Glossary

Commonly used terminology

Browse through our explanations of commonly used terminology in the adhesive tape and tape converting industry. For a specific term use the search or filter options.

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A
Acetate cloth
Acetate cloth

A type of backing used in electrical insulation tapes. This backing offers excellent absorption of electrical insulation resins and varnishes. View acetate cloth tapes here.

Adhesion to backing
Adhesion to backing

The bond produced to the backing of the same tape or another tape backing.

Anchorage
Anchorage

The specific adhesion of a pressure sensitive adhesive to a face material or an anchor coat.

Ageing resistance
Ageing resistance

Ageing resistance is the degree of reliable performance of the tape over time, under certain conditions. Depending on the adhesive system being used, adhesive tapes are often usable for permanent applications. This permanence is reflected by the resistance of the adhesive against ozone (O3), oxygen (O2), UV light, temperature, humidity, water and different kinds of chemicals. Generally acrylic adhesives are much better suited to withstand these environmental influences than rubber adhesives and can maintain their permanent, reliable functionality over many years.

Adhesive transfer
Adhesive transfer

The transfer of adhesive from its normal position on the tape to the surface to which the tape was attached, either during unwind or removal.

Adhesive residue
Adhesive residue

Adhesive which is pulled away from the tape and remains on the surface to which the tape was applied.

Adhesive failure
Adhesive failure

Adhesive failure describes the separation of adhesive either from backing or from the substrate. The other basic failure mechanism of an adhesive bond is “cohesive failure” which refers to a fracture in the middle of the bulk adhesive. Learn more in our guide to using adhesive tapes.

 

Adhesive
Adhesive

Adhesives are polymer materials that are used to join dissimilar materials. Adhesives may be classified in many ways, e.g. by mode of application and setting, chemical composition, cost, and suitability for various adherents and end products. The term “pressure sensitive adhesive” (PSA) is used to describe adhesives that are permanently tacky in dry form at room temperature. The most common pressure sensitive adhesives are acrylics, natural rubber/resin, and synthetic rubber/thermoplastic rubber.

Adhesion to skin
Adhesion to skin

A study to determine the degree of adhesion to skin of medical tapes or adhesives for up to 96 hours. Additionally, the amount of residue remaining on the skin after the material removal is assessed. For more information go to our device attachment to skin and wound care pages.

Abrasion resistance
Abrasion resistance

The ability of a tape to withstand rubbing and friction and still function satisfactorily.

Adhesion build-up
Adhesion build-up

An increase in the peel adhesion value of a pressure-sensitive tape after it has been allowed to adhere to the applied surface.

Adhesion
Adhesion

Adhesion is the interaction that develops between two dissimilar bodies when they are in contact. At the molecular level, adhesion is based on physical and in some cases chemical bonding. The strength of adhesion depends on the type of adhesive. Pressure sensitive adhesives build up adhesion under light pressure. The ultimate bonding strength is reached after 24-72 hours. Read our tips on getting the optimum adhesion from your adhesive tape. 

Acrylic/acrylate
Acrylic/acrylate

Synthetic polymer with excellent ageing characteristics that can be used as a component adhesive.

Acrylic polymer
Acrylic polymer

A synthetic polymer with excellent ageing characteristics that can be used either as a single component adhesive or a coating or saturate, depending upon composition.

AccuPlace
AccuPlace

Automated pick and place equipment for placement of difficult to handle adhesive components. Find out more here.

Acetate film
Acetate film

A transparent film which is used for various reasons as a tape backing. Its primary characteristic is that it is more moisture resistant than cellophane.

Accelerated weathering
Accelerated weathering

An aspect of accelerated ageing; a tape is placed in a chamber and exposed to ultraviolet light, heat, and water whereby the effect of exposure to outdoor conditions on a tape can be measured.

Accelerated ageing
Accelerated ageing

When the deterioration of a tape from natural ageing is accelerated and simulated in the laboratory.

