Types of Tape
With so many types of tapes in the market today, you may find the technical jargon to be a bit extensive. The bottom line for any adhesive product you may need, it all depends on what you wish to use it for. There is nothing difficult about tape to be honest, however, selecting the wrong one for the job could be a costly mistake.
Pressure Sensitive Tape
PSA also known as “pressure sensitive adhesives” basically means it can be one of the many kinds of tape which stick to a surface by applying pressure. Each type of pressure tape is different, many have different layers, and they all serve a specific purpose. Just like tapes that are gummed, activated by water or those tapes activated by heat, this type of tape is activated by pressure.
Some types of Pressure Sensitive Tapes
Strapping or Filament
Normally used for masking in high temperature environments or powder coating. Provides insulation and protection to capacitors, metals, piping, and can also be used for masking for painting. Clean removal, easy to use, and provides protection in the product shipping stage keeping items free from scratches.
Woven cloth which is meshed together followed by an adhesive layer and sometimes a coated final layer of Polypropylene (PE) coats the tape to protect the core properties. Cloth tape can be used in all types of environments for just about anything. Hockey tape, gaffers, cloth duct tape, are all examples of cloth type adhesives.
Sealing tape or evidence tape are some examples of polypropylene tapes. Most common type of Polypropylene is packaging tape or strapping tape. Brown and clear are the colors most people see, however most manufacturers make several different types of colors of this sort of tape. Different colors are typically used for color coding, but could also be used to match colors or to easily identify something. This tape is typically one or two layers of polypropylene film with adhesive.
Crepe or kraft flatback tape is similar to masking tape. Paper tapes would include console or board tape which is used by sound technicians on their boards. This type of tape can easily rip and tear, removes cleanly, and you can write on it. DJs or sound techs typically use 1” console tape and write on the tape to quickly identify a setting on a soundboard.
What are Some Tape Specifications and Why are They Important?
Tack, Mil, Microns, etc… Why do they matter? Well, they kind of do but it depends on you. Just like gaffers working on a movie set choose not to use duct tape to tape panels or cables down because of the residue duct tape leaves behind. Gaffers tape is a great example of why you need something with similar adhesive levels, but do not want any of that sticky goo all over the place.
Tack - A type of test performed by taking a piece of tape placing it horizontally or at a slope then rolling a ball down down the adhesive side. This measure is in centimeters and typically displays the amount of stickiness or adhesive.
MIL - Thickness, measured in one thousandth. 7 MIL, 8 MIL, anything 11+ is considered pretty heavy duty and will not rip easily. Packaging tape is 3-4 MIL, which rips easier.
Adhesion to Steel - How many pounds or ounces of pressure to remove a 1” piece of tape from a steel plate.
Elongation - How the tape breaks, degree of stretch before it breaks.
Tensile Strength - Pounds per inch the tape can be pulled in one direction before breaking.
Log - Tape is typically converted from jumbo logs to logs to rolls. 49” is what most logs measure, 1” is considered unusable so two half inch slits are made on both sides of the log. If you ever wanted to know how many rolls are in a case? Divide it by 48” (2” tape full case 2/48 = 24 Rolls)
The bottom line is, there are many different types of tape out there with several different uses. All tape is not created equal! Figure out what you are using it for then perform a test. This is all dependent on a variety of things such as temperature, types of surfaces, long term, short term, humidity, residue, no residue, how strong, how sticky, type of pressure, heat, water activated, what type of pressure sensitive application? So you don’t have to be an expert on all the different kinds of tape, but you do need to know what's best for your trying to achieve. And lastly, trust us when we say; test test test test test test! Do not buy cases and cases of tape before you test the product on the surface you are working with.