, because their addition is normally unwanted. By contrast, Caffélatex ZOT! Nano takes advantage of a sudden pH variation on purpose, in order to instantly repair damages to the tyre.
The easiest way to contaminate a sealant is by adding other sealants: contrary to popular belief, randomly mixing sealants is unlikely to give the ‘silver bullet’ of puncture protection; most of the time this mix does anything but shorten the lifespan of the sealants.
In addition to these deliberate mixtures, it happens sometimes to mix sealants unintentionally:
- by pouring a sealant into a tyre already partially filled with another liquid sealant (to be safe, it’s always better to remove the tyre, wash it with water, dry it out, and then add the sealant);
- using an inflate & repair cartridge, the resulting sealant will have an unpredictable lifespan (unless cartridge sealant and tyre sealant have the same formula, like our Espresso or Espresso Doppio cartridges and Caffélatex).
Generally speaking, mixing different sealants during a ride it’s not a problem, because the sealant mix still works enough to potentially repairing the puncture. Anyway, once back home it’s always better to wash away the remaining sealant, then pour fresh sealant.
Glitters or other solid fillers (like our Vitamina CL) do not chemically influence the sealant, although they could have a negative effect when not properly mixed.
Soapy water is another common contamination cause: it’s ok to wet the tyre beads to get a better seal and achieve an easier inflation, but the risk is to use too much water and/or the wrong product. Dishwashing liquids or kitchen detergents usually shorten the sealant lifespan. Furthermore, if too much soapy water remains inside the tyres and mixes with the sealant, it will reduce the ability of the sealant to repair the punctures.
We recommend using specific tyre-mounting products or mild hand soaps.
To verify the compatibility, pour some drops of detergent on a teaspoon of sealant and let it rest for a few minutes: if the sealant turns solid, use a different soap.