What is the Strongest Double Sided Tape? | Pittsburgh | Tom Brown, Inc.?   Recently, I was reviewing the keyword search terms people used to reach our website. The following is just a sampling of the searches that came up most frequently:
  • “Most powerful double sided tape”
  • “Strongest double sided tape”
  • ‘Super strong double sided tape”
  • “Strongest double sided tape for glass”
  • Strongest double sided tape for walls”
  • “Best double sided tape”
  • “Super strong sticky tape”
You get the idea. People want an easy way to determine the best double sided tape to use. It’s human nature to want to know who or what is “the best”—the best NFL team, baseball team, college, restaurant, etc.—we like to know where we should invest our time and attention. With sports, it’s not as hard to answer that question. There are agreed-upon rules and competitions to rank teams or individuals. The person or team with the best results is the winner. For other things, it’s not nearly that easy. Here’s the spoiler; tapes are one of those things and answering the question about “the best” tape overall is technically impossible. The applications, surfaces, and operating conditions vary so much that tapes that are the best in one arena might fail badly in another.  However, it is possible to talk about double coated tape products that do several things exceptionally well and are excellent “go-to” products when considering bonding and assembly applications.

Defining a Double Coated (Sided) Tape

A double coated or double sided tape is a specific tape format where a pressure-sensitive adhesive is coated onto both sides of a carrier or in some cases with acrylic foams — a foaming agent can be incorporated into an adhesive matrix and then” foamed” so the resulting tape is monolithic but in fact, has adhesive on both sides. A release liner can be applied to both sides of the tape or more often a double siliconized liner is used that allows the tape to be wound on itself (also referred to as self-wound).  

What is the Strongest Double-Sided Tape? | Pittsburgh | Tom Brown, Inc. (Photo Courtesy of 3M)

Types of Carriers and Impact

Carriers or backings are an important element of the double coated tape because they have a significant influence on the physical properties and the ultimate performance of the tape. These properties impact the selection of the best tapes for a given application.

Contributions of Carriers

  • Flexibility
  • UV resistance
  • Thickness and density
  • Tensile strength
  • Elongation
  • Moisture resistance
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Electrical/ and thermal conductivity or insulation
  • Color
  • Transparency
  • Flame Retardance

Common Foam Carriers                       

Acrylic  Polyethylene  Polyurethane  PVC (polyvinyl chloride) 

Common Film Carriers

Polyester Polypropylene UPVC (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride)                                                   

Other Carriers

Tissue Paper Nonwovens   What is the Strongest Double-Sided Tape? | Pittsburgh | Tom Brown, Inc.

Matching Tape and Application: Questions to Narrow the Field

Ask the following questions to decide which tape will work best for your situation.
  1. What is the end-use and what are you trying to accomplish? You should be able to answer this in one sentence most of the time.
  2.  What materials are you bonding? There is no “one tape fits all” with double coated tapes. You have to identify what you want to   bond together so you pick the best candidates. Different classes of materials act very differently.
  3.  Are there any gaps to fill? The tape must have the right gap-filling ability for any uneven or non-planar surfaces. 
  4.  What stresses or loads will be present in the application? The forces can include shear, tensile, cleavage, and peel. If you can identify these forces, you can choose a tape that will maximize your chances for success.
  5.  Is the bonding surface rough or smooth? Rough surfaces usually require tapes with higher adhesive coat weights or thicknesses to allow the adhesive to flow into surface irregularities and provide better wet out. Better wet out will yield higher bond strengths.
  6.  What are the application temperature and service temperature? What are the conditions where the tape is applied and what high or low temperatures will be encountered during service life? Some tapes work exceptionally well at low temperatures and others have excellent high-temperature performance. 
  7.  Will there be any exposure to UV light, chemicals, or moisture? These factors along with temperature and the various forces outlined in question 4 will create the operating environment for the tape. 
 

“Go-To” Product Recommendations

In the introduction, I stated that it is impossible to pick only one “strongest double coated tape” due to the high degree of variability and performance requirements encountered in each application. There are, however (in my opinion) a group of “best in class” or “go-to” tapes that are a great starting point for many applications. Here they are:

Double Coated Foam Tapes

Acrylic Foam Tapes

  1. 3M VHB – the VHB portfolio contains almost 100 products and they are all excellent! 
  2. Saint Gobain Norbond® Acrylic Foams – especially the new A7600

Double Coated Polyethylene Foam Tapes

  1. Adhesives Research – 2000 and 4000 Series
  2. Berry Plastics – GTW / GTB Series
  3. Adhesives Applications- 7016B, 65016B, and 7316B
  4. Mactac – IM1863

Double Coated Film Tapes

This section is broken down by surface energy classification since there are more double coated film tapes than any other type.

Double Coated Film Tapes for HSE (high surface energy metals and plastics)

  1. 3M 92015

Double Coated Film Tapes for Foam Bonding and Rough Surfaces

  1. 3M 9832
  2. Berry Plastics 350 Series

Double Coated Film Tapes for LSE (low surface energy plastics and paints)

  1. 3M 93015LE
  2. Berry Plastics 650 Series
The products listed are those where I have observed success with a number of customers over many applications. It is not intended to be all-inclusive or to leave any manufacturers out. I can attest that there are other double coated tape manufacturers such as Scapa Group, Intertape Polymer Group, Tesa, and Avery Dennison who all produce excellent high-performance double coated tapes. If you have an application for bonding or assembly where you think a double coated tape might work, don’t hesitate to contact us at Tom Brown, Inc. We’ll set you up with the samples and the technical data you need to begin your evaluation and succeed! www.tombrowninc.com

I was doing some topic research on tape products and one of the frequently asked questions was, “which double sided tape is the strongest?” This question came up more than any other question which surprised me. Then I thought about it a little more. (more…)