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  • Writer's pictureAbdullah Khan

How To Understand An Adhesive Tape Spec Sheet

For engineers and general contractors, both the tape sample and the specification sheet should be closely reviewed when considering their uses. But what detail does the specification sheet provide and how can the maximum benefit be derived? Here’s what you need to look for, whether it’s high-bond foam tape, stucco tape or industrial-strength construction-grade duct tape:

    • Construction properties: The specification sheet will initially provide an accurate verbal description of the tape’s construction as well as a summary of its properties. By this information alone, you will know whether or not this is the kind of tape needed.

    • Versatility: Adhesive tape is highly versatile, and any individual tape can prove to have many other uses than were intended when it was first designed. A pressure-sensitive tape consists of one or more soft amorphous broad molecular weight polymers and often contains several other chemicals. Because of this, even though it is manufactured to tight quality-control specifications, it can’t be manufactured to the precision expected of an accurately machined metal part.

    • Adhesive type: A natural rubber-based system is the general-purpose workhorse type of tape, but if you have special needs from your tape – such as long-term aging, resistance to ultraviolet light, or non-corrosive properties – you will need to look for the higher performance acrylic. The adhesion level quoted is determined in a test environment (on a steel surface) in a very specific way, so your own end-use probably won’t duplicate this. But the specifications should serve as a helpful guide to what level of adhesion you can expect when compared to the adhesion quotes of other tapes.

    • Tensile strength and elongation information: The relationship between the tensile strength quoted and its elongation is far from linear, but you can get a rough estimate of the elongation expected when the typical slight application tensile force of less than a pound or two is applied to the tape. With plastic films, this stretch will be elastic and the tape will want to recover, but with paper, it will be “dead stretch” with no recovery.

    • Temperature limits: Where the tape is intended for a higher temperature operation, the upper temperature limit will be quoted. Note however there is no tolerance with the upper working temperature, so the tape should not be used above this quote.

  • Resistance to shear: The resistance to shear (minimized effect of adhesive bleed or the “oozing” of adhesive beyond the tape) will also be given when it is key to good performance.

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