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An Overview of Thermal Insulation Tape

By Sue Chambers on Nov 15, 2022 11:36:58 AM

Using thermal insulation tape

Thermal insulation tape, like all thermal insulation materials, reduces the amount of heat transfer between objects. The most widely known application of this concept is the insulation that goes in houses to save money on energy.

Thermal insulation tape has five main applications:

1) Preventing water condensation or frosting on system lines

2) High-Temperature protection

3) Fireproofing

4) Thermal Conductivity

5) General heat shielding or reflecting radiant heat

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

Pipe Network Protection

Thermal tape contains foam that creates a heat barrier, which is why residential and commercial builders use it to mitigate heat loss on water lines. The distribution itself may cause the heating medium to cool.

As a result, occupants may end up with lukewarm water when 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 pipes. Therefore, occupants can prevent excessive heating costs. 

The cooling of the pipes is inevitable without an insulation barrier, assuming they’re not in a heated area. It’s especially true during winter, which may harm the heating quality of the pipes. In general, heat loss is an issue for metal pipes more than any other form of piping. 

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

Regardless of the season, it would be best if you considered applying thermal tape to pipes in the following areas:

  • Exterior walls
  • Crawl spaces
  • Unheated lower levels

Thermal insulation tape can help prevent frosting or condensation on the pipes. Cold pipes produce condensation upon encountering humid or warm air, causing puddles to form that cause more humidity. Applying insular tape during the colder months, you can counter frozen and burst pipes during the winter.  

Even though insulation pipes cannot prevent these things entirely, it’s still wise to insulate hot and cold-water piping to combat freezing. 

Streamlining the Industrial Process

If you own a manufacturing plant, applying fiberglass cloth insulating tapes on hot-process piping is possible.

Industrial process piping demands precise temperatures during its conversion phases, and thermal tape plays an integral role in maintaining the proper temperatures

Transported substances within process piping often need to remain at a specific temperature until they reach an intended destination. Insular tape can maintain the desired temperature so manufacturing facilities can continue operations unabated. 

Thermal tape is an invaluable tool for processing piping in all the following industries:

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

Aside from heat dissipation, the tape can distribute cooling materials effectively. Thermal tape is more durable and can withstand harsh temperatures during the industrial process. 

Fire Protection Properties

Heat insulator tape can come in the form of intumescent tape. This type of tape is a possible safeguard against fires and an effective soundproofing mechanism. In addition, it's a thin form of tape that you can apply easily on all domiciles and is, therefore, less noticeable.

In the event of a fire, intumescent tapes will expand and form a barrier against fire damage, providing the necessary insulation a structure needs before fire crews can snuff it out. 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 an excellent option for constructing 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 with a foil or metallic covering to reflect radiant heat. Apart from thermal radiation, the tape protects against any mechanical abrasions

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

  • Hoses
  • Lines
  • Cables

This type of tape cuts just as easily as any other. As a bonus, crew members don't have to disassemble existing structures to instill heat-reflective capabilities. Depending on the product, a heat-protective tape can undergo up to 1100F of continuous heating.

Roof Protection Barrier

Heat tape is a form of electric tape that prevents the accumulation of ice and snow on the roof of any domicile you construct. It spreads heat along the pipes to create a warmer surface, encouraging runoff and reducing the amount of ice or snow that sticks to your roof.

Ideally, this method to prevent blockage will also decrease ice and snow buildup in your gutters. 

Thermal insulation tape can 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 its many uses. You can use die-cutting for thermally conductive tapes, fostering quality dielectric power using temperature adhesions.

Die-cut thermal tape may come in complex shapes or sizes, depending on the nature of the project’s conductive activity. A die-cut job will conform the thermal tape to any commercial or residential construction venture. 

Thermal Conductivity

Besides construction projects, thermally conductive tapes provide adequate heat dissipation away from the hotspots of electronic devices. Manufacturers use thermal insulation (i.e., polyimide) tape to coat electronics.

One common application is when thermal insulation tape is placed around a circuit board to avoid “heatsink” or the unwanted absorption of heat. 

Thermal tape transfers the heat to cooler areas of the device. It's a vital asset that prevents overheating in electronics and spreads 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, as opposed to ceramics, which make the tape conductive. Yet, both materials contribute to more effortless 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 devices (i.e., power transistors) that generate a fair amount of heat.  

The Best Types of Tape Insulation

Although bonding strength is essential, other qualities such as lap shear, die strength, and holding properties are also crucial. You may need more robust features depending on the project:

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

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

Types of Electrical Tapes 

There’s a wide array of heat insulation tapes that become vital during the construction process. 

Electrical tape derives from many types of plastic, vinyl being its most common form.

Another variation is polyester tape, whose thin composition makes it ideal for wrapping the following objects: 

  • Potentiometers
  • Capacitors
  • Coils

It both enables them to resist abrasions and gives them a tough texture. 

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

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

Cloth friction tape is more flexible than other tape forms, allowing users to tear it away by hand. Builders use this adhesive for wrapping wires, harnesses, and cables. 

If your crew members need something sturdier, 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. 

Adhesive strength is essential, but you must consider other features that buffer the insulation properties.

Aluminum Foil Tapes

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

Many builders use aluminum tape to stabilize temperature variations in an area (i.e., residential attics) because it offers more safeguards than rubber adhesives in 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. These other insular tapes may degrade quickly when UV light or solvents are exposed. 

Aluminum foil can survive hot and cold temperatures, and its acrylic properties make it flame-resistant and more substantial 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 solid mechanical strength compared to aluminum tapes. 

Workers may need scrap metal or drywall meshing with other fasteners to secure the proper insulation. As with other forms of thermal tape, aluminum doesn't require additional accessories to function correctly. 

Thermal Insulation vs. Heat Activated Adhesives

Although the names may seem similar, the two don’t have much in common besides being adhesives. 

Heat activated adhesives only begin to bond or adhere after reaching a certain temperature.

Heat activated adhesives' benefits and uses vary significantly from thermal insulation adhesives. Instead of focusing on energy retention, heat activated tapes rely on chemical reactions, which create bonds between the adhesive and the surface.

Because of their strength, heat activated adhesives are primarily used in induction curing and high-pressure composites. Meanwhile, thermal insulation tape is purposed for heat distribution and doesn’t require anything to be activated. 

The Benefits of Thermal Tape Over Other Varieties

Thermal paste is an alternative to thermal tape, but not only is it messy, it often takes an expert to distribute the paste in a way that will evenly distribute the heat. As a home builder, you may not have a thermal paste expert on staff during a construction project. 

Unlike thermal paste, thermal tape comes with minimal learning curves or precise strategies. Builders can apply the tape without extra adhesives or products.

The simplicity of cutting and applying the tape will save time and money by allowing builders to finish jobs in a quicker, more comfortable manner. 

Builders can use thermal insulation tape for various purposes, such as pipe insulation, electrical heat disruption, or coating protection. First and foremost, it protects wiring or pipes from outside elements that can degrade the structure's integrity, including any contents contained within. The thermal conductivity can quickly spread over the surfaces when it comes to die-cuts. 

Regarding electrical transference, vinyl tape is highly effective when applied on a mass scale. Most insulation tapes on the market are durable, but not all are flexible to the point where workers can tear them away by hand. The most important thing to remember is that the tapes must have die strength, bonding power, and lap shear. 

If you’re interested in learning more about popular adhesives, we’ve got you covered with our converting newsletter that’ll keep you updated.

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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