B
Bisco™
Bisco™

Bisco™ is a high performance silicone foam offering characteristics such as high resistance to temperature extremes, UV and ozone, high resilience to mechanical fatigue and excellent compression-set and creep resistance. See our foam and rubber page here for more information.

Blocking
Blocking

An undesired adhesion between touching layers of material, usually due to extreme conditions of pressure, temperature, or humidity.

Breaking load
Breaking load

The force required to break a unit width of tape under prescribed conditions.

Bursting strength
Bursting strength

The ability of a tape to resist damage when a force is applied evenly and perpendicularly to the surface of a tape.

Backing
Backing

Materials which “carry” the adhesive. The backing also reinforces the adhesive tape and improves handling and processing properties. Most commonly used backing types are film backings (e.g. PET, PP, PVC, PE), paper based backings (e.g. non-woven, tissue), foam backings (e.g. PU, PE and PVC foams).

A specialty adhesive tape type is a transfer tape which has no backing. The adhesive is directly coated on the liner.

Backside
Backside

The uncoated side or side opposite the adhesive coating. For a double coated tape, the side in contact with the liner after unwinding.

Backsize
Backsize

A material applied to the backside of a tape to provide a release surface or heat seal property.

C
Composite film
Composite film

A polyester film backing used in electrical insulation tapes. View composite film tapes here.

Curling
Curling

The tendency of a tape to curl back on itself when unwound from the roll and allowed to hang from the roll.

Cure
Cure

To alter the properties of an adhesive by chemical reaction, which may be condensation, polymerisation, or vulcanisation. Usually accomplished by the action of heat and catalysts, alone or in combination, with or without pressure.

Cross-linking
Cross-linking

The development of a three dimensional structure within an adhesive to improve cohesive strength, temperature, oil or solvent resistance.

Crepe paper
Crepe paper

Paper which has small regular folds in it giving it a higher stretch than a flat back paper of the same weight.

Creep
Creep

The slow movement of the adhesive or backing under shear stress.

Corona treatment
Corona treatment

This is the method to modify the surface of a substrate to provide better anchorage of the adhesive. Corona treatment is an atmospheric plasma treatment. It is applied to non polar/low energy surfaces to facilitate the anchorage of the adhesive.

Corona resistance
Corona resistance

The ability of an elastomeric adhesive, coating, or sealer acting as an insulator to withstand the effects of high voltage discharge. Indications of failure appear as surface cracks.

Core
Core

The inner cylinder of cardboard or plastic on which the tape is wound.

Converting
Converting

The operation of changing a jumbo roll of adhesive tape into a finished product by slitting, short roll winding and die-cutting. Parafix has over 45 years experience as a tape converting specialist; read more about our converting capabilities here.

Colour stability
Colour stability

The ability of a tape to retain its original colour, particularly when exposed to light.

Conformability
Conformability

The backing of an adhesive tape influences its ability to adhere to curved, rough or irregular surfaces. Conformable backings increase the contact area of adhesive and substrate. Foam backings are inherently conformable and can therefore compensate for surface irregularities between the two bonding substrates.

Conditioning
Conditioning

The process of subjecting material to specific temperatures and relative humidity conditions for a stipulated period of time.

CAD
CAD

Stands for Computer Aided Design. It is the use of computer programmes to produce 2D or 3D graphical representations of physical objects.  These programmes enable the user to perform calculations and analyse component design variants for determining an optimum shape and size for the final output. This minimises the requirement for tooling and physical prototypes at your component design stage. Parafix offer this capability in house, learn more here.

Colour
Colour

Usually describes the colour of a tape when looking at the backing, regardless of the colour of the adhesive.

Cold flow
Cold flow

The tendency of a pressure-sensitive adhesive to act like a heavy viscous liquid over periods of time. Such phenomena as oozing and increases in adhesion are the result of this characteristic.

