Understanding the Effect of Coefficient of Thermal Expansion on Tape Products

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The coefficient of thermal expansion is used to understand the rate at which a certain material expand as a function of temperature. This understanding is very important when designing adhesive bonded joints to determine if failure by thermal stresses might occur.


The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is defined as the change in length or volume of a material for a unit change in temperature. The coefficient is reported as the linear thermal expansion in inches or millimeters per degree Fahrenheit or Celsius. coefficient of Thermal Expansion  

Why Is This Important?

One of the major benefits of tape products is their ability to bond dissimilar materials. It is quite common for plastics to have 8-10 times the thermal expansion of metals. These thermal stresses become important to understand when bonding glass to metals especially in architectural applications where failures can be extremely expensive or even catastrophic. Design engineers can calculate the joint movement by two equations and determine if the tape system can handle the expansion over the desired temperature range. Thermal Expansion formula for calculation Different foam cores have differing abilities to help manage thermal expansion stresses. Thermal Expansion typical stress curves for foam cores Want to know more about how tapes can help manage thermal expansion? 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.