Double-coated foam tapes have long been used in all sorts of mounting applications. These tapes are soft and light, but provide more than enough strength for most projects. Some typical uses for single and double-coated foam tapes include:
- Sign mounting and point-of-purchase displays
- Boat and automotive trim applications
- Sealing applications
- Window glazing/sealing
How is it that this one type of product can be used for such a variety of projects? It’s mostly because foams are soft and conformable. Therefore, they can easily be applied around corners or other shapes. Foams are also compressible. This means they are perfect for applying to uneven surfaces. This special feature is what makes foam tapes so popular for gasket applications.
Additionally, foams can be made of different polymer types, which can change the performance properties of the tape. There are many different types of foams: rubber, EVA, polyethylene, polyurethane and polyester are well-known ones. Generally, these different foam types can be supplied in varying degrees of thickness and density. It’s important to note the foam will have different performance properties depending upon the combination of the variants above.
Polyethylene foam is one of the most popular foams used in double-coated foam tapes. Keep in mind polyethylene foam is:
- Available in various thicknesses such as 1/32,” 1/16,” 1/8” and others;
- Available as a “closed cell,” which blocks the absorption of fluids; and
- Constructed with either a rubber-based permanent adhesive system or an acrylic-based permanent adhesive.
Acrylic adhesive properties are useful in applications where a long service life is required, such as in window glazing and sealing or applications that require tolerance to rougher environmental conditions. A rubber-based adhesive might be used in more general applications such as mounting plastic hooks to shower walls or for foam bumpers used in cushioning applications.
Most foam is soft and conformable and can be easily stretched or torn. So, with these properties, how does it supply enough strength to be used as an assembly tape? The answer is surface area. As with many tapes, the fact that the tape is applied over a large surface area serves as the key to understanding its strength. When workers use nails or rivets, the strength of force is all applied to one very small area. Yet tape is generally applied over several square inches or more. When forces are applied to taped products, the stress of that force is spread over a larger area. Thus surface area is a key consideration when bonding with foam tapes. Another great feature of foam is its ability to move laterally. This benefit allows for dissimilar materials to be bonded together and used in numerous applications, even ones exposed to temperature variation.
As you might expect, double-coated foam tapes are one of the most widely used tapes for assembly applications today. Their unique properties and ease of use make them suitable in many different situations people encounter at home and on the job.