Cohesive failure
Cohesive failure

Cohesive failure leaves adhesive residue on both the PSA tape backing and the laminated surface, showing that the adhesive broke internally. Use an easy check with your finger: it sticks on both the substrate and the tape.

Cohesion
Cohesion

Cohesion describes the inner strength of the adhesive. It mainly determines the holding power (shear resistance) of the tape.

Coating weight 
Coating weight 

The amount of a solution applied to a sheet in the tape making process. The units are usually grains per 24 square inches.

Coated cloth
Coated cloth

Fabric with a rubber or plastic back coating. Examples are insulation tapes (including glass cloth and acetate cloth) and medical tapes (nonwovens). Browse our range of single sided cloth tapes here

Closed side (liner)
Closed side (liner)

Is the surface of a release liner, which normally remains in contact with the adhesive on unwinding.

Closed side (adhesive)
Closed side (adhesive)

The surface of the adhesive on a double sided tape, which normally remains in contact with the release liner on unwinding.

Clean room
Clean room

A clean room is an environment with a controlled level of dust and other contaminants. Parafix has a class 7 clean room; compliant with BS EN ISO 14644-1, for the manufacturing of automotive, electrical and healthcare components. Learn more here.

Cellophane film
Cellophane film

A thin transparent film manufactured from wood pulp.

Carrier
Carrier

The base material onto which a pressure sensitive adhesive is applied, on both faces, to produce a double-sided tape.

Caliper
Caliper

Thickness of a tape, backing, or adhesive, usually measured in mils (1/1000 of an inch).

D
Dead stretch
Dead stretch

The increase of length of a piece of tape after it has been stretched without breaking and allowed to recover.

Delamination
Delamination

Where the liner separates from the tape.

Dielectric strength
Dielectric strength

The measure of the maximum voltage stress that a single layer of tape can withstand before dielectric failure occurs, the test being carried out under prescribed conditions.

Dimensional stability
Dimensional stability

Correlates with humidity of liners. Dimensional stability prevents the liner from showing an irregular surface or dimensional change due to absorption of moisture. Dimensionally stable liners are mainly:

  • PE coated paper liners
  • Film liners
Double coated
Double coated

See double-sided tape.

Double faced
Double faced

See double-sided tape.

Double sided tape
Double sided tape

Comprised of a backing material coated with adhesive on both sides. Usually one adhesive layer is covered with a release liner (closed side) in order to wind the PSA tape in roll form. In double sided tape production the backing is often pre-treated with a primer to enable a maximum anchorage between backing and adhesive.

View our range of double sided materials here.

Dual Lock™
Dual Lock™

Dual Lock™ is a 3M™ reclosable fastening system that is up to 12 times stronger than regular hook and loop systems. They offer temporary and invisible fastening for various applications, such as those within point of sale, signage and transportation.

Dwell
Dwell

The length of time a tape sample is allowed to remain in contact with any specific testing surface before the test begins.

E
Elastic memory
Elastic memory

A tendency of some tape backings to return to their original length after being elongated.

Elasticity
Elasticity

The extensible property of adhesive films or adhesive interfaces to contract and expand in such a manner as to overcome the differential contraction and expansion rates that the bonded adherends may exhibit.

Elastomer
Elastomer

An elastic, polymeric substance, such as natural or synthetic rubber.

Electrical strength
Electrical strength

The voltage at which breakdown of the tape occurs under the prescribed conditions of test, divided by the distance apart of the two electrodes between which the voltage is applied.

Electrolytic corrosion factor
Electrolytic corrosion factor

A measure of the tape’s corrosive effect on an electrical conductor, particularly copper. This is particularly important in the selection of tapes for electrical insulation.

Elongation at break
Elongation at break

The amount a tape has stretched lengthwise at the point of breaking. It is expressed as a percentage of the original unstretched length.

EMI/RFI shielding
EMI/RFI shielding

Where electro-magnetic interference and radio frequency interference is shielded in electronic devices. This can be achieved using various materials, including copper and aluminium tapes. Learn more here.

