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These days, more and more industries are making use of low surface energy plastics in their production. These are materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene that are becoming more common. The trouble with LSEs such as these is that traditional bonding materials refuse to stick to them. 

Enter 3M with their 300LSE adhesive range. This new set of adhesive tapes can apply one surface to another, even despite the low surface energy of the substrates involved.

But what is 300LSE, why is it important, and what other benefits does it provide your production process? Let’s find out.

What Is 300LSE?

Seeing a gap in the market, 3M developed an acrylic adhesive system for the express purpose of sticking to surfaces with low surface energy. 3M did this research so that the adhesives would work without needing flame treatment, corona treatment, or solvents. As these methods of applying adhesive to low surface energy substrates often add cost, this acts as a USP for 3M’s 300LSE adhesives.

300LSE is a high-strength adhesive that has several forms. In one form, it can transfer from a tape to a surface to bond two items to one another. In another form, it comes as a double-sided sticky tape or it is available in a double-sided tape form. 

Manufacturers and engineers use it for bonding smooth, flat surfaces such as electronics and packaging. It is also used in mechanical seals and other areas of the industry.

Many of these tapes and adhesives are thick enough to be noticeable. For that reason, 3M offers thinner versions. This prevents the oversizing of small components when millimeters and microns are important.

3M designed 300LSE Adhesive to work well with the following materials:

  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS plastic)
  • Coated paper 
  • Ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber (EPDM rubber)
  • Graphite
  • Metal Mesh
  • Polypropylene
  • Polystyrene
  • Polyurethane
  • Powder-Coated Surface
  • Rubber
  • Wood

300LSE continues to work with high surface energy materials despite how it works with LSEs. You can use it to bond LSE and HSE objects to one another, so long as a suitable surface exists on both.

What Are We Comparing 300LSE To?

This article does not only compare 300LSE to other adhesives. We intend it as a comparison to other methods of bonding materials. For example, mechanical fastenings such as rivets and screws, or exothermic bonding. 

Also, the following were all considered as comparisons. Many of the following reasons to avoid other methods of bonding can apply to these:

  • Soldering
  • Brazing
  • Diffusion bonding
  • Isothermal solidification bonding
  • Transient liquid phase bonding
  • Cladding
  • Welding
  • Friction stir welding

In general, 3M 300LSE 9495LE and other similar tapes are not intended for bonding extreme weights.

Benefits of Purchasing 300LSE

The following comparisons discuss different bonds that are capable of holding the same amount of weight.

1: It’s Lightweight and Secure

Compared to mechanical fastenings such as bolts or rivets, tape fastening is far more lightweight. Both double-coated tape, as well as the transfer tape, weigh a fraction of what large metal attachments do.

Whether you use transfer tape or double-sided tape depends in part on the geometry of the substrate. Whichever you use, however, it will be thinner and lighter than metal or plastic joins. 

When mechanical fastenings start to come undone, they can also be either dangerous or create extra points of failure.

Why Is That Important?

A low mass can make all the difference when it comes to industries where every ounce matters. The aerospace or science industries, for example, may need a degree of precision that they cannot meet using rivets or bolts. Rust and metallurgical contamination from mechanical fastenings are both dangerous to calibrated equipment. 

When rivels and bolts start to come undone, they can also become dangerous. Depending on the machinery people use them in, if they do not fall into the machinery around them they may instead cause vibrations. 

Such vibrations can either cause significant noise or damage to the device they were a part of. On the other hand, detaching 3M 300LSE Adhesive is more likely to provide cushioning, if anything. Such adhesives will very rarely create significant noise or harm to their host machine.

2: It’s Non-Damaging

While the use of adhesive tape allows you to place one item atop another without further changes, other forms of bonding do not do this. Should you decide to make use of rivets, welding, or diffusion bonding, the materials will be irrevocably changed in the process. The more invasive the process you use, the more significant the change will be.

It is not only some changes to the shape that will happen through bonding two items together. Sometimes the very physical makeup of the items will alter beyond return.

Why Is That Important?

Due to the nature of many industries, changing the state of a material can often cause the object to alter to the point of uselessness. For example:

  • Punching holes in an item for rivets or bolts can weaken the integrity of that section of the object, in the short or long term
  • Welding or various other forms of bonding change the physical makeup of the items joining together
  • Using heat on an item can cause a chemical change in the items you are bonding
  • Various forms of chemical or physical bonding are irreversible
  • Many items are far too fragile to be able to withstand any form of invasive bonding

Mistakes in all the above mean a piece of wasted equipment. This can be costly or cause bottlenecks in production.

Even someone learning how to use 3M 300LSE for the first time is unlikely to cause damage. The process is non-invasive and does not cause changes to the physical makeup of the items undergoing bonding. This means many sensitive items can bond in this way without worrying about whether any damage will occur.

