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Selecting the Right Adhesive Tape

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tapesReference1When selecting a Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA), specific characteristics of the materials, environmental factors, application conditions, cost concerns, and the required bonding performance all need to be considered.

Key Considerations

Substrates or surfaces vary widely though you should pay attention to a few key attributes regarding adhesive tapes:

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tapesReference4tapesReference3Surface Energy - The strength of attraction between two surfaces is determined by the surface energy of the material.  The higher the surface energy, the greater the molecular bond.  The lower the surface energy, the weaker the attractive forces.

High Surface Energy (HSE) materials allow the adhesive to flow or “wet out” for a stronger bond. For example, when it rains on an unwaxed car, the water spreads out creating puddles. In this case, the car’s surface is displaying High Surface Energy (HSE).  However, a waxed car will cause water to bead up because the car’s surface is displaying Low Surface Energy (LSE) and therefore resist adhesive wet out and makes bonding more challenging.

Rubber based and modified acrylic adhesives typically offer better adhesion to LSE substrates, as they are softer and flow better.

tapesReference7tapesReference6tapesReference5Adhesive Surface Contact - Applying firm pressure to the bond increases adhesive flow and contact or a more secure bond.  Time and temperature will typically further increase the contact and adhesive values.


tapesReference8Dwell Time gives the adhesive time to flow, effectively covering your substrates. Rubber adhesives set up more quickly where Acrylic Adhesives typically require 72 hours before testing for the ultimate adhesion strength.

Surface Contamination - Grease, moisture, oil, mold, chemicals, and dust are just a few contaminates that affect tackiness and can result in a poor permanent bond of adhesive tapes.  Always clean and dry your substrates before applying a pressure sensitive adhesive.

Chemical/Solvent/Plasticizers - Some substrates can cause adhesive swelling, softening and even dissolve your adhesive. Many acrylic adhesives have varying resistance and can withstand these effects for extended periods of time.

Temperature - Apply adhesives at room temperature. Low temperatures can reduce tack and make the adhesive firm and brittle.  High temperatures can reduce cohesive strength, shear strength and cause softening.  Know the temperature range of your application to choose the proper adhesive.

UV Light - Exposure may cause discoloration, adhesive brittleness and chemical degradation of adhesive tapes. If UV light is a factor, select an adhesive that is UV resistant.

What should I know before selecting an adhesive tape?

Selecting the right adhesive tape for your application is key for the success of your project.  Our team can help you walk through some key considerations when determining which adhesive tape is best suited for you.

Key areas to consider include:

  • What type of material and surface will the adhesive tape be adhered to?
    • Painted surface, smooth, textured, porous, rough, unpainted, curved, flat?
    • Type of plastic, metal, paper, wood, glass, etc.?
  • Will the surface be exposed to temperature, moisture, UV, Chemicals?
    • Acrylic adhesives tend to work better in extreme environments
  • Is this adhesive a permanent or temporary bond?
    • Permanent / Removable Adhesive could be a solutions
  • What type and thickness of liner do you need?
    • Paper, polypropylene, tear resistant, moisture resistant, etc.
  • Do you need foam, free film (transfer) or double coated adhesive tape?

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call 585.385.5554

Call us at 585.385.5554 for informed answers and to order now. Our magnet experts will help you get exactly what you need – custom or stock – in record time with great quality at a very competitive price.