Easy unwind treatment
Easy unwind treatment

See release coating.

Edge curl
Edge curl

The peeling back or lifting of the outer edge of a tape after application.

F
Foam
Foam

These are materials containing small holes (cells) distributed throughout the entire body. They can be either closed cell or open cell. Most common foams are:

  • AC foam
  • Ethylene-vinylacetate-foam (EVA)
  • Polyurethane-foam (PU)
  • Polyethylene-foam (PE)

Browse our foam materials here.

Faceside
Faceside

The side of the backing on which the adhesive is coated. For a double-coated tape; the side first exposed after unwinding.

Face stock 
Face stock 

Any paper, film, fabric, laminate, or foil material suitable for converting into pressure sensitive material stock. In the finished construction this web is bonded to the adhesive layer and becomes the functional part of the tape construction.

Fall-off
Fall-off

When a tape pulls completely from the surface to which it is applied and drops off.

Fatigue 
Fatigue 

A weakness resulting from stress created by repeated flexing or impact force upon the adhesive-adherend interface.

Filaments
Filaments

Thin, longitudinal threads of glass, polyester, nylon, or other high strength materials. View our filament reinforced tapes here.

 

Film
Film

Uniform, homogeneous, plastic webs. Learn more on our single sided film tape and medical grade film pages.

 

 

Fish eyes
Fish eyes

Relatively small deformations (pockmarks) in the adhesive caused by the entrapment of air between layers in the roll. These are not an indication of a quality defect.

Flagging
Flagging

A peeling away from the surface or tape backing of the end of a length of tape, particularly in a spiral wrap application.

Flame resistance
Flame resistance

This is the ability of a tape to withstand exposure to flame. Fireproof materials will not burn even when exposed to flame. Flame-resistant (fire-retardant, self-extinguishing) materials will burn when exposed to flame, but will not sustain the burn after the flame is removed.

Flame treatment
Flame treatment

Method for modifying the surface of a substrate to provide better anchorage of an adhesive to a non polar backing by flame.

Flatback
Flatback

A term used to describe a smooth paper backing for a tape to distinguish it from crepe paper backings.

Flexibility
Flexibility

The ability of a tape to be freely bent or flexed during application, particularly applicable in low temperature use.

Fluting
Fluting

The distortion of a roll of tape such that the layers no longer form a circle.

G
Gapping
Gapping

An opening between layers within a roll.

Glass cloth tape
Glass cloth tape

A high strength tape offering insulation and protection against high temperatures and/or flame. They also provide solvent and abrasion resistance. View our glass cloth insulating tapes here. We also offer acetate cloth tapes.

Glass transition temperature
Glass transition temperature

The glass transition temperature (TG) is the temperature at which the adhesive becomes brittle. It is important that the application temperature is distinctly above the TG of the adhesive (e.g. resealable bags that are stored in the fridge or freezer as it can prevent a safe reclosure of the bag). Learn more about storing your adhesive tape here

Gloss
Gloss

The measure of the reflectiveness of a tape backing, generally expressed by such terms as glossy, low gloss, dull, etc. A more specific definition is on the Gardner scale which measures absorption of light reflected from a beam with a stated angle of incidence.

Guillotining
Guillotining

Converting equipment commonly used to laminate and sheet adhesive materials. Learn more here.

H
Hand tearability
Hand tearability

Property of tapes which allows manual cutting or tearing without the use of additional equipment such as knife, scissors or dispenser. Both liner and backing must be tearable.

Hard adhesive
Hard adhesive

A term usually used to characterise highly cohesive adhesive tapes. Advantages (compared to soft adhesives) include:

  • Higher holding power
  • Withstands higher sustained loads
  • Good temperature resistance
  • Less edge picking
  • Improved die- cuttability

Disadvantages include:

  • Low initial tack and adhesion;requires higher contact pressure
  • Not suited for rough surfaces
Heat activated adhesive
Heat activated adhesive