There are no chemicals, solvents, or heat used when attaching adhesives. Also, the adhesives themselves are removable at a later time if necessary. You can even remove and re-apply some adhesives if a mistake occurs in the process.

3: Uniformity

If using rivets instead of adhesive, this will lead to specific areas with a great deal of pressure and others with none. Adhesive, on the other hand, spreads such pressure out over the entire surface of the bond.

Any adhesive also provides a good level of cushioning between the two materials it bonds. This allows them to move a small amount without colliding.

Why Is That Important?

If there exist concentrated areas of stress, it can directly affect the physical integrity of the bonded items. This happens when using rivets and bolts, as they only bond in specific locations. One could add even more rivets, but there is a point where this starts to be more detrimental than helpful (not to mention costly).

Bonding tapes, on the other hand, consistently spread the adhesive over the entire substrate. This causes the stress not to be only in one location and distributes any tension in an even manner instead. 

Due to this distribution and the lack of focus points for stress, any design for objects can instead use thinner and lighter materials. Rivets would require thicker and denser material instead if only to hold it in place.

Finally, adhesive and/or tape gives any bond a small amount of padding. These materials can also dampen vibrations all along the area they bond. This can prevent further damage or noise caused by vibrations in the mediums.

4: It Creates a Clear Bond Line

The transparent nature of 3M tape adhesive allows for the bond created to be almost invisible. This is true both during the adhesion as well as should the two materials need to come apart later for any reason.

The adhesive is a clear glue, lacking in any chemicals which are likely to cause a mark on the substrate.

Why Is That Important?

There are a large number of items that may need bonding without a visible adhesive. These are often transparent items, but not universally. Examples include:

  • Creating a seal on the back of translucent signage that needs to be lit up
  • Securing stickers to LCD digital displays
  • Adding temporary decorative trim to objects for advertising or holiday events

Each of these options has one of two requirements. Either the adhesive not to be visible to allow light to come through, or the adhesive must be removable without marks. 3M 300LSE does not leave lasting visible marks and can be re-applied without concern for long-term damage to the area.

When working with designers who are trying to create a positive aesthetic choice, any joins or bonds can be a problem. This is especially true in the case of rivets or bolts.

Adhesive tape can avoid this as it is often used to avoid any form of visible join. Invisible fastenings mean you can maintain any kind of product aesthetic and the form factor of the item does not need to change. Visual designers do not need to worry and logos do not need adjustment to make room for flaws in the material.

5: You Can Use Different Materials

It is common to bond similar materials together. This is due to several reasons related to how different materials interact with one another. Also, how the materials react to the world around them. 

For example, different substrates may expand and contract at different rates due to temperature. Alternatively, they may deteriorate at different speeds. When joining metals that are very different, they may also start to deteriorate due to galvanic corrosion.

Finally, there may be some materials that need joining together that simply do not need extreme measures to join them to something else. Paper, thin plastics, or other similar substrates need little more than an adhesive to join them together.

Why Is That Important?

If using adhesives instead of other methods, there is more “give” and forgiveness with how two surfaces interact with one another. This is for many reasons.

First of all, any difference due to expansion in differing temperatures reduces due to the lack of bolts and screws. This means that such bolts will not loosen and rattle, leading to far less erosion of the surface and less noise.

Second, adhesives actively separate two different surfaces. This means there will be no galvanized corrosion of the two locations. This will remain true throughout the life of the objects throughout its life so long as adhesive remains. 

This is especially important in areas of aerospace or science. In these industries, precision is important and loosening items due to temperature can start to add up to inaccuracies.

6: You Can Convert the Tape

If you want customized sizes and shapes of 3M 300LSE foam tape, it is possible to convert the tape into any form you need. Manufacturers can cut these from sheets and they are useable in specific locations or for specific purposes.

Why Is That Important?

To provide a consistent product, 3M tape must sometimes be die-cut to perfection. Tape converters can do this to give you the appropriate size and shape of tape as necessary.

This is useful for customers who need a consistently-created product. It is also very important when in use by production staff to quickly produce a large number of products using the tape. Your employees will not need to measure and cut each piece of tape they need if arrives pre-prepared.

7: It’s Quick and Clean

Using 3M tape requires little-to-no training and can is useable by anyone. It does not need any special equipment, nor does it need chemicals such as solvents. In-fact, 300LSE can be applied with a technician’s bare hands.

You do not need to put time aside to allow materials to cool. Also, no part of the process needs washing away from the join afterward.

Should you use a custom die-cut section of converted tape to create the join, the process will be fast. The application will occur quickly due to the specific size and shape of the tape.

