8 min read

An Overview of Thermal Insulation Tape

By Sue Chambers on Jul 28, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Thermal Insulation Tape

Thermal insulation tape, like all thermal insulation materials, reduces the amount of heat transfer between objects. Heat flow tends to be an inevitable consequence of two objects touching; however, thermal insulation tape will help reduce or reflect some of the heat transfer. The most widely known application of this concept is the insulation that goes in houses to lower energy bills.

Thermal insulation tape has four main applications:

1) Preventing water condensation or frosting on system lines

2) High-Temperature protection

3) Fireproofing

4) General heat shielding or reflecting radiant heat

Let's take a look at these applications in more detail to see the potential of thermal insulation tape.

Pipe Network Protection

Since thermal tape contains foam that provides a heat barrier, residential or commercial builders can use them on water lines to mitigate the loss of heat. The distribution of the heating medium may cause the medium to cool.

As a result, occupants may end up with lukewarm water by the time it reaches their faucets. Tape insulation can also help residents save on energy costs with the following method:

  • Example: If you install water heaters on your properties, you can insulate the pipes that stem from the heaters. This strategy will minimize heat loss in the pipes. Therefore, occupants can prevent excessive heating costs. 

Unless the pipes are in a heated area, the cooling of the pipes will be inevitable without an insulation barrier that can preserve the heat. This is especially true during winter months that may hamper the heating quality of the pipes. Heat loss is also a common problem with metal pipes more than other forms of piping. 

On the other hand, heat insulator tape can compensate for the lack of heating in a specific area. 

Moreover, you can also use the same form of tape to prevent frosting or condensation on the pipes. Cold pipes tend to produce condensation when in contact with humid or warm war, causing puddles to form that cause more humidity. By applying insular tape during the colder months, you can counter burst and frozen pipes during the winter.  

Even though insulation pipes cannot prevent freezing or burst pipes entirely, it's an excellent way to protect your pipe networks on all of your properties. Overall, you should insulate hot and cold water piping to combat freezing. 

Regardless of the season, you should consider thermal tape on pipes in the following areas:

  • Exterior walls
  • Crawl spaces
  • Unheated lower levels

You don't have to apply heat insulator tape on pipes that are behind walls, but you should use thermal tape on any pipe network that's exposed to the elements. 

Streamlining the Industrial Process

If you own a manufacturing plant, you can also apply fiberglass cloth insulating tapes on hot process piping. Industrial process piping calls for precise temperatures during the conversion phases, and thermal tape can play an integral role in maintaining the proper temperatures. 

The transported substance within process piping may need to remain at a specific temperature by the time it reaches its intended destination. Therefore, the insular tape can maintain the desired temperature so manufacturing facilities can continue operations unabated. 

Thermal tape is an invaluable tool to process piping in the following industries:

  • Food and beverages
  • Oil and gas
  • Manufacturing
  • Power generation
  • Aerospace
  • Wastewater treatment

In addition to the dissipation of heat, the tape can also distribute cooling materials effectively. Additionally, the thermal tape is more durable, able to withstand harsh temperatures during the industrial process. Other types of insulative methods may call for screws or chemicals. However, thermally insulating tape requires no aides or additional steps to dispense heat. 

Fire Protection Properties

Heat insulator tape can come in the form of intumescent tape. This type of tape is a viable safeguard against fires. It's also an effective soundproofing mechanism. Also, it's a thin form of tape that you can apply easily on all domiciles, and it's not noticeable.

In the event of a fire, these tapes will expand and form a barrier against fire damage. It provides the necessary insulation that a structure needs before fire crews can snuff out the fire. Intumescent tape is an effective tool that may save your properties from ruin in the event of fire damage. 

Optimal Heat Reflection

Thermal insulation tape is a great option if you construct products or structures that must reflect heat. Certain types of insulation tape may contain metallic plastic or foil that can reflect heat.

Other types of tape may have an interior foam barrier/foam that has a foil or metallic covering to reflect radiant heat. In addition to thermal radiation, the tape can also protect against mechanical abrasions of any kind. 

Overall, thermal taping can turn heat away from the following objects:

  • Hoses
  • Lines
  • Cables

Users can cut this type of tape just as easily as any other form of tape. Moreover, crew members don't have to disassemble existing structures to instill heat-reflective capabilities. Depending on the product, a heat-protective tape can undergo 1100F of incessant heating. 

Roof Protection Barrier

Heat tape is a form of electric tape that can prevent the accumulation of ice and snow on the roof of any domicile that you construct. It can also decrease ice and snow buildup in gutters. With thermal insulation tape, you can also enhance your buildings with adequate water runoff as the snow and ice melt. 

Die-cut Thermal Tapes

Thermal tapes have a variety of qualities, but die-cut is among the most important due to the custom features that it offers. You can find die-cut jobs for thermally conductive tapes, fostering a quality dielectric power using temperature adhesions.

You may find the die-cut in the form of complex shapes or sizes, depending on the nature of the thermal conductive activity. A die-cut job conforms the thermal tape to any commercial or residential construction venture.

Thermal Conductivity

In addition to construction projects, thermal conductive tapes provide adequate dissipation of heat away from the hotspots of electronic devices. Thermal insulation tape (i.e. polyimide tape) is usually used by manufacturers to coat electronics.

Thermal tape will also transfer the heat to cooler places of the device. It's a vital asset that prevents overheating in electronics and spreads out the heating evenly. The die-cut addition adds to the thermal transference over the surface area.

You'll find that thermal conductive tapes contain special acrylics and ceramics that make the tape conductive. Further, both of these materials add an easier thermal transfer and tougher adhesion. 

