Registered ISO 9001: 2015

For Design & Manufacture of Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Tapes & Films

What Is Tape Made Out Of?

Before the invention of adhesive tape, epoxies and glue sealed or secured substrates. While these tools are still in use, there was a need for a simple and discreet way to adhere objects together or protect surfaces from damage.

Cohesion, in which molecules stick to one another, is a form of attachment that supports adhesion in holding materials together. Adhesive tape uses both concepts to create a solid physical bond between substrates.

When it comes to how tape is made, there are three main components depending on the type of tape: the base material, the adhesive layer, and the release liner. By exploring how these components work together, we can uncover the primary function of each kind of adhesive tape.

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Base Material

Adhesive tapes have a carrier, backing, or base material, which serves as the tape's foundation. This is a thin, flexible material that is made from cloth, foam, paper, or plastic film. The base material directly influences the tape's durability and resistance to environmental factors while supporting its functionality. For example, vinyl-backed tape is resistant to moisture, making it a smart choice for electrical applications.


Adhesive Layer

The tacky side, or adhesive layer, is coated onto the backing material, and its properties can range from permanent to removable to long-term adhesives. There are three main substrates to consider, each with its own benefits and unique characteristics:

  • Acrylic adhesive: This high-performance adhesive is made from polymerized acrylic monomers, making it resistant to chemicals, oxidation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and high temperatures. The initial bond strengthens as it sets for an ideal long-term bonding solution.
  • Rubber adhesive: This is a cost-effective adhesive that suits room-temperature and low-stress applications. UV radiation and heat can adversely affect this substance, impacting its performance. It is often used in masking, carton sealing, or duct tape and can contain natural or synthetic rubber.
  • Silicone adhesive: The high cost of this adhesive is justified by several impressive benefits. This adhesive can withstand extreme temperatures, chemicals, and UV radiation. Although its initial bond strength is low, it increases significantly over time.


How Adhesive Tape Is Made

The adhesive tape manufacturing process involves the careful selection of materials as well as a precise process to create these products. Manufacturers start by selecting the raw materials, often polypropylene or polyethylene, to serve as the base material. Next, the adhesive material—acrylic, rubber, or silicone—is selected.

The plastic is melted and driven through a die, creating a thin, continuous film to form the tape's base material. The film is stretched and cooled until it reaches the right thickness. The adhesive is applied to the backing material through a process called coating, with the help of either hot melt or solvent-based techniques. The tape goes through a drying or curing process before it is rolled onto spools.


The Tackiness Test

Tackiness refers to adhesive tape's ability to adhere to substrates with minimal pressure. There are two quality control tests that assess tape's tackiness:

  • Loop tack test: This is a quantitative and repeatable tackiness test in which a loop of adhesive tape sticks to the tensile tester machine's probe. This records tensile strength in numerical values.
  • Rolling ball test: This method uses a steel ball that rolls from the top of an incline over a track made of the sticky side of the tape. The shorter the distance the ball rolls, the better the tack quality.

Styles of Adhesive Tapes

The arrangement of the base of the adhesive tape material, the adhesive itself, and the release liner determines the right category for a specific tape. Double-coated and adhesive transfer tapes feature the release liner, which is peeled off before bonding it to a substrate. This liner preserves tackiness by preventing particles from sticking to the tape before use, as well as simplifying storage by rolling the tape.

Adhesive tapes can be:

  • Single-coated tape: This is the most basic composition found in adhesive tapes, where the adhesive film sits on one side of the carrier, like in duct tape.
  • Double-coated tape: This adhesive tape consists of the backing material and adhesive applied to both sides. It has a release liner that separates these adhesive layers.
  • Adhesive transfer tape: This is an adhesive tape that allows for seamless, discrete bonding of two materials, similar to double-coated. The difference here is that the adhesive transfer tape is thinner.


Types of Adhesive Tapes

Adhesive tapes come in a variety of formats. Packing, masking, strapping, and safety tape are just a few commercial examples. What differentiates one type of adhesive tape from another is how it adheres to substrates:

  • Heat-activated tape: Tack activates after exposure to a heat source. This adhesive bonds well to rubber, PVC-based materials, and ethylene propylene-diene monomer (EPDM).
  • Water-activated tape: This gummed tape is a starch glue-based adhesive that adheres to the back of kraft paper and becomes tacky when moisture is lightly applied. It is often put to use in sealing or closing boxes.
  • Non-adhesive tapes: This product is self-adhered and available as films or laminates. One example is PTFE thread-sealing tape.
  • Pressure-sensitive adhesives: PSA tape is tacky at room temperature, adhering to various surfaces. This product does not require heat or moisture to perform.


Benefits of Adhesive Tape

The many kinds of tape offer a variety of benefits compared to using glue or other fastening components. Consider these perks of adhesive tape:

  • Stress-free bond: Adhesive tape does not create stress points like traditional mechanical fastening components such as screws and staples.
  • No curing is necessary: Pressure-sensitive adhesive tape can adhere to a substrate without heat or an extended curing time.
  • Highly versatile: Adhesive tapes can join two materials, mend holes, seal openings, protect surfaces from abrasions, and label objects.
  • Very convenient: There are no special tool requirements when applying adhesive tape. The process is as simple as cutting and sticking.
  • Clean bond: Pressure-sensitive adhesive tape produces mess-free bonding, unlike liquid adhesives.


Industrial Tape at Your Fingertips

Whether you use adhesive tape in crafting, packaging, or industrial settings like the electrical, medical, or food and beverage sectors, adhesive tape is often essential for many applications. It provides the convenience of affixing substrates, sealing materials, and much more.

Magnum Tapes & Films specializes in general-purpose tapes for various needs, using rubber and acrylic-based adhesive systems to suit your requirements. We manufacture high-quality film products and adhesive tape quickly and efficiently at our state-of-the-art facility. Contact us today to place your custom order of PSA tape.

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