GarCo Manufacturing Co., Inc.

A Material Solutions Company

Tape Terminology



Abrasion Resistance
The ability of a tape to withstand rubbing and/or scuffing and still function satisfactorily.

Aclar Film
A Chlorofluorocarbon film used in applications requiring clarity and very low moisture vapor transmission rate. (Trademark Allied Chemical).

Acetate Film
Transparent film produced by chemically treating cellulose. Provides moisture resistance and aging characteristics superior to those of cellophane.

Acrylic Adhesive
A pressure sensitive adhesive formed by the polymerization of acrylic ester monomers.  Acrylic adhesives generally exhibit high resistance to aging and temperature, and also durability against UV radiation and oxidation.

Adhesion A measure of the ability of a pressure sensitive tape to adhere to a specified surface under specific conditions of application and removal. This is usually expressed in the amount of force, in ounces per inch width, required to remove a piece of tape from a polished steel surface by pulling it back on itself at a 180 degree angle at the rate of 12” per minute. Adhesion is only one of the factors determining the sticking qualities of tape. Other factors include the following:

Adhesion to Backing
Bond produced by the contact between a pressure sensitive tape adhesive and the tape backing, when one piece of tape is applied over another piece. Generally measured by a peel test.

Adhesion to Steel Test
Used to determine the force required to remove pressure sensitive tape from a steel panel.

The pressure sensitive layer applied to a tape. There are a number of adhesive types. Adhesives include Acrylic, Butyl Rubber, Natural and Synthetic Rubber and Silicone adhesives.

Adhesive Deposit
Adhesive that is pulled away from the tape and remains on the surface after the tape is removed.

Adhesive Splitting
Occurs when a part of the adhesive remains as a layer on the surface from which the tape was removed. (See Anchorage)

Adhesive Transfer
Adhesive deposited from its normal position on the tape to the surface from which the tape was in contact. Can occur, either during unwind or removal.

Controlled temperature and humidity conditioning to provide a guide to any deterioration of the finished product that may be attributed to aging.

Aging Resistance
All adhesive tapes age. The chemical and physical properties change the longer they are stored.  These changes do not necessarily reduce the usability of an adhesive tape.  Further, some adhesives do not display high cohesion values until after they age.  No measurable change should develop in adhesive tape properties during the first six months.  If no negative properties are measurable after twelve months, then the adhesive tape is considered to have good aging resistance.

Ambient Temperature
Normal fluctuating temperatures in an environment where the conditions are not closely controlled—E.G. in a typical warehouse, boxcar, office building, etc.

Refers to the degree of adhesion the adhesion has for the backing on which it is carried. Insufficient anchorage results in complete transfer of the adhesive to another surface when the tape is removed. This is distinct from splitting, where only one layer of adhesive is transferred. (See Adhesive Splitting)

A chemical added to an adhesive that protects it from oxygen deterioration during aging, thus extending the usable life of the tape.

The American Society for testing and materials – an independent body that establishes testing methods and standards.

[back to top]


The primary component of tape upon which the adhesive is applied. It may be any continuous material, such as cloth, film, treated paper, metal, foil, laminated materials, etc.

The side opposite that upon which the adhesive is coated.

A treatment sometimes applied to the backside of a tape as a coating, which benefits the tape in one or more of the following ways:

      1. Provides a controlled level of Unwinding adhesion of the roll.
      2. Increases moisture resistance or Solvent resistance.
      3. Gives special properties such as

smoothness, gloss, printability, color.

Bake Resistance
The resistance of a tape to degradation during the heat treatment of a painted part or electrical component to which tape has been applied.

A type of mixing machine used to soften rubber used to produce pressure sensitive adhesive. (Trademark Farrel Co.)

The taping of the leads of components for automatic sequencing equipment; also used with rivets, screws, and small parts. The reels of taped components resemble bandoliers of ammunition for machine gun.

Large reels on which glass, rayon or other yarns are wound; used in the manufacture of strapping tapes.

This is done to increase the tensile strength of a film in both the machine (longitudinal) and cross machine (transverse) directions. The film is stretched and heat-set.

A term applied to strapping tapes in which cross-directional yarns are incorporated to provide increased longitudinal tear resistance, which aids one-piece removal of the tape.

Bleeding & Bleed Through
Penetration of an undesirable substance through the tape onto the surface to which the tape is applied, or onto the tape backside.

The sticking together of layers of tape in a roll. To a degree preventing separation without damage, which can occur under pressure or in storage.

Blown Mass Coat
A minute elevation on the surface of the mass coat, somewhat resembling a blister; caused by the manner in which the mass is applied or dried. Does not usually make tape defective.

The adhesion produced by contact of a tape with a surface to which it has been applied. Commonly used to refer only to thermoplastics tapes.

