In this article 'bonding with double sided tapes', we’re giving you all the information you need to know about choosing and using double-sided tape in seaming, splicing, bonding and beyond.
With pressure sensitive adhesive exposed on both sides, double sided tape enables the bonding of two similar or completely different substrates or parts using only the tape between them. How it does this depends largely on the tape’s carrier.
THE KEY INGREDIENT TO DOUBLE SIDED TAPE
A double sided tape’s carrier is the material that separates and holds the two adhesives, one on each side. The material the carrier is made of may be paper, tissue, plastic, film, or foam, and its thickness can range from a fraction of a millimeter up to a thick foam.
A carrier’s material and thickness are important when it comes to the application required for the tape to withstand. The stresses an adhesive will be under largely determines the carrier stability required. Plus, many bonding applications perform multiple tasks. For instance, a gasket performs a unique function separate from bonding, yet it can succeed at both when properly designed.
The carrier may have the same adhesive on both sides or a different adhesive on each side for adhering to dissimilar materials with different bonding properties.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE?
Double-sided tape is used to bond two surfaces or parts together, often in place of mechanical fasteners, liquid adhesives, and even spot welding. While highly effective, double-sided tape is typically a simple product with three components: adhesive, a carrier, and a release liner.
As the name implies, both sides of the tape are coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA). This type of adhesive is advantageous on many fronts. PSAs are easy to apply (just peel, stick, and apply pressure) without curing. They offer a consistent bond-line thickness and even distribution loading. Finally, they are low-odor and do not require ventilation during assembly.
Double-sided tape can have the same adhesive on both sides or different adhesives when joining dissimilar substrates. Additionally, adhesives can range from low-tack and reposition-able to long-term, highly resistant bonds.
Finally, the liner is the temporary backing that protects the adhesive. When the tape is ready to be applied, the liner is peeled back, removed from the tape, and discarded.
i-STIX's line of double-sided tapes can be broken into six main categories:
UHB Tapes – Short for Ultra High Bond, these tapes are ideal for strong, permanent bonding.
Tissue Tapes – Discreet, printable tapes with industrial-strength attachment.
Foam Tapes – Acrylic and general-purpose tapes with a foam carrier for vibration dampening, sealing, or other purposes.
Polyester Tapes – Demanding applications such as heavy stress, high temperatures or critical substrates.
Cloth Tape – Very good for bonding to rough surfaces and can be removed quickly and cleanly after use.
Thermal Conductive Tape – designed to provide preferential heat transfer between heat generating electronic components and cooling devices.
BENEFITS OF DOUBLE-SIDED TAPES
Compared to other fastening or bonding options, double-side tape delivers a long list of advantages. While each type of tape offers distinct characteristics, the following are some high-level benefits you can look forward to.
Faster assembly time – Easy application (manually or with automation) with no additional curing time. Tape is also quicker to apply than mechanical fasteners.
Design flexibility – Product designers love tape’s invisible bond lines, gap filling, and conformability.
Immediate handling strength – Parts can move on to the next stage quicker since double-sided bonds without a cure time.
Low surface energy (LSE) and dissimilar materials bonding – Tape removes most of the guesswork from bonding hard-to-stick-to surfaces and is versatile for lightweight designs.
Clean aesthetics and reduced product bulk – When properly applied, double-side tape delivers a nearly imperceivable bond line without holes or visible fasteners.
Moisture intrusion prevention – Double adhesion creates a level of sealing that prevents moisture from affecting the bond.
YOUR ADHESIVE OPTIONS
Adhesives on a double sided tape are selected to meet the bonding requirements of different substrates and for how they perform; low-tack allows the tape to be easily repositioned, permanent bonding solutions are meant to never release, and there are adhesives for everything between those two extremes.
We covered the three main types of adhesive chemistries used on tape — acrylic, rubber, and silicone — in our article, “Silicon vs. Acrylic vs. Rubber? The types of tape adhesive.”
Challenges and Advantages
Now that you know how they’re made, what can double sided tapes do? Well, just about anything, really. The functionality of individual tapes varies yet, in general, many double sided tapes have these challenges and benefits:
Limited use based on the temperature resistance of the carrier
Conformability is reduced due to the carrier
Limited conductivity for thermal management applications
Design flexibility and clean aesthetics
Bond dissimilar and LSE materials
Double-sided tape can be used in its raw roll or sheet form. However, it’s more common (and effective) to have the tape cut to a custom size or shape, so it fits precisely into your design.
One more huge advantage mentioned earlier is stability. Often it’s part of the adhesive’s purpose to add stability, so having the carrier in the middle is perfect. As an example, one application is within membrane switches: touch panels that must withstand thousands of flexes, need a certain level of light to pass through, and must withstand high-temperature swings. Having a spacer between what is being touched and what is receiving the signal is extremely valuable to perform as expected.
What it all boils down to is knowing these three things: your job, your materials, and your field conditions. Only then can you match the right adhesive with your project and decide if you need heat-resistant, extra wide, or specialty outdoor double-sided tape. By thinking about and answering these questions in regards to the adhesive, you can increase the longevity and success of your projects.
For all of your adhesive solutions, contact us. We'd love to help.