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Thread: Sinking in a silicone tail ???

  1. #1

    Sinking in a silicone tail ???

    Ok so Iíve seen posts and videos where mermaids mention problems sinking in their silicone tails. I have not gotten my silicone tail yet. So I have not experienced this problem. I would think since silicone is so heavy on land it would more likely sink you then float you. Can someone explain why the silicone tails float. What problems you have sinking. How to fix them and where to get a weight belt to match your mermaid tail???

    thank you all

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Merman Storm's Avatar
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    Silicone has a specific gravity of 1.07. Water has a specific gravity of 1.00. The difference is 0.07. What that means is a tail will weigh, underwater, 0.07 / 1.07 = 6.5% of what it weighs out of the water. A 30 pound tail will only weigh you down by 2 pounds once you are under water. Most people are naturally buoyant by more than that, so even with a tail you should float.

    Many mers who want to swim comfortably under water will use weights. I have a set of bracelets I wear to make myself less buoyant. Others cast solder into shells, and make them into a weight belt.
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  3. #3
    Typically they are neutrally buoyant, I believe, but if they have no drainage holes it will collect water and become heavier.


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    Honestly, It's like what everyone else said. It's an issue of buoyancy. Divers use weights to change their buoyancy in the water. It's possible a tail can have a similar effect. This can be a good thing. I'm not an expert on diving, but I think the weight can make you more stable in the water.

    Personally, Florida has a boil that pushes out water with significant force. With a silicone tail, I can not only dive into the boil, but the force of water doesn't affect me unless I'm moving. At least that's what it feels like.

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    I'm going to be making a video about this shortly!

    There are a few ways to do it, but they honestly do not always consider safety. I am working with AIDA to try and come up with safe standards to help mers sink with weights but also be able to ditch the weights in an emergency. Currently a lot of us (my self included) put weights in our tails for the best effect. (when regular swimming weights on waist work best but for many of us the tail needs weight lower to work)

    I'll post a thread, I am just working with actual professionals so I'm on their schedule

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    It's important to note that a tail's weight is not what changes in water. Astronauts train underwater because underwater is the closest thing to zero gravity. Living in Florida, I've spent enough time close to NASA to know. So, it's more like the force of gravity on the tail is different in the water.

    Since matter can neither be created nor destroyed, the actual weight isn't what changes. Mass in terms of weight is always the same. It's a law of nature. Weight is a measurement taken using the force of gravity.

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    Last edited by Merman Dylan Zalrian; 10-30-2017 at 01:49 PM.

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    Actually, weight does work differently in water.
    https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-wei...han-in-the-air
    https://kinderart.com/blog/weigh-less-water/
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...t-temperature/

    A silicone tail feels much heavier on land than it does in water. It varies from tail to tail and how porous they are, and how much air is trapped inside the silicone. Most are positively buoyant. This is also something we tested in our study from Dalhousie University. Larger fluked silicone tails floated more, and had much more drag. Hence why tails like that end up needing the weight distribution lower. In addition, once you get deeper pressure takes over and compresses air pockets. So a tail that is bouyant at a certain depth, will actually be negative once you're passed a certain point

    https://www.scubatoys.com/education/boyle1.asp

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    Anyway OP the long story short of it is that different materials will be bouyant in water. For silicone tails, the amount of air trapped within the silicone itself is a contributing factor. (some tail makers use a machine that takes the air out!) it also will depend on your own body density too. You wont really know what you need to sink until you get to experience how YOU float or sink in a tail. If you float, there are techniques that can be used to determine how much weight you need, and how to use it safely.

    so don't stress!

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    hey storm did you buy the wrist weights or make them? My freediving instructors suggested adapting freediving neck weights for mermaids.

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    Senior Member Pod of Cali Merman Storm's Avatar
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    There are tiny air bubbles in a typical silicone tail, trapped inside the material? I did not know that. Oddly, Smooth-on says one of the advantages of Dragon Skin is no vacuum degassing is needed!

    Although a tail is virtually weightless under water, it still has its mass. The swimmer will be effected by this mass, and it can make swimming harder. If the tail does not drain well and fills with extra water, the mass increases and can make swimming even harder. If you are trying to reach the surface, this could feel like you are being weighted down, but that's not what's happening. The mass of the tail and its water load is making it harder to swim.

    This is one reason why its best if your first tail is not a silicone tail.
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    Senior Member Pod of Cali Saelyyia's Avatar
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    thanks for the math you shared at the start of the thread Storm, I found that really interested because I was always a bit curious about the formula to figuring that out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satine View Post
    Ok so I’ve seen posts and videos where mermaids mention problems sinking in their silicone tails. I have not gotten my silicone tail yet. So I have not experienced this problem. I would think since silicone is so heavy on land it would more likely sink you then float you. Can someone explain why the silicone tails float. What problems you have sinking. How to fix them and where to get a weight belt to match your mermaid tail???

    thank you all
    As someone who has her first silicone tail on order I am greatly curious about the different weighting methods and what is most effective for each time of swimming.

