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Pressure Sensitive Tape Application Guide

Pressure Sensitive Tape Application Guide

Pressure Sensitive Tapes, also known as PSA or self-stick adhesives are among the widely used tapes for a variety of applications in multiple industries. Their structure features flexible material with single or double-sided coating, and they don’t need any activation by water, heat or solvent to adhere properly.

Just as the name suggests, instantaneous low pressure on the adhering surface is all that is needed to get this tape type working for you. But, the fact that they are versatile and efficient is no guarantee that they will lead you to great results all the time.

Proper knowledge of the right application procedure is necessary if you ever want to get the best out of these tapes. In this piece, we will be providing a comprehensive guide on how to use these tapes, also highlighting some of the superior features that make them stand out from the rest.

Proper storage for effective application results

One of the secrets to getting better results with pressure-sensitive tapes, is to ensure proper storage before application. This is vital in ensuring that the tapes retain their bonding characteristics when they are finally applied to surfaces.

Storage in extremely low or high temperatures is not recommended because such conditions can lead to the degradation of the adhesives, and the backing materials, hence, increasing their chances of failure when applied.

The application temperature is another consideration you should have in mind before using these tapes. When the tapes are applied with heat during lamination, the heat will help improve the flow of the adhesive, as well as the surface wet-out, which will ultimately help in improving the strength of the bond.

Lower temperatures, on the other hand, may lead to insufficient wetting of the adhesive on the substrate, leading to the formation of a relatively weak bond. When the temperature is very high, the tape may stretch during application.

This is not desirable because there will be added stress in the final application, and this may end up affecting the integrity of the formed bond.

Adhesive tape can be used (applied, removed) within a temperature range from +5 °C (41°F) to +40 °C (104 °F). Temperatures may be below or above this range while the tape is in place.

If you intend to apply tape at temperatures below +5°C (41°F) or above +40°C (104°F), special adhesive tapes must be used. If the component that is to be masked is expected to be exposed to substantially higher temperatures (over +60 °C or 140 °F, for instance) while the tape is in place, special measures are needed, including the use of special adhesive tapes (such as those with acrylate adhesive masses).

After the application process, pressure sensitive tapes like Tesa tapes offer high heat resistance.

Applying pressure sensitive tapes the right way – a step by step guide

Here is a precise step-by-step guide on what you need to do and who you need to do it, if you want to get the best application results with Pressure Sensitive Tapes:

Surface Preparation

Before any application of pressure sensitive tapes, the surfaces upon which they should be applied needs to be prepped properly. A good surface should be clean, dry and devoid of grease, dirt and other contaminants that might come between the tape’s adhesive and the adhering surface.

Start by cleaning the surfaces using a lint-free cloth, and an appropriate cleaner such as solvents or water. After you are done with the cleaning, allow the surface sufficient time so that it can dry thoroughly. For the cleaning solutions, solvents such as ketones, ethers, alcohol, and toluene can be used.

Before you start the actual cleaning process, be sure to test the substrate with the cleaning solution to ascertain that it can withstand the cleaner. Also, it is advisable you look at the instructions accompanying the cleaner so that you are aware of all the necessary precautions.

After the surface has been cleaned and dried, wipe the area of application with a dry piece of cloth and an alcohol-based solution like isopropyl alcohol. Ensure that the cleaning solution leaves no residue, and carefully inspect the surface to confirm that it is free from any dirt, dust or debris.

Many pressure sensitive tapes adhere to a variety of surfaces for temporary and permanent applications such as Gaffer tape.

The actual application

For a strong bond to be formed between the tape and the substrate, surface contact pressure must be applied to pressure sensitive tapes during application. The amount of applied pressure required varies from surface to surface.

In some instances, very low pressure may be required to achieve 100% contact between the tape and the surface. Excess pressure, on the other hand, may result in the tape stretching or becoming compressed.

This is not good because additional stress will be introduced in the final application, and this may hamper the effectiveness of the tape. As a general guide, the application pressure should be light pressure of just a few psi. For rough surfaces, use slightly higher pressure, but tone down when you are dealing with smooth surfaces.

You should always remember that the strength of the bond formed will not depend on the application pressure alone. Other factors will come into play, with the major ones being the specific type of adhesion in question, the residence time, and surface contact, among others.

In summary, here are the steps to applying pressure sensitive tapes the right way after prepping the surface:

  1. Unwind the tape from the roll, or remove the release liner if the tape has one. Immediately adhere the tape to the surface, ensuring that there is no air trapped between the tape and the surface.
  2. Apply appropriate pressure to the tape depending on the adhering surface. This is to help the tape achieve maximum bond strength.
  3. Allow enough time to adhere – some tape types such as duct tape will continue to wet out or build adhesion for up to 72 hours after application. If you are using acrylic or silicone pressure sensitive adhesive tapes, then this is the amount of time you should allow after application.

This is all you need to apply pressure sensitive tapes correctly. They are tough and versatile tapes that will yield great results if you follow all the instructions correctly.

Need a hand with adhesives and tapes?

From tips to troubleshooting, we are here to help. Get in touch with us at support@mpi-matco.com.

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