Bond Strength
The amount of force required to break the joined area of two pieces of material. Force could be applied through tension, compression, flexure, peel or shear methods.

Boxboard Wetting
The ability of a tape to adhere instantly to a boxboard surface with very little application pressure.

That type of roll deformation wherein bumps appear along the circumference of the roll.

Bundle Roll
The large master rolls of coated tape from which individual slit rolls are produced.

Bursting Strength
The strength of a tape in resisting forces applied evenly, perpendicular to the tape surface.

A chemical building block from which many types of synthetic rubber are made. See Styrene Butadiene

Butt Splice
A splice made by joining tape, end to end, without overlapping. The splice is made by using a thin tape to join the tapes to be spliced.

Butyl Rubber Adhesive
An adhesive consisting of a mixture of isobutylene, natural rubber and embedded with soot particles. Butyl rubber adhesives are suitable for long-term outdoor use and offer high resistance to UV radiation and oxidation as well as the unique property of cold sealing.

[back to top]


A machine equipped with heavy, usually heated rollers arranged over or behind one another used to make thin plastics webs, or to apply adhesive and coatings to substrates such as cloth.

Calender Coater
A solventless type of coating machine used primarily for the application of adhesives to cloth and heavy substrates of tape.

A measurement of the thickness, expressed in one-thousandths of an inch or millimeters.

Cameron Slitter
A type of machine used to cut film, papers and a wide variety of substrates. (Midland Ross Corp.)

Carrier, or backing, refers to the material on which the adhesive is applied such as foil, woven fabric or paper.

Casting Roll
Operating part of the reverse roll coating heat that casts or applies adhesive backing.

The naturally occurring basic chemical building block, which makes up paper fiber.

A chlorinated monomer used in the manufacture of neoprene rubber.

Coated Cloth
Fabric that is given a rubber or plastic back coating to increase moisture resistance and promote longer wear.

A machine composed of ovens, rollers, spreading devices, carriage bars, unwind stand and windup stand used to apply adhesive to the tape backing.

Coater Head
An assembly of rollers (metering, casting and back up rolls) plus measuring and adjusting equipment, used to apply adhesive to the tape backing.

Application of a solution to various types of materials or backings such as paper, cloth, vinyl, cellulose film and metal foils. Accomplished by using reverse roll coating, air doctor, doctor roll and knife coating equipment. Via this process, raw backing is converted into pressure sensitive tape.

Coating Weight
The weight of a coating per unit area.

The force required to split the adhesive layer.  Tapes with low cohesion leave residue on the on the bonded surface when the tape is removed.

Cold Flow
The extremely slow flow or minute or minute movement of a semi-solid substance when subjected to a stress. Pressure Sensitivity implies cold flow. It accounts for increase of adhesion as application time or pressure increases. It also relates to oozing or exudation of adhesive from the edges of the roll and increase of adhesion on porous surfaces to the point of adhesive transfer. Some of the terms used in describing effects of cold flow follow.

Refers to the resistance of an adhesive to flow or distortion. It is opposite of soft.

Mass Exudation
Refers to that condition where the sides of a roll become too sticky due to mass exuding or flowing out from between the layers of tape.

Oozing The same as mass exudation. The result is sticky or tacky sides when it occurs in a roll of tape.

A measure of resistance to flow or deformation used in describing the physical properties of semi-liquids and solids. The higher the plasticity, the higher the firmness.

Cold Sealing
Cold sealing occurs when the adhesive sticks not only to itself, but also to nearly any other surface and has the characteristic of being unremovable.  Good bonding is even still possible on slightly soiled and slightly moist surfaces.  However, cold sealing is not possible on siliconized surfaces.

The visual color impression of a tape viewed from the backing side, irrespective of the color of its adhesive or other components.

Color Stability
Ability of the tape to retain its original color, especially when tape is exposed to light.

Compression Set
Permanent deformation of rubber or a plastic as a result of pressure.

Conductivity, Surface
The ability of a tape to carry an electrical current along its surface. The opposite of insulation resistance.

Ability of a tape to fit snugly or make total contact with the surface of an irregular shaped object without creasing or folding.

An impurity, usually in trace amount, which sometimes renders a product unfit for a specified use.

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

The electrolytic or chemical deterioration of a surface to which a tape is applied. See electrolytic corrosion factor.

Small, slow dimensional changes caused by continuing stress. Examples are the slight retraction of tape edges after applying tape in a stretched condition, and loosening of heavy taped bundles due to slow stretching of the tape.

Crepe Paper
Generally a kraft paper which has been treated (creped) to impart such desirable features as conformability and flexibility, with good tensile strength.

Cross Link
A chemical bridge formed between molecular chains, increasing their strength and heat resistance. The curing of an adhesive to increase its temperature and shear resistance.

