Advantages of Acrylic Foam Tapes Over Mechanical Fasteners

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It’s very difficult for most people to visualize how a tape could possibly replace a rivet, screw, or other fastener. After all, mechanical fasteners are made of metal and there’s no way tape is as strong as metal, right? Well, not exactly. If you just examine the fastener itself and compare it to acrylic foam tapes, you might think this is the case, but you would be mistaken. The strength of the fastener itself is not indicative of the durability or strength of the final bond. The physics are a little more complicated.

Advantages of Acrylic Foam Tapes

1. Eliminates Point Stress

Rivets, bolts, and screws concentrate stresses into one point. Any movement can cause the holes to widen or elongate over time resulting in decreased physical properties, water or dust infiltration, and rust. Acrylic foam tapes distribute stress along the entire bond line. 3M has a great video that shows the strength of a panel joint with made their VHB versus rivets. Watch it here.

2. Bonds and Seals Simultaneously

Acrylic foam tapes not only can bond similar and dissimilar surfaces, the tape fills gaps and creates a seal against dust, dirt, and water.

3. Improved Appearance

The acrylic foam tape is usually hidden in the bond line making it almost invisible. The bonded surfaces are smooth and the need for any surface refinishing is reduced or eliminated.

4. Excellent Fatigue Resistance

Acrylic foam tapes are viscoelastic meaning they can absorb shock and vibration by transferring the stresses through the core. Sudden dynamic forces such as wind gusts or thermal expansion or contraction are easily managed.

5. Improved Assembly Line Productivity

Mechanical fasteners typically require the use of hand tools and are installed one at a time. Penetrations by screws, rivets, and bolts can require sealing if dust, dirt, and water need to be occluded. Tapes can be applied by hand, an applicator, or delivered as die cut parts to fit the exact shape of the assembly.

6. Prevents Galvanic Corrosion

Acrylic foam tapes act as a barrier between differential metal surfaces preventing galvanic corrosion.

Learn More about Acrylic Foam Tapes at Tom Brown, Inc.

3M’s VHB acrylic foam tapes have been used since the early 1980’s and are still considered the standard in the marketplace. There are however, other tape manufacturers who offer an excellent selection of acrylic foam products too. Want to learn more about how acrylic tapes can simplify your assembly process? Contact Tom Brown, Inc. today!
Rick Alexander

About the Author

Rick Alexander is the National Sales Manager for Tom Brown, Inc. His early experience was in R&D, product management, and sales management for both Main Tape and Adhesives Research, Inc. Rick brings over 40 years of pressure-sensitive tape experience and Tom Brown’s world class converting capabilities to help solve customer bonding, assembly, and sealing challenges.