flute pad materials

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stormfluter
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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:51 am

flute pad materials

Post by stormfluter »

There’s a question about flute pads I’ve always wanted to ask, but I was too embarrassed that it might sound ridiculous. That is, why is it that they have to be so fragile? Surely there must be a material out there that is durable and resistant to moisture damage while not sticking. Like certain silicone, for example, can be a soft velvety texture that isn’t sticky at all.

I know the music world can be highly superstitious so if the reason is something about resonance I’m sorry I won’t hear it. For me at least the pros would outweigh that supposed con.

If I knew where to begin, I’d use my retired student flute to experiment on. That said if my reasoning is absurd please tell me. I guess back in marching band I was just always jealous of the brass players who didn’t have to scramble at the first sign of rain while the director insisted we could still practice! haha

Gordon Shumway
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:41 am
Location: london, england

Re: flute pad materials

Post by Gordon Shumway »

I'm intrigued. Silicone sounds interesting.

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JButky
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:21 pm
Location: Mt. Juliet

Re: flute pad materials

Post by JButky »

You are probably looking for something like the omni pad. This a simple closed cell foam flute pad with no skin.

There are some degradation problems with them reacting to silver but they might be an alternative for you>

http://krausmusic.com/omnipad/omniflut.htm
Joe B

Gordon Shumway
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:41 am
Location: london, england

Re: flute pad materials

Post by Gordon Shumway »

JButky wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 3:45 pm
There are some degradation problems with them reacting to silver
Yes, now that you mention it, if I remember rightly, people sometimes used rubber bands when a spring broke, but that's not a good idea, as rubber bands contain sulfur and this can react with silver. (might be something to do with sulfuric acid, or that may be why non-acid-free paper goes brown). Silicone rubber contains lots of hydrogen (even assuming they get rid of all that HCl), and that's the basis of acids, so that could make silicone a no-go.

But are flute pads fragile? I don't recall ever having to get any oboe pads replaced, although I probably took it close to the edge.
I wanted to be a juvenile delinquent, but my parents wouldn't let me.

woodpad
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2022 3:28 pm

Re: flute pad materials

Post by woodpad »

A long time ago I noticed that the classic pads with skins are climate sensitive. In wet and warm circumstances fungi love the protein present in the skins and start eating. A climate can also be too dry for the skins to seal propperly. In such circumstances you look at alternatives. plastics can seal, but they are not adaptive as skins. Skins can make a better seal by wet molding. When new pads are placed in a flute the pads are given a few drops of clean water, closed with a light force and placed in a flute oven for a short time. This improves the seal of the pads dramatically.

This happen on a nano scale. This is way smaller than the irregularities on the tone holes , so it can compensate these irregularities partly. When using artificial polymers without a comparable molding process you need to deform the pads more during playing by pressing the keys. This gives an more squishy feel. When using gold as the sealing material you can reach a comparable, though expensive seal.

So I am working on a process to mold artificial polymers on the toneholes under pressure to achieve a comparable seal. I know that this process will never be popular in the classic world, but it can be usefull in extreme climates.

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