To alter the properties of an adhesive by chemical reaction (condensation, polymerization or vulcanization).  Usually accomplished by the action of heat and catalysts, with or without pressure.

Refers to a situation in which the free end of tape curls back upon itself when the roll is unwound.

Cut-Through Resistance
The ability of tape to withstand cutting by a wire lead or the sharp edge of a package part.

[back to top]


Dead Stretch
Stretching and not recovering or shrinking back to former length. This is particularly important in crepe paper masking tapes, where it is not desirable to have the tape spring back or recover after stretching around a curve. A curve is achieved by creping the backing or by a specific impregnation.

A condition, which fails to meet a tapes design requirements.

The separation or splitting of a tape within the backing layer; in laminated tapes, the separation of the layers upon unwinding. In the case of paper tapes the delamination occurs within the paper, while laminated tapes the delamination occurs at the laminated surface between the two layers.

The amount of material in a unit volume.

A type of machine used to cut rubber compounds into fine particle size prior to making them into an adhesive.

Dielectric Strength
The voltage expressed in volts or in volts per mil that a tape will withstand without breaking down and passing current through it.

Dimensional Stability
The property of a material that relates to the constancy of its dimensions, particularly in relation to external influences such as moisture or temperature.

DIP Impregnation
The process of saturating a web (usually paper) by immersing it in a latex or solution to unify and bond the fibers together.

Direct Coating
Application of a solution directly to the web to be coated by the engraved roll of print roll coating unit.

Fine particles distributed in a matrix of some other substance. An example; the dispersion of a color pigment in an oil, clay, etc.

Doctor Bar or Blade
A scrapper, mechanism that regulates the amount of adhesive on the spreader rolls of a coater.

Doctor Roll
Roller mechanism used to regulate the adhesive applied to the spreader roll of reverse roll coater—it revolves at a different surface speed, or in an opposite direction, that results in a wiping action.

Double-Coated (Face) Tape
An adhesive tape coated on both sides of its backing (which serves as a carrier for the adhesive) and interlined with a release liner.

[back to top]


Edge Curl
Usually refers to the pulling away and folding back of tape along the outer edge of a sharp curve in the applied tape. The edge on the outside of the tape lifts or folds back due to tension, which is highest at this point.

Edge Lift
The tendency for the edge of an adhesive label to lift from a surface to which it has been adhered.

Elastic Memory (Elastic Strength)
The opposite effect of dead stretch. It is the ability of a tape to shrink to its original length after being stretched. This property is especially important for vinyl tapes.

The extensible property of adhesive films to contract and expand.

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

Electric Insulation Classes
Adhesive tapes used in the electrical field are classified by thermal classes (temperature ranges) based on their constant heat load resistance:

  • Class Y = Constant temperature range of up to 95°C
  • Class E = Constant temperature range of up to 120°C
  • Class B = Constant temperature range of up to 130°C
  • Class F = Constant temperature range of up to 155°C
  • Class H = Constant temperature range of up to 180°C

Electrolytic Corrosion Factor
A measure of the corrosive effect of an adhesive tape on different materials.  To measure this factor, the adhesive is stuck on a copper foil.  If no corrosion develops, the adhesive tape is given an electrolytic corrosion factor of 1.

Degree of stretch, generally expressed as a percentage (increase in length as a percentage of length). The term is frequently used also as a shorthand way of referring to “Elongation to break”.

Elongation to Break
The length that a piece of tape will stretch in one direction before it breaks. Generally expressed in percentage of original length.

The process of embedding an electrical component in a casting of insulating material.

A class of resinous plastic materials, which are frequently used for electrical insulation, in coatings, and in structural uses.

A substance, generally having a low cost and little effect on the functional characteristics, added to an adhesive to reduce the cost.

A sample of coated backing taken from the center of the web at the unwind end of the coater, and used for in-process testing purposes.

[back to top]


Face Side
The unlined side of double face tape.

Face Stock
Any paper, film, fabric, laminate or foil material suitable for converting into pressure sensitive material stock.

Fall Off
The complete pulling away and dropping off of tape from the surface to which it had been applied.

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

An irregular paint line resulting from seepage of paint under a masking tape.

Feel/Finger Stick
Feel is the degree of stickiness of the adhesive as determined by touching it with one’s fingers. This is often a misleading test of effective adhesion.

A thread-like material that gives texture or substance, and can be spun and woven.

The threads of rayon, polyester or glass that are laminated to various backings to produce very strong tapes.  Glass threads impart very high tensile strength with low impact resistance. Polyester and rayon threads impart high impact resistance with somewhat lower temperature.

A relatively inert substance added to an adhesive to improve its working properties, permanence, strength or appearance.

Refers to the resistance of an adhesive to flow.

