A tape technical data sheet can almost seem like a foreign language unless you’re an engineer. But that data sheet has a lot of information that can help you know how the tape will work in your application. Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) tapes come in a wide variety of features and are tested to meet certain standards. As a manufacturer of custom adhesive tapes, we understand that choosing the right tape is not always easy. Here are some explanations to help you understand the information on a tape technical data sheet (TDS).
10 Technical Data for PSA Tapes
Tape thickness is measured in mils. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch (0.001). The thickness of the tape is the distance between the two surfaces of the tape.
The thickness of pressure-sensitive tapes is important because it mainly affects the durability and conformability of the tape. Thicker tapes can be more resistant to tearing and puncturing, but this thickness can also make them less flexible for some applications.
Tensile strength is the amount of force a tape can withstand before breaking. If the force is within the specified tensile strength, the tape will return to its original shape after being pulled or stretched. Tensile strength is usually expressed by pounds per square inch – psi.
Tensile strength is an important value to consider, especially if the tape will be subjected to high stress or tension. For example, multi-pack bundling applications require robust tapes with high tensile strength.
Tensile Test Video
The measure of a tape’s ability to stretch without breaking is known as elongation. When applied, elongation is what makes a tape return to form for a secure and watertight seal. Tapes with poor elongation are more likely to break when applied. Elongation and tensile strength go hand in hand, but elongation is measured as a percentage. A higher percentage indicates a stronger ability to stretch, which means it is a better-quality product.
Elongation is an important value to consider for PSA tapes. The higher the elongation value, the better the tape will conform to irregular surfaces and absorb shock and vibration.
Peel adhesion refers to the amount of force required to remove the adhesive from its backing material. It’s about breaking the bond between the tape and the surface to which it is applied. It’s generally measured in lb./in. Tapes that have a high peel value are better suited for permanent joining, while a lower peel value is more appropriate for temporary adhesives, such as paint tape that will be removed once the paint job is complete. The tape must perform as desired during painting, but it also must be removed without damaging the surface.
Peel Adhesion Test Video
Another key element found on a tape TDS is tack, which represents the stickiness of the tape. It’s how quickly the tape will adhere to a surface. More tack means that the tape will bond quickly to the surface. Low tack tapes usually don’t leave a residue behind when removed, but they may take a little longer to bond to the surface. High tack tapes set quickly but once these tapes are affixed, you won’t be able to reposition them.
Shear resistance is the holding power of tape under stress. It’s not how well the tape adheres to the backing, but about how well the tape holds up when stress is applied to the bond. It’s how the tape performs against slippage. Shear is measured in static and dynamic modes. Static shear tests are performed over a longer time frame. An example would be a hook on the wall that holds a picture. The tape holding the hook needs to resist the force of the frame, which is pulling it down. Dynamic shear tests are about short, but intense forces applied to a tape. Think of a truck hitting a pothole in the road that would strain the bonds of tape holding panels. The tape needs to hold its bond during the impact.
Static Shear Resistance Test Video
Tapes used in extreme pplications may need to handle temperatures at both ends of the spectrum. On the tape technical data sheet, manufacturers provide you with a range of temperatures that the tape can handle without breaking its bonds. Temperature resistance can also be measured in time. Short term means the tape will only bond at the maximum temperature for a few minutes or hours. Long term means the tape can handle weeks or even months at the maximum temperatures.
The application temperature gives you insight into how the tape will perform when applied in different temperatures. Some tapes may not have as much bonding capability if the ambient temperature is too high or too low. However, once the bond is made, the tape may perform just fine at higher and lower temperatures.
Dielectric strength refers to a tape’s insulating capacity. Not all industrial tapes will need dielectric strength. It is measured as the maximum electrical field that the tape can handle without experiencing failure. The higher the dielectric strength, the better it will maintain its strength and insulation. Dielectric strength is required for places where electrical insulation is required, such as motors, capacitors, transformers, and wrapping coils.
This data is only used for foam tapes. Foam tapes are often measured for density, recorded in pounds/cubic foot or kilograms per cubic meter. Some products require a higher density value, while others do not. Higher density tapes are often used as gaskets or to increase vibration dampening on a product.
Selecting the Right Tape
Understanding a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape data sheet is essential for buyers and engineers looking for the best bonding solution for their applications. From elongation to shear strength, each characteristic found on a tape technical data sheet gives you important information that will help you predict how the tape will react under certain conditions. Good to know, PSA tapes are usually grouped by application type, which is a good place to start when making an initial selection. Once you’ve determined the category of tape you want to use, all you have to do is analyze the characteristics of each tape more closely to make your final choice.
Still not sure how to choose the right tape for your application? Does your application have uniquely specific requirements? At MPI Matco, we know all about solutions that stick! Whether you need silicone PSA tape, PTFE-impregnated fiberglass tape or any other tape, our experts can help. Contact us for more information.