Most people don’t think about the science behind adhesives. However, if you’re a procurement expert or an engineer looking for the right solution to serve your business, you want to know the critical differences between the types of pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tapes. Tape has come a long way since the first masking tape invention in 1925. Modern tapes can be single or double-sided and can be designed with a variety of carriers (or backing) and in different strengths for diverse types of applications. Learn more about the types of pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes and other variations that can help you choose the right tape for your needs.
Single-sided tape has the adhesive on one side of the carrier, with a release liner that protects the adhesive as it comes off the roll. Most PSA tapes adhere with light pressure, not requiring any heat, water, or other solvent to stick. All tapes can be designed with different adhesives, rubber, acrylic, or silicone. Silicone single-sided tapes are often used for wound care products. Rubber and acrylic single-coated tapes can be used in insulation or ductwork, label stock, and electrical settings. Single-sided tape can also act as a moisture barrier or can be used to fill in gaps.
Double-Sided PSA Tape
Double-sided tape is another type of pressure-sensitive adhesive tape. This tape has an adhesive on each side of the carrier, allowing the tape to attach two identical or different materials with an invisible bond. A double-sided tape can have the same or different adhesives on each side of the carrier. A removable liner protects the adhesive.
Adhesive transfer tape appears similar to single-sided PSA, but there is no carrier. It is a layer of adhesive applied to a liner that is removed once the tape is pressed in place. Transfer tape is used in applications that require flexibility and stretch, usually when holding two different materials. There is no carrier, which makes the tape more conformable.
Adhesive transfer tape can be used in signage when attaching name plates or signs to other objects. Transfer tapes perform well in higher temperatures and can be found in graphic overlays on appliances. Because the tape is conformable, transfer tapes are often used in splicing or on irregular surfaces. Using transfer tape can shorten assembly time by bonding dissimilar materials without mechanical means or concerns about incompatibility.
Self -Wound Tape
Self-wound tape is what most people are familiar with. The carrier is coated with a substrate on one side. The other has a coating that lets the product release as it’s being used. Most types of packaging tape, masking tape, electrical tape, and cellophane tape are self-wound tapes. Self-wound tape is different from single-sided tape because it has no layer to protect the adhesive. It’s very simple to use and is affordable. Adhesive performance can be enhanced by changing the characterization of the tape.