Have you ever used the wrong type of adhesive?
At worst, you probably duct-taped the wall and annoyed your landlord. However, there’s no room for error when designing your product: The consequences of using the wrong adhesive could mean flushing thousands of dollars away.
Strouse has been converting a wide range of adhesives for over 36 years, so while you might be anxious that you don’t know enough to make a final decision, we can provide you with the advice you need to find the right tape.
We’ve gathered ten different adhesive options for you to consider so that by the end of this discussion, you’ll be armed with the tools you need to get started on your product.
10 Types of Adhesives
Finding the right tape is like stumbling through an endless, sticky maze. There’s no shame in getting lost– most people don’t think about different types of adhesive in their daily lives.
Once you’ve read through the ten types of adhesives we’ve often handled over the years, you’ll have a better idea of picking the right adhesive material from several options.
1. ADHESIVE FILMS
Challenging what’s possible.
Adhesive films are often used as a protective barrier or to bond materials with a smooth, transparent substrate to electric devices.
Once adhesive films are heat-cured in the desired position, they can adhere to two separate materials.
Adhesive films are typically processed through flatbed, rotary, or laser die cutting.
Types of adhesive film include:
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
For more information on adhesive films:
2. FASTENER TAPE
Reclosability. Ingenuity. Reliability.
Fastener tape comprises two strips that latch onto one another via interlocking abilities. On the back of each fastener is another adhesive to stick together the objects or materials.
Fastener tapes are rigid, meaning they can be accurately converted and meet tight tolerances.
Types of fastener tape include:
- Dual lock tape
- Industrial hook and loop tape
For more information on fastener tape:
Top 4 Tips for Using Dual Lock Tape
Best Low-Profile Adhesive Bonding Materials
3. FOAM TAPE
Incredible versatility, and multiple uses.
Adhesive foam tape can be a temporary or permanent solution depending on the goals of your project.
Most foam tape is either acrylic or rubber based, with a polyester, acrylic, polyethylene, polypropylene, or urethane carrier. The foam's thickness can range from 1 mil to 375+ mil.
Foam tape is often used to replace screws or heavy fasteners to reduce the stress on a singular point of your application and make it look more aesthetically pleasing.
Types of foam tape include:
- Sponge rubber
For more information on foam tape:
Foam Tape: A Comprehensive Guide
Crucial Applications of Die Cut Foam Tape
The Greatest VHB Foam Mounting Tapes of All Time
Foam Gaskets - Foam Gasket Tape - An Ultimate Guide
When Closed-Cell Foam Is The Best Option For Your Gasket
4. Foil adhesive
Conformable, industrial-strength adhesion.
Foil adhesive tapes are often made from metal and help with vibration suppression and EMI/RFI shielding.
Strouse often customizes these adhesives to include tabs or extended liners for maximum efficiency in automated assembly or assembly by hand.
Other features of foil adhesives are thermal management, flame resistance, efficient heating or cooling, puncture resistance, humidity bonding, and more.
Types of foil adhesive include:
- Aluminum foil tape
- Copper foil tape
- Stainless steel tape
For more information on foil adhesive:
5. INDUSTRIAL PACKING TAPE
As tough as you need them to be.
If you’re going to ship anything, you’ll want to guarantee your customers that their goods arrive untampered with and intact, and industrial packing tape can help provide that safety reassurance.
With each material sized to custom measurements and the length of tape sized on each roll, you’ll never have to guess the exact amount used per package.
Additional uses include bag sealing, carton sealing, gummed tape, and label protection.
Examples of industrial packing tape:
- 3M 371 Clear Tape
- 3M 373 Carton Sealing Tape
For more information on industrial packing tape:
6. PAPER & MASKING TAPE
A versatile set of pressure sensitive adhesives.
Paper tape is a broad category covering masking tapes, kraft paper tapes, and double coated tapes.
Industrial processes apply paper tape for paint masking, paint stripping, electroplating masking, anodizing masking, and more.
Strouse frequently uses 3M’s wide range of masking tapes, which includes:
- 3M 201+ General Use Masking Tape
- 3M 301+ Performance Yellow Masking Tape
- 3M 401+ High-Performance Green Masking Tape
- 3M 501+ Specialty High-Temperature Masking Tape
For more information on paper & masking tape:
The Best Masking Tapes For Custom Masking Tape
3M's 5 Tape System Simplifies Masking Selection Process
Adhesive Release Liners Overview and Selection
7. MEDICAL TAPE
Trustworthy conversions for safe, reliable jobs every time.
It’s essential medical tape reaches a certain standard to ensure it’s clean and safe to use straight out of the package/off the roll.
For instance, Strouse is backed by ISO-13485 and an ISO 7 cleanroom with hospital-grade air, FDA registration, and NIOSH approval. If you want a clean product, you won’t be disappointed here.
Medical tape can be hypoallergenic, latex-free, conformable for joints, and water-resistant to adhere to damp or dry skin.
Types of medical tape include:
- Medical adhesive
- Double sided
For more information on medical tape:
8. OPTICALLY CLEAR ADHESIVE
Advanced technology & numerous applications.
Optically clear adhesives are used on display devices like phone or TV screens and touch panels to bind the sensor unit to the cover or lens.
Most screens of this nature have custom formatting to fit new device designs, but Strouse will die cut optically clear adhesive in whatever shape or size you need.
You may be asking yourself how it works. Still, the science is exactly what you’d expect: Optically clear adhesives are transparent, allowing them to bond to the surface of a device without distorting the graphics display.
Examples of optically clear adhesive include:
- 3M 8171
- Polymershapes 456 PET
- Lexan™ 8010 Polycarbonate
- Permacel CS9622T
For more information on optically clear adhesive:
9. THERMAL INTERFACE MATERIALS
Thermal interface materials are made when conductive ceramic particles are added to a high-performance acrylic adhesive for more reliable electronic device performance.
Electrical device performance is increased through thermal interface materials, which result in better heat sink bonding and power transistor attachment.
Examples of thermal interface materials include:
- 3M 8926 Series Thermally Conductive Interface Tape
- 3M 5590H Thermally Conductive Acrylic Interface Pad
- 3M 9876 Series Thermally Conductive and Heat Spreading Tape
For more information on thermal interface materials:
Your Guide to Thermal Interface Material
So, You’re Looking To Use Electrically Conductive Transfer Tape
10. TRANSFER TAPE
Excellent adhesion and solvent resistance.
Transfer tapes are one of the fastest and easiest solutions to increase production efficiency.
They can be single or double linered, fiber reinforced, permanent bonding, repositionable bonding, humidity resistant, and have an extended liner.
Types of transfer tape include:
- Fiber reinforced
- Single/Double/Extended liner
- Humidity resistant liner
For more information on transfer tape:
Adhesive Transfer Tape in Gasket Applications
An Overview of 3M's F9473pc VHB Adhesive Transfer Tape
Choosing the Right Adhesive
You’ve read about each of the different adhesives, and now it’s time to figure out which one suits you best. Choosing the right adhesive boils down to your project's nature.
Consider the following questions:
- What type of surface are you using it on?
- How flexible does your adhesive need to be?
- Does your part need to last for a long time?
- Is heat involved in the use of this product?
- Is the shape of the part complex?
If you have an idea for a part but don’t know where to begin, contact us, and we’ll help you figure out what materials suit your part based on its intended purpose.
Finally, assuming you have the design for a part but you’re still looking to test out different adhesive options or materials, you can always try out different combinations through our Sample Express: