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Gaskets — whether adhesives, foam, metal, cork, rubber, paper, or another material — are substrates used to perform two essential functions: 1) create a pressure-tight barrier/seal between two stationary surfaces and 2) use superior adhesives on these difficult-to-bond surfaces.

Of course, strong environmental and chemical resistance is needed, and ​fast, easy application is always preferred. While adding adhesive backing doesn’t sound too difficult, this often overlooked part of a gasket actually requires quite a bit of engineering knowledge and innovative thinking.

We’ve explored the impressive sealing capabilities of foam gaskets and flexible foam gasket tape in a previous article. Today, we’ll explore how adhesive transfer tape is used in custom gasket attachment applications.

First, read this quick overview of adhesive transfer tape, part of our ongoing thin bonding series. The main advantages include:

• Flexibility — Thin and conformable, these tapes bond to irregular shapes and sizes, and they offer clean aesthetics
• No Carrier — Unlike double sided tapes, these tapes have no carrier, so they’re not limited to the temperature resistance of the carrier
• Low Profile — These tapes are more aesthetically pleasing, and they can be easily stacked atop one another to perform different functions
• Optical Clarity — Optically clear adhesive (OCA) transfer tape is thin and uses minimal construction material

While not all of these advantages assist in gasket applications, they’re good to keep in mind as we explore the benefits for gasketing.

Assessing Performance of Adhesive Transfer Tape

When it comes to gasket attachment applications, there is a range of available options: liquid adhesive, spray adhesive, adhesive transfer tape, double coated tape, VHB™ tape, etc. Each of these offers advantages depending on the performance required. Yet, only tape (double sided, adhesive transfer, and VHB™) can be pre-applied to gasketing material before die-cutting to make the right parts.

Adhesive transfer tapes offer specific advantages:
• Instant adhesion to flat, untextured substrates
• Ability to join dissimilar materials under challenging conditions
• Temperature- and solvent-resistant
• Doesn’t add bulk to designs
• Easy application

Adhesive transfer tapes have been proven successful for custom gaskets throughout various industries but are most common in transportation, fluid handling, medical, military, electronics, and appliances. In many applications, the goal is to keep the gasket in place until the flange bolts are tightened, preventing gasket slippage during sealing.

Speaking of performance, adhesives have minimal (if not zero) effect on a gasket’s pressure rating.

Converters Maximize Adhesive Transfer Tapes’ Advantages

While producing a gasket, the adhesive tape liner helps prevent the gasket material from stretching during processing. This means equipment can run faster, saving money. Also, for high-volume production, kiss-cut gaskets on a roll increase production speeds, another cost-saving feature. Adhesive gaskets can also be automatically applied to the end surfaces to keep up with volume demands.

Every tape has a shelf-life. Knowing which adhesive transfer tapes perform well on different gasket materials and using them regularly, allows converters to ensure the fresh stock tape meets the temperature/humidity, environmental, and other application requirements. Although some converters use a priming solution to help the adhesive transfer tape stick to the gasketing material, most of these gaskets should be used within a year without a priming solution (note: transportation and storage conditions can affect shelf-life).

With so many options available, choosing the right adhesive transfer tape for gaskets isn’t always straightforward. The tape you select may seem like a small part of a gasket’s success, but it really is a huge decision. Partnering with an expert converter is the only way to ensure that gaskets will perform as needed.

At Strouse, we apply our full breadth of knowledge to every project. Let’s discuss your unique gasket needs. Give Strouse a call (800)-410-8273, or ask an engineer!

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Scott Chambers

Written by Scott Chambers

Business Development Manager for Strouse Scott graduated from Coastal Carolina with a degree in Business Management. He then attended the University of Baltimore School of Law earning his JD in 2016. He passed the bar later that year, and he started working for Strouse in 2017. Scott is in charge of marketing and business development in addition to being Strouse's In House Counsel.

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