    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    I'm going to be making a video about this shortly!

    There are a few ways to do it, but they honestly do not always consider safety. I am working with AIDA to try and come up with safe standards to help mers sink with weights but also be able to ditch the weights in an emergency. Currently a lot of us (my self included) put weights in our tails for the best effect. (when regular swimming weights on waist work best but for many of us the tail needs weight lower to work)

    I'll post a thread, I am just working with actual professionals so I'm on their schedule
    Raina, I think it is great that you are putting in so much work to find safer ways for us as a community to more safely participate successfully in the world of mermaiding. (Also Congratulations on your recent certification).

    I would love to know more about how you go about weighting the lower portion of your tail. If I recall you touched on this many moons ago in some of your Vlogs, unfortunately I do not remember which one or I would link it for the OP to take a look at. Perhaps you could help me out and remind us which video title that was for anyone newer who is looking?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merman Storm View Post
    There are tiny air bubbles in a typical silicone tail, trapped inside the material? I did not know that. Oddly, Smooth-on says one of the advantages of Dragon Skin is no vacuum degassing is needed!

    Although a tail is virtually weightless under water, it still has its mass. The swimmer will be effected by this mass, and it can make swimming harder. If the tail does not drain well and fills with extra water, the mass increases and can make swimming even harder. If you are trying to reach the surface, this could feel like you are being weighted down, but that's not what's happening. The mass of the tail and its water load is making it harder to swim.

    This is one reason why its best if your first tail is not a silicone tail.
    Yeah but I think that's only if you JUST use their silicone Most tail makers use different things to "cut" the silicone. I know all of my tails have a significant amount of air bubbles, and I see them in Finfolk and Mertailor too. (de-gasser! I couldn't remember the word)

    And YES to everything you've said! I totally forgot to mention about drainage vs no drainage.

    I would love to know more about how you go about weighting the lower portion of your tail. If I recall you touched on this many moons ago in some of your Vlogs, unfortunately I do not remember which one or I would link it for the OP to take a look at. Perhaps you could help me out and remind us which video title that was for anyone newer who is looking?


    Oh gosh I am not sure which one but it needs to be overhauled and updated anyway. I learned so so so much from my freediving instructors and they want to work with me to help get this information out in the mer community! For instance they wanna give me a workshop on how to make neck weights and adapt them for mermaids before I explain them to the community.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Storm, the bubbles in the Dragonskin silicone are minimal. The buoyancy variations would be negligible.

    Sorry (not sorry) about my previous post. I often find myself enraged by stupidity.

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    Storm, the bubbles in the Dragonskin silicone are minimal. The buoyancy variations would be negligible.


    I dunno Pearlie! It was one of the things Dalhousie looked at as a contributing factor Not THE factor but when you add it in with everything else. I think they compared the density of it with a piece of solid dragonskin

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    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    I dunno Pearlie! It was one of the things Dalhousie looked at as a contributing factor Not THE factor but when you add it in with everything else. I think they compared the density of it with a piece of solid dragonskin[/COLOR]
    I was just speaking from my experience hand-mixing silicone for scales. I build my tails one ounce at a time and the bubbles I get are minuscule.

    I forget - are we factoring in human buoyancy?

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    Yeah Pearlie I had mentioned it! edit: it may be diff for each scale, I've only has experience with scale sheets

    In freediving they said it can vary so much from person to person. From body composition (fat and muscle) to bone density, and even water retention. I think people who freedive competitively really micromanage and consider every tiny little thing so it may be overkill for mermaids haha. but interesting to consider.

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    Senior Member Pod of Cali Saelyyia's Avatar
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    I'm a bit curious about something overall. Does the traditional style of tail with the solid pour body end up having more bubbles then over time compared to Pearlie's method of doing the individual scales?
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    I only just considered that when pearlie mentioned it. Personally, I think poured silicone must have more but I have no proof to back it up. Interesting to consider tho

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    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    I doubt it. When I coat the inside of the tail and outside of the scales, I probably seal in a lot of bubbles in the spaces, whereas a solid scale sheet wouldn't be prone to bubbles at all. Once the silicone sets, there'd be no additional bubbles over time.

    Funny thing, personally, I float like a cork, but in my tail, my fluke seems to want to rise up and there's a polycarbonate fin inside! I still can't figure it out.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Merman Storm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlieMae View Post
    I doubt it. When I coat the inside of the tail and outside of the scales, I probably seal in a lot of bubbles in the spaces, whereas a solid scale sheet wouldn't be prone to bubbles at all. Once the silicone sets, there'd be no additional bubbles over time.

    Funny thing, personally, I float like a cork, but in my tail, my fluke seems to want to rise up and there's a polycarbonate fin inside! I still can't figure it out.
    Could there be some trapped bubbles that did not come out, mostly concentrated near, or in, the fluke?

    In the aircraft world, we talk about "nose heavy" and "tail heavy". Here I guess we need to add "nose light " and "tail light" to properly describe how a swimmer wearing a tail floats or sinks.
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