Tape—the everyday stuff used to hold things together or keep stuff out—seems like a decidedly low-tech product. The reality is that a lot of technology goes into creating a product that delivers the performance and functionality consumers expect.
Adhesive tapes consist of a material called a backing or carrier (paper, plastic film, cloth, foam, foil, etc.) that is coated with an adhesive and a release liner (if necessary). The adhesive-coated backing or carrier is then wound to create a large roll of tape that can be cut into smaller rolls.
Tape has an almost limitless number of uses and comes ready for many types of applications for both consumer and commercial purposes. Types of tape include electrical, decorative, industrial, marking, laminating material, masking, medical, packaging, protective, safety, thermal and more. Depending on the application, tape must display certain properties like stretch, peel, strength, tack, tear resistance, delamination, paint resistance, ghosting, etc.
Painter’s tape/paper is an example of a common type of tape that must exhibit multiple properties when masking off areas to keep free from paint. The tape has to stretch around sharp corners and edges without tearing or falling apart while also resisting the paint that will come in contact with its surface. The composite of the tape fibers and polymer saturant must work together to allow stretching and paint resistance while also providing tensile strength and resistance to delamination (so the tape holds together when it’s pulled off after painting). Painting is difficult enough. It shouldn’t also involve scraping tape that won’t come off.
If glass or metal are being taped, customers don’t want to see adhesive residue left behind, which is called ghosting. What if the tape needs to be repositioned after being applied? The tape needs to be able to be taken off and moved, which requires durability when it comes to release and re-adhesion.
When the tape is made, it also needs a surface release coating so it can be removed from the roll without sticking to itself. The trick is that the release coating can’t interfere with the adhesive itself.
Again, tape seems like such a simple product, but there’s a lot of technology behind the scenes that has to be just right to deliver all of these properties and exceptional results.
Consider film or decorative tapes, where colors, designs, icons or logos are printed on the tape. These types of decorative tapes and films must be designed to accept graphic inks, whether digital or offset printed.
Some newer tapes offer exceptional wicking and fire retardancy. Other tapes, like those for carpet, must have an ultra-strong adhesive. Tapes like hockey tape or electrical tape are usually made out of saturated fabrics. The saturants are used for increased mechanical or electrical durability, but these tapes may also require adhesive layers and sometimes release coatings.
Paper tape is biodegradable, so it offers sustainability advantages over other backing materials, but paper fibers themselves don’t stretch much. To deliver high elongation, the polymer chosen is essential for stretchability. The polymer incorporated can also enable the paper to be strong, abrasion resistant and chemical resistant.
Lubrizol has been working with tape manufacturers for many years, providing our expertise in polymers and adhesion to deliver specific performance requirements needed for a variety of tape products.
Lubrizol polymers for tape applications include:
Hycar® acrylic resins and Vycar™ vinyl chloride resins are commonly used as saturants in base media to give it toughness.
Carbotac™ acrylic resins are adhesive polymers used to coat a carrier to give it stickiness.
Lubrizol release coating technologies allow tape to be peeled off of the roll in a controlled manner.
Contact your Lubrizol account manager for more information about our many polymer technologies that can deliver the performance consumers expect in their next generation tape