Understanding Foam Tape Materials and Applications
Foam tapes are used for a variety of applications including but not limited to: gasketing, bonding, sealing, weatherstripping, acoustical (sound isolation), thermal insulation, and vibration damping. Various types of foam tapes are ideal for use in appliances, automotive applications, electrical/electronics, shower and bath, truck/trailer/RV, point-of-purchase signage, window fabrication, and plastic moulder/extruder applications. Foam tape is often used in place of mechanical fasteners (rivets, bolts, screws, and welding materials) because of its ability to withstand a high level of vibration, its high strength and its durable seals against cold, dust, gas, liquid, sounds, etc. Below is information about foam tape materials and applications.
Foam Tape Material Properties
Variations in foam tape properties (density, thickness, adhesive type, and cell structure) allow for a great variety of end uses and applications. Foam tape is extremely flexible which allows for filling spaces and making it conformable for joining irregular surfaces. The normal temperature range that foam tape can withstand is -40°F to 300°F. Foam tape resists moisture, ultraviolet rays from the sun, and solvents, providing high bonding strength to compensate for different thermal expansions.
Foam Tape Materials and Applications
Foam tapes are used for a vast amount of different types of bonding and sealing applications. Examples of foam tape use include various applications in the automotive industry such as bonding plastic emblems onto metal substrates, sealing windows, doors, sunroofs, and trunks/hatches. Foam tapes are also used extensively in the HVAC and construction industries for various applications.
A common use for foam tape is to use it as gasketing tape. Adhesive-coated foam tapes are compressible sealants that close up an area between two matched machine parts or around pipe joints to prevent the escape of a gas, fluid, air, or sound. Some areas of use include electrical enclosures, shed doors, and garage doors. Foam tapes are an alternative sealant to rubber foams or pumpable sealants/caulk.
Another common application of foam tape is as a weatherstripping material. It is frequently placed along doors (sometimes windows) to keep cold and hot air outside. When there is an insufficient seal around a window or door due to age or poor construction, foam tape seals the gaps, offering a solid, long-term, cost-effective solution to replacement.
Foam Tape Material Benefits
Foam tape usually comes in rolls and has a removable backing that is peeled off immediately before application. While many foam tape applications require adhesive on one side only, double-sided foam tape is also available. This is often used when the two sides that are joined by the tape are not expected to be moved. This would likely not be the case for weatherstripping applications because windows and doors are often opened during more temperate months. When outdoor temperatures heat up, doors and windows are closed and the one-sided weatherstripping remains in place and protects against heat entering, or cooling from air-conditioning escaping.
Due to the thickness of foam tape, it does not usually come in lengths longer than about eight feet to a roll, which may not even be enough to weatherstrip one window. It is important to check lengths before purchasing to ensure the roll contains enough tape to complete the desired task. For load-bearing tasks using foam tape, the required weight to be supported must be assessed to determine the tape area needed.
Globalspec. (n.d.). Foam Tapes Information. Retrieved October 15, 2020, from Globalspec: https://www.globalspec.com/learnmore/manufacturing_process_equipment/stock_fabricated_materials_components/industrial_tapes/foam_tapes
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