Global Plastic Sheeting

Adhesive tape terminology 101


Source: Global Plastic Sheeting

How well do you understand the terminology that is used with Adhesive Tapes? Below we will define some of the more common terms that are used freely in the adhesive tape world. Don't get stuck on terms you don't understand.

Adhesion- Is a bond that is produced between a pressure sensitive adhesive and a surface.

Adhesive- Is any material that will hold two or more objects together solely by surface contact with each other.

Adhesive transfer- Is the transfer of adhesive from its normal position on the tape to the surface to which the tape was attached. It can happened either during unwind or removal.

Backing- Is for the most part a relatively thin flexible material to which the adhesive is applied.  Typically it is any material that is mostly flat, thin and flexible.

Bi-Directional- This relates to strapping tapes, where the reinforcing material consists of filaments that runs both lengthwise and in a crosswise direction. It is usually a woven cloth.

Cohesion (Cohesive strength, internal bond) - It's the ability of the adhesive to resist splitting. When there is good cohesion, there will be clean removal.

Creep- This is a slow movement of the adhesive or backing due to stress.

Double Coated Tape- This is a pressure sensitive tape that has an adhesive coat on both sides. Usually a liner is necessary to unwind the roll.

Elastomer- This is an elastic, polymeric substance, such as a synthetic or natural rubber.

Filaments- This refers to longitudinal 'threads' of nylon, glass, polyester or other high-strength materials.

Flame Resistance- This is the ability of a tape to withstand exposure to flame. Fireproof materials will not burn even when exposed to flame. Flame-resistant, fire-retardant, self-extinguishing materials will burn when exposed to flame but will not continue to burn after the flame is removed.

High-speed Unwind- When unwinding or dispensing tapes at a relatively high rate of speed, usually more than 50 feet per minute.

Holding Power or Shear Adhesion- This is the ability of a tape to resist a static force that is applied in the same plane as the backing. This is usually expressed in a time required for the tape to come loose from the vertical panel.

Impact Resistance- Is the ability of a tape to resist sudden impacts, shocks or pulls that can be encountered when packages/cargo are in transit.

Laminating- This is the joining of several layers of varying materials utilizing pressure-sensitive tapes.

Offsetting- This occurs when a printed tape is unwound and some of the printing is removed by the adhesive into the adhesive.

Polyethylene- This is a tough, stretchy film having very good low temperature characteristic.

Polyester- Is a strong film having good resistance to solvents, oils, moisture, and many other chemicals. Generally it is transparent.

Polypropylene- This is a cousin of polyethylene. It has similar properties, but is stronger and has a higher temperature resistance.

Pressure Sensitive- This term is often used to designate a distinct category of adhesive tapes and adhesives. In a dry (solvent-free) form they are aggressive and permanently tacky at room temperature. The tape firmly adheres to a variety of dissimilar surfaces upon mere contact without the need of more than a finger or hand pressure. They do not require activation by water, solvent or heat to exert a strong adhesive holding force toward such material as glass, paper, plastic, wood, cement and metals.  Pressure Sensitive tapes have sufficiently cohesive holding an elastic nature so that in spite of their aggressive tackiness, they can be handled with the fingers and removed from smooth surfaces without leaving a residue.

Release Coating - This is a coating that is applied to the backing on the side opposite the adhesive that provides ease of unwind and prevents delamination or tearing.  Without a release coating, the tape would adhere to its own back and would not unwind.

Self-Wound Roll- This is a roll of tape where each layer of tape is directly on top of the last one. The roll contains no liner.

Silicone- This is a unique polymer system that can be a very effective release coating, or pressure sensitive adhesive capable of functioning effectively at extreme temperatures.

Tacky- The condition of the adhesive when it feels sticky or highly adhesive.

Telescoping- When the tape layers slide sideways one over the other, the roll will look like a funnel or a telescope.

Machine Direction Tensile- Tensile strength is measured parallel to the length of the tape.  Unless otherwise specified, tensile strengths are measured in the machine direction.

Cross Direction Tensile- When the tensile strength is measured at right angles to the length.

Wet Tensile- This is tensile strength of tae that has been kept wet for a specified period of time.  Measures ability of tape to function satisfactory when exposed to moisture.

Uniformity- The consistency of a single type of tape either within a roll or from roll to roll or from lot to lot.

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