You’ve spent days pondering your latest project, but are still in between materials.
When the screen before you reads PICK ACRYLIC FOAM TAPE, how can you tell whether it’s the right choice for you?
Although acrylic foam tape is one of the primary materials Strouse works with, we know that it may or may not be your next best adhesive. However, by reviewing the advantages of acrylic foam tape, you’ll learn what it is, where it functions best, and how it might be a suitable choice for your project, depending on the environment and application.
What is Acrylic Foam Tape?
Acrylic foam tape is a high-durability bonding adhesive for high-temperature and long-term applications.
The most popular type of acrylic foam tape is 3M’s VHB adhesive, but there are also many other options, such as Avery Dennison’s AFB. Common uses for acrylic foam tape include joining, sealing, and gasketing applications.
Acrylic foam tape is used for powerful bonding in automotive, aerospace, construction, and other industries. The material itself is flexible, high-performance tape intended to last.
Why Should I Use Acrylic Foam Tape?
Depending on your project, you might use acrylic foam tape for many reasons. Let’s discuss the advantages of choosing it over another adhesive material.
1) ADHESIVE STRENGTH
Acrylic foam tape is known for its considerable strength, which lends itself to permanent applications. While there are non-permanent and low surface energy acrylic foam tape variations, the majority are built for long-term use.
When engineers think of a robust bonding solution, they often think of mechanical fasteners like bolts and rivets. Yet, using mechanical fasteners involves puncturing the surfaces of the substrates you’re bonding, which creates holes and weakens the overall structure.
Acrylic foam tape creates a water and particle-resistant seal between their surfaces to avoid weathering and extend the adhesive bond’s lifespan by reducing the chance of rust and failure. In addition, the bond it creates is often more substantial than that of mechanical fasteners.
Therefore, acrylic foam tape like VHB is an excellent alternative to mechanical fasteners due to its strength, sealing and sound-dampening abilities, and low weight.
2) OUTDOOR TAPE DURABILITY
Regarding weathering, acrylic foam tape has many advantages, such as UV resistance and waterproofing, to protect itself from moisture and humidity.
In addition to these factors, acrylic foam tapes can endure a wide range of extreme temperatures. For instance, certain VHB tapes can withstand temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C) and up to 450°F (232°C) (likely not the same product, though).
Many outdoor applications also involve substances like petroleum, but acrylic foam tape is solvent-resistant, meaning it can easily withstand contact with many complex materials, oils, and solutions.
Acrylic foam tape is an elastic, often conformable material, depending on your chosen tape.
Once it bonds to a substrate, the foam tape acts as both a viscous liquid and an elastic solid due to the adhesive seeping into the surface on a microscopic level.
Elasticity allows acrylic foam tape to fit comfortably between two substrates and maintain flexibility without breaking. Once the user has placed it and applied pressure, the pressure-sensitive tape will bond to the substrate underneath and distribute the weight of any loads evenly across its surface.
Acrylic tape can be cut into many different shapes and complex tolerances depending on the specific material and application.
While the tape is manufacturable, it’s not always the easiest material to process. Some acrylic foam tapes have the consistency of bubblegum, which often leads to more setup testing due to an increased challenge of accurate die cutting.
Still, thanks to the flexible material converters with extensive experience working with acrylic foam tape, there’s a lot of variety in what can be built and options for liner customization.
Choosing Acrylic Foam Tape
If you’re interested in finding the right acrylic foam tape, you’ll want to keep conformability and adhesion at the forefront of your mind.
Acrylic foam tapes are grouped into different families based on their properties. Certain tape families are more conformable while others are stiff, and each product has a unique adhesion level.
Many acrylic foam tapes are popularized within certain industries due to their properties, so you might want to try talking with your converter about what you’re looking for before committing to a tape for your project.
Whether your acrylic foam is mounting a heavy object indoors or serving as a gasket outdoors, you’ll want to find a high-tack tape compatible with your substrates and suits the intended environment.
Are you interested in reading more about acrylic foam tapes, projects, and adhesive bonding? See the resources in our Learning Center.