A Comprehensive Guide To Adhesive Tape

When you think of adhesive tape , the stick Scotch variety may come to mind first. However, they are not the only ones on the market. In fact, adhesive tape falls under a completely different category of adhesives, finding use in industrial applications that require enhanced adhesive characteristics. With this in mind, this blog will cover adhesive tapes, their various types, and their uses.

Adhesive tape goes by many names, including pressure-sensitive adhesive tape (PSA), sticky tape, cello tape, or self-stick tape. It usually comes as a roll of plastic film, cloth, paper, or metal that has been coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The adhesive does not normally require water or heat, allowing users to simply apply light pressure to initiate binding.

The glue is equipped with varying levels of tackiness that determines the strength of the hold. For example, Parafilm is considered a bondage tape due to the fact that it adheres to itself without additional adhesives. Other tapes include double-sided tape or kraft paper water adhesive tapes.

Since their invention in the mid-19th century, adhesive tapes have found use in offices, households, shops, and more. More than that, they perform different functions such as joining, masking, sealing, splicing, bundling, and surface protection, all while not requiring any additional machinery or specialized tools. More than that, they offer lightweight characteristics that make them ideal for many compact applications.

How Adhesion Works

To understand how much adhesive tape has revolutionized the way users bind surfaces, objects, and assemblies together, we must cover the principles behind the bonding of adhesives. Adhesive bonding can be accomplished with the following steps. It begins with the PSA tape making contact with the substrate by minimal pressure. Next, the adhesive increases its surface area and penetrates through the surface of the substrate. Lastly, the adhesive sets on the substrate, producing a strong bond. 

In order for PSA tapes to bond successfully, they necessitate three elements: adhesion, cohesion, and tackiness. Adhesion is defined as the adhesive’s ability to stick to the surface of a substrate. These adhesive forces refer to the adhesion of two different materials that are coming in contact with one another. Now, cohesion consists of the innate strength of an adhesive, preventing it from splitting. When selecting between different types of adhesive tapes, adhesion and cohesion should always be considered. Tackiness, on the other hand, is the PSA’s ability to adhere to a substrate with minimal pressure. While most PSAs only require finger pressure, pressure varies according to the type of adhesive and substrate material.

With this in mind, we provide a brief overview of the most common types of adhesive tapes, all of which are categorized by the arrangement of the carrier, adhesive characteristics, and release liner. For additional context, the carrier is the flexible film that contains the adhesive, while the release liner is the layer that is peeled-off before the adhesive bonds to the substrate.

Single Coated Tape

Of all the adhesive tapes, this is the most basic. The adhesive film is present only on one side of the carrier. The outside of the carrier is typically coated with a release agent to help unwind the tape, or a release liner. Some of the most common types include electrical tape, duct tapes, and masking tapes.

Adhesive Transfer Tape

Intended for discrete, seamless bonding, adhesive transfer tapes contain an unsupported adhesive film that is protected with a release liner. The release liner is normally peeled-off after bonding to the first substrate. Meanwhile, the second substrate is attached to the other side of the adhesive film. It is important to note that adhesive transfer tape has a limited temperature resistance due to its adhesive properties.

Double-Coated Tape

This type of adhesive tape consists of a carrier with an adhesive film on both sides, and a release liner that is utilized to keep each adhesive layer separate.

Advantages of Adhesive Tapes

Adhesive tapes are incredibly beneficial components, making them the go-to choice over glues or other adhesives. One of their most notable characteristics is that they do not require a curing process. Additionally, with the use of adhesive tapes, a stress-free bond is produced that does not necessitate extra screws, bolts, or nuts. Also, they offer uniform thickness, which provides a precise bond on flat surfaces. Beyond being highly versatile in design, they are convenient to use and generate a clean bond.


If you find yourself in need of adhesive tapes, or other specialized fastening components, rely on Unlimited Purchasing. Unlimited Purchasing is a leading supplier of fasteners and fastening elements. Sourced from reputable manufacturers that we trust, you are bound to find what you need with ease. Kickoff the procurement process with a competitive quote and see how Unlimited Purchasing can serve as your strategic sourcing partner. 


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