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The Five Factors of Adhesion

Substrate(s) or the material(s) you are trying to adhere to are the first thing to consider 

- Adhesive selection is particularly dependent on the material surface energy (polarity) and its texture

          • Non-Polar or lower surface energies like Polypropylene, Polyethylene, or those with Powder Coated paint require "Low Surface Energy" (LSE) adhesives   

          • A textured surface often requires a heavier coat weight of adhesive, or even an "AdhesiveTransfer" to flow into the valleys of the surface

*Be sure surfaces are free of debris. If compatible, clean the surfaces with 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% water mixture.

Adhesive Selection

- Common adhesives are Rubber, Acrylic or Silicone based

     • Rubber adhesives tend to be:

          - Highly tackified
          - Better suited for lower surface energies
          - Less expensive
          - Can be made to be removable
          - Are typically best suited for indoor use

     • Acrylic adhesives tend to be:

          - Suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications
          - More UV resistant and non-yellowing
          - Resistant to temperatures near 300 to 400 degrees F
          - More resistant to other environmental conditions
          - More shear force resistant

    • Silicone adhesives tend to be:

          - Resistant to very high temperatures (up to 500-600 degrees F)
          - Very chemical resistant
          - Good adhering to similar silicones (like silicone coated release liners)
          - More expensive

Environmental conditions and temperatures the tape will be exposed to

     • It is generally recommended to apply tape at temperatures above 50 degrees F, so the adhesive is warm enough to wet out

     • Once adhesives set up, tapes can withstand a wide range of temperatures from -40 degrees F to 600 degrees F (check data sheets)

     • When applications expose tapes to outdoor UV, extreme temperatures, outgassing, and/or chemicals, Acrylics or Silicones are typically preferred

Pressure sensitive tapes require:

     • About 15# of pressure to wet out the adhesive for a proper bond (equivalent to a firm thumb rub)

Time is needed for tapes to achieve their ultimate adhesion levels

     • Acrylic adhesives typically achieve about 50% of their ultimate adhesion within 20 minutes, 80% within 24 hours and 100% in 72 hours

     • Rubber based adhesives' bond tends to grow very quickly

     • The amount of time tapes are exposed to temperatures and environmental factors are also critical to performance

*The most difficult tape selection tends to be when you are adhering to lower surface energy substrates with outdoor exposure. In these cases, your best alternative is usually to find a modified (tackified) acrylic adhesive that is suitable for your particular LSE substrate.

**Polarity or surface energies can be measured in dynes

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