Overall, the best type of conductive tape should include the following benefits:

  • Enhanced mechanical durability
  • Quality wet-out of the surface
  • Simple application
  • Dielectric quality
  • No halogen
  • Thin bonding applications
  • Immaculate shock performance

It's the best form of tape for any device (i.e. power transistors) that generates a fair amount of heat.  

Types of Electrical Tapes

You'll find a wide array of heat insulation tapes that can be vital during the construction process. One type of electrical tape is vinyl tape. It can also derive from other types of plastics, but vinyl is the most common form.

For class H forms of insulation, the electric tape may also derive from fiberglass cloth. Builders can use the tape to wrap electrical wiring to facilitate the transfer of heat. This form of tape is durable enough to provide adequate protection. 

Another form of electrical tape comes in the form of polyester tape. The thin composition makes them ideal for wrapping the following objects: 

  • Potentiometers
  • Capacitors
  • Coils

They can also resist abrasions, and they have a tough texture. 

Fiberglass cloth is another common form of thermal tape, keeping high temperatures at bay. It can also fare well against solvents and chemicals. It can also enhance non-electrical components as well. 

Cloth friction tape is more flexible than other forms of tape, and users can tear it away by hand. Builders can also use this one for wrapping wires, in addition to harnesses and cables. 

If your crew members need something stronger, double-sided thermal tapes provide strong bonding properties that can streamline workflows. The tape has a thermal-based ceramic powder, and the material may comprise aluminum foil or polyimide for additional strength. Despite its durability, however, it's easy to handle overall. 

  • Note: Aluminum buffers thermal conductivity, and polyimide adds electrical buffering. 

Finding adhesive strength is an important quality, but you must also search for other features that buffer the insulation properties. 

The Best Types of Tape Insulation

Even though the bonding strength is essential, other qualities such as lap shear, die strength, and holding properties are crucial as well. You may need stronger features depending on the project:

  • Example: Thicker tapes provide enhanced bonding and better insulation overall. With that, thicker forms of tape come with reduced shear strength because the tape has a more prominent bondline. 

The best type of thermal tape retains the right balance of all these traits.

Aluminum Foil Tapes

Aluminum foil types are one of the best forms of insular tape because of its longevity, and it provides adequate protection in cooler temperatures. You'll find metallic foil tapes attached to coils or tubes of refrigerators to foster thermal exchanges. 

Builders can also use aluminum tape to stabilize temperature variations in an area (i.e. residential attics). Tape that comes with a rubber adhesive offers fewer safeguards in terms of thermal regulation. 

The acrylic nature of aluminum tape provides the necessary thermal management. In addition, it adds more cohesion and adhesion than other varieties like tapes with rubber adhesives. Another problem with other insular types is that they can degrade easily when exposed to UV light. Also, the solvents may contribute to degradation.

Aluminum foil can also fare through hot and cold temperatures. Its acrylic properties also make it flame-resistant and stronger than other products.

  • Example: Rubber synthetic adhesives provide more temperature versatility, but it doesn't fare well in the light. Moreover, it doesn't have a strong mechanical strength when compared to aluminum tapes. 

As with other forms of thermal tape, aluminum also doesn't require additional accessories to work properly. With other types of fasteners, workers may need scrap metal or drywall meshing to secure the proper insulation. The aluminum tape also doesn't come with any messes, and workers can apply them in the same way as other forms of tape.

The Benefits of Thermal Tape Over Other Varieties

Thermal paste is an alternative to thermal tape, but workers may come across some challenges when using the paste variety. First, the paste can be messy, especially if crew members never used it before. Moreover, it takes an expert to distribute the paste in a manner that will evenly distribute the heat. As a home builder, you may not have a thermal paste expert on staff during a construction project. 

On the other hand, thermal tape comes with minimal learning curves or precise strategies. Builders can also apply the tape without additional adhesives or products.

Additionally, the simple nature of cutting the tape and applying it where necessary will save time and money. Overall, the simplicity of thermal tape also allows builders to finish jobs easier, especially in hazardous environments where workers don't want to stick around long. 

Thermal Insulation Tape and its Primary Benefits

Commercial or residential builders can use thermal insulation tape for a variety of purposes, such as pipe insulation, electrical heat disruption, or coating protection. Regardless, it protects wiring or pipes from outside elements that can degrade the integrity of the structure, including the contents contained within. When it comes to die-cuts, the thermal conductivity can spread over the surfaces with ease. 

For electrical transference, however, vinyl tape is among the most common insulation tapes that can be effective when applied on a mass scale. Most insulation tapes on the market are durable, but others are flexible to the point where workers can tear them away by hand. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the tapes must have die strength, bonding power, and lap shear. 

Are you interested in learning more about heat-based adhesives? Click here to learn more about this topic. 

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Sue Chambers

Written by Sue Chambers

As the CEO and President of Strouse Corporation, Sue Chambers is responsible for leading all facets of the business. Sue has a proven executive management track record and over 20 years of experience driving sales growth and operational innovation in the adhesive conversion industry. Sue possesses strong leadership, strategic vision, and savvy marketing skills. Sue has an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland. Since 1997 Sue Chambers joined Strouse and led the transformation into an enterprise-focused company while growing the company into a world leader in the innovative production of pressure-sensitive adhesive with revenue of over 20 million and growing. In the last three years, Strouse revenue has grown 62%; the number of employees has grown and continues to achieve and maintain ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certification. Strouse built a new production plant going from 40,000 to 62,500 square feet, increasing the production space by 50%. The building also can expand to 82,500 sq. Feet. Sue is active in the community serving on the Industrial Development Board presently and earning several business awards over the years. Most recently, 3M has recognized Strouse as a supplier of the year. She is also on the Dale Chambers Foundation board that raises money for local charities in the community.

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