In general, entire industrial processes are skippable if 3M adhesives get used in your flow. This includes drilling, re-finishing bonded areas, welding, screwing, grinding, and any cleanup afterward.

Why Is That Important?

A lack of required specialist equipment means you to run a production line at a much lower cost than other bonding methods. This is also true about the lack of solvents or other chemicals, as you do not need to buy or then dispose of them.

A lack of time needed for materials to cool or undergo washing means your whole factory will run that much faster than any heat-based bonding. This is also exemplified when using converted tape, as you will not need to spend time training your staff to cut the tape to size. Many companies can provide you with die-cut 3M tape and we recommend contacting them for more information on what they can provide.

8. It Is Safe

Various methods of bonding materials all come with processes to protect health and safety. While paramount for your employees, these processes can be timely and costly to put in place. This occasionally leads to corner-cutting that can result in liability for your company.

3M’s adhesives, on the other hand, do not need a large level of health and safety processes due to their non-dangerous nature.

Why Is That Important?

Retaining safety standards is very important. Not skimping on costs related to these ensures your employees and yourself do not come into danger of harm. 300LSE allows you to save money while also maintaining safety by reducing the level of inherent danger you and your employees face.

Short-term, those in your workshop will be able to feel much safer without needing to weld or heat anything during the bonding process. Long-term, you will save money on the processes needed to maintain your workplace as well as protect your employees. Finally, this can prevent litigation from harm caused to them.

9. Allows Bonding With Fragile Materials

Some materials are not bondable in any manner other than using adhesives. Those which may be especially fragile fit this description. For example, if they cannot undergo bending or heating. 

For example, china, glass, or other materials cannot withstand rivets or screws. If you use them, you will damage the items involved.

3M’s range of adhesives, such as the 300LSE range, allow bonding of these materials due to the non-invasive nature of the adhesive bonding process.

Why Is That Important?

Glass, fragile plastics, and other similar materials still need bonding on occasion. Many of these, especially glass, have no comparable replacements. Especially while maintaining the same properties.

Due to this, you must often continue to use these materials without scrimping on structural integrity. For these reasons, 300LSE is a very strong alternative bonding method. It can provide a strong and powerful bond without sabotaging the material itself.

10. Bonds With LSE Materials

Low surface energy materials are becoming more and more popular in manufacturing processes. This means that finding methods to bond them is an important decision for the future of your manufacturing.

Many thermoplastics such as polypropylene are very inexpensive. For this reason, manufacturers demand them throughout various industries. Knowing how to make use of these materials can be the difference between attaining a contract and leaving it for another company.

3M’s 300LSE line is specifically designed to bond with low surface energy materials. This allows them to work with any of the following:

  • ABS
  • Acrylic
  • PTSE
  • PVC
  • Polystyrene
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyester
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyurethane
  • TPO

Why Is That Important?

Many low surface energy materials offer specific benefits that are not found elsewhere. This includes durability and flexibility, as well as the ability to resist moisture and heat. Also, a lot of these materials exist at a much lower price point, allowing you to save money on their usage.

For these reasons, the ability to bond with low surface energy materials can be a huge boon. It offers extra options in the creation of products and can provide large savings to any company. Especially if they are looking to take steps in avoiding overheads.

11. Seals the Bond From the Environment

Using rivets and bolts does two things that can be detrimental to a piece of manufacturing:

First of all, the locations where rivets exist create new holes in the material itself. In these areas, moisture and other environmental factors can enter through.

Second, not all areas between rivets or bolts are secure. The only locations where the seal is tightest are around the connection itself. The areas between the rivets are prime for leakage of water, sand, or other detritus.

3M 300LSE provides a tight bond all the way along the area where the adhesive gets applied. This prevents moisture, sand, or other contaminants from the surrounding environment from infiltrating.

Why Is That Important?

Many pieces of delicate equipment can easily receive damage. Alternatively, they may stop working accurately due to the existence of impurities. 

300LSE tape stops these impurities from interfering with your manufactured items. They will not contaminate any creation you put together. 

You can feel assured your time is not wasted needing to replace anything that you create. Also, and you can trust all measurements taken and that they will be accurate.

Similarly, any materials inside the area sealed by 3M’s adhesives are not likely to corrode or rot due to water or other chemicals. These gases and liquids will not touch the innards of your engineering projects. This prevention will be due to the adhesive itself.

What's Next?

3M’s 300LSE adhesives are not only one product but a wide range of adhesives in various forms. This includes the choice between a transfer tape and double-sided adhesive tape.

You may have many questions on what you should be using in your engineering projects or manufacturing processes. If this is the case we recommend you get in contact with Strouse and discuss your options with us. We would be happy to talk to you about what we can provide you now and in the future.

Scott Chambers

Written by Scott Chambers

Strouse Business Development Manager

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