Would you stick office tape under the hood of your car? If anything, it sounds like a fire hazard.
Some adhesives can’t take the heat, but luckily, many tapes are specially designed to withstand high temperatures.
As a company that often works closely with the aerospace, automotive, and electrical industries, Strouse has helped build hundreds of different heat resistant components.
Today, we will discuss heat-resistant tapes in greater detail to explain how they work, why they fail, and offer a multitude of options.
What Classifies a Tape as Heat Resistant?
As you may have already guessed, “heat resistant” is a relative term.
Most durable tapes can withstand operating temperatures of up to 250-300°F, but once you get up to 400°F or higher, this is when you need to start looking at specific materials for high-temperature applications.
7 Types of Tape that Can Resist Heat
If you’re searching for high-temperature materials, your first thought is likely, “Which of these heat-resistant tapes will work best for my project?”
Having worked with a range of materials, we’ve determined that silicone adhesives, Kapton film, foils, glass cloth, polyester tape, acrylic adhesives, and 3M VHB tape are a few of the most popular materials for heat resistant bonding, gasketing, and other applications.
The following list will break down these different types of tape so you can make the best choice during your material selection process.
1. SILICONE ADHESIVES
Silicone is considered almost exclusively when you talk about heat-resistant tapes.
The bonds of silicone adhesives can typically withstand -60°F to 500°F (-51°C to 260°C), at least for short-term uses. Many tapes can survive short bursts of high heat without long-term applications, which is something you’ll want to keep an eye out for once you’re perusing different technical datasheets.
Silicone adhesives are often used in high-temperature aerospace, automotive, construction, and electrical applications.
2. KAPTON (POLYIMIDE) TAPE
Kapton tape, also known as polyimide tape, is often used in aerospace applications due to its extreme heat resistance and insulating properties.
Its temperature capabilities mean Kapton can withstand temperatures ranging from -103°F to 500°F (-75°C to 260°C), but supposedly it has functioned in temperatures as low as -320°F to 752°F (-196°C to 400°C).
Foil adhesive tapes (aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and more) are used for EMI and RFI shielding, HVAC sealing and insulation, and packaging.
The temperature performance range of a foil tends to be around -65°F to 600°F (-54°C to 316°C), although the temperature resistance will likely depend on the type of foil you’re using.
4. GLASS CLOTH
Glass cloth or fiberglass cloth tapes are used for sound insulation, material reinforcement, and more.
Similar to Kapton and foils, glass cloth has an extremely high-temperature resistance and can handle more elevated temperatures of over 500°F (260°C).
5. POLYESTER (PET) FILM TAPE
Polyester (PET) tape is used for electronic joining, high-temperature masking for powder coating applications, and splicing.
Polyester tapes can often last in -94°F to 400°F environments (-70°C to 204°C), and even higher temperatures with shorter bake cycles.
6. 3M VHB TAPE
3M’s VHB (“Very High Bonding”) Tape is also primarily used to replace mechanical fasteners for the sake of reducing application weight or for achieving secure long-term bonds.
3M VHB tape is not explicitly considered a “heat-resistant” product. Although some VHB tapes can withstand up to 450°F, most VHB tapes are under that limit. Many VHBs fall somewhere around -40°F to 200°F (-40°C to 93°C).
7. ACRYLIC ADHESIVES
Acrylic adhesive tape is used for powerful bonding applications in automotive, medical, and many other industries. They are high-strength and flexible components used to replace mechanical fasteners like screws or rivets.
Although acrylic adhesive tape can get up to the 400°F range (204°C), most of them actually fall well below that limit. As for the lower end, it’s generally agreed that the limit is -20°F to -40°F (-28°C to -40°C) depending on the tape.
What Should I Look Out For When Choosing Heat Resistant Tape?
Tapes are only as strong as their weakest link.
A tape consists of two primary components: the adhesive and the carrier/backing. Occasionally, there can be two different adhesives when the material is a differential double-coated product.
When any of the components (adhesives, carrier, or backing) fail, the tape is compromised. For example, a foil backing that can withstand 600°F can fail at 300°F if the chosen adhesive is only good up to 300°F.
Another potential issue is mistaking a short-term (minutes or hours) for a long-term (days or weeks) temperature resistance.
The short-term vs. long-term heat resistance listed on a particular product can be as far as 100°F apart. Mistakenly using a tape with short-term resistance might work temporarily and then fail over time.
How Can I Choose the Right Heat Resistant Tape?
Choosing the right tape is dependent on your project, but there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you’re finding a tape for your specifications.1. Reach out to a flexible material converter and share your application and your unique design requirements.
The converter will be able to address from a complete application perspective, including manufacturability.2. Reach out to your tape supplier, such as 3M, tesa, Avery Dennison, Mactac, Berry, etc., and share your application and unique design requirements.
The supplier will be able to make suggestions based on the application or your design requirements, but not as much from the manufacturing perspective
3. Online research. Many product technical data sheets are searchable and available online. These typically include information pertaining to temperature resistance and target applications.
Ultimately, if you choose path #2 or #3, you’ll still need to address manufacturing. This might lead you to a material converter, who will ensure that no critical manufacturing, cost, or feasibility factors went unconsidered.