The appearance of the adhesive surface when observed on a roll of transparent tape. They are caused by the entrapment of air between the adhesive side and the backside of the previous layer on the roll, and is not indicative of poor tape. Generally found in new or very fresh tape. Diminishes during storage.

Refers to the condition observed when the end of a piece of tape comes away from the object to which it was intended to adhere. This term is usually applied to plastic tapes if they spring up. See “Curling, Dead Stretch, Elastic Memory, Lifting”. This term is particularly applied to tape wound on its own backing.

The flaking or breaking off of paint from a masking tape backing during tape removal.

A tapes ability to withstand flame exposure. Burning rate, self-extinguished on removal or the igniting flame, smoke density, toxicity of fumes, and melt dripping, are important factors in assessing flame resistance.

Flame Retardant
A material that resists burning.

Flash Point
The minimum temperature of a liquid at which its vapor will form a mixture, which burns.

Flat Back Paper
A rope fiber or kraft paper with a flat, smooth surface having low elongation. Generally rope paper has higher tensile strength than kraft paper.

The ability of a tape to be freely bent or flexed during application. Opposite of “Stiffness”

Flexural Strength
The maximum stress or load that a material can withstand when bent before it breaks.

A term sometimes used to indicate “Gearing” or “Spoking”.

Material formed by creating bubbles in a base material, such as natural or synthetic rubbers.

A very thin flexible metal, such as aluminum or copper foil.

[back to top]


Openings between layers of tape within a finished roll.  (see also “Roll Opening”)

That type of roll deformation wherein a regular succession of humps appears along the circumference of the roll. The regularity of the spacing from hump to hump gives the appearance of a gear.

A haze-like deposit of an adhesive component left by a tape after it’s removal.

Gloss Finish
A highly reflective or lustrous tape backing.

Government Specification
A government document that spells out the requirements for a particular tape or group of tapes. It will normally detail the physical properties, performance characteristics, general composition, sampling requirements and packing.

Gravure Coater
This coater applies a specific amount of coating by etched or gravure rolls to substrate, it is used for backsizing, priming, saturating solutions.

[back to top]


The relative suppleness of a textile, film, or tape.

Heat Curing
The application of heat to a tape to bring about a chemical reaction forming cross-links, thereby increasing the cohesive strength of the adhesive and its resistance to high temperature and to attack by solvents.

Heat Seal
An adhesive film intended to be reactivated by the application of physical or chemical changes caused by exposure to high temperatures.

A phenomenon where the surface covered by a tape shows a visual contrast with the surrounding area after removal of the tape, even though there is no staining, ghosting or imprinting or mass transfer. Sometimes caused by a change in surface gloss, sometimes by a difference in thickness of the finish under the tape, and sometimes by the protection from fading or yellowing furnished by the tape while it was applied.

High-Speed Unwind
A term referring to the process of unwinding or dispensing of tapes at a relatively high rate of speed.

High-Speed Unwind Adhesion
The force required to unwind a roll of tape at relatively fast speeds, usually over 50 feet per minute.

Refers to the ability of a tape to adhere for long periods of time to a specific surface while under a specified stress. Hold is tested by applying a small area of tape to specific surface and hanging a weight to the free end of tape. Values are stated as hours and minutes transpiring between application and failure. Sometimes hold is tested at 0 degree pull-off and sometimes 20 or 90 degree pull-off. Hold values are especially significant in determining suitability of tape for packaging where constant stress on the tape is in effect.

Hold to Boxboard
The ability of tape to resist slippage when subjected to a shear stress by means of a specified weight.

Hold to Chrome
The ability of tape to resist slippage when applied to a chrome plated bar and subjected to a shear stress by means of a specified weight. Usually hung at 20 or 0 degree angle with a 400 gram weight.

Holding Power
The ability of a tape to resist slippage under shear stress. Holding power is measured by applying a standard area of tape to a vertical test panel and suspending a standard weight on the free end of the tape., i.e. hold to chrome, hold to boxcar, etc.

A machine used to disperse or dissolve materials under high speed and high shear.

Hot Melt Adhesive
Adhesives made up of dry, non-adhesive synthetic resins, which are melted on by high temperatures of 130°C to 180°C and retain a high degree of tack and adhesive force after cooling.  The advantage is a very high adhesive force at normal temperatures.  Disadvantages include sensitivity to temperature above 40°C and UV radiation, insufficient resistance to softening agents and low aging resistance.  Admixtures can reduce these negative properties.

The moisture content of the air.

A molecule consisting only of carbon and hydrogen. Many hydrocarbons are used as solvents, and originate from petroleum.

A chemical reaction with water resulting in decomposition.

Capable of readily absorbing and retaining moisture.

[back to top]


Impact Resistance
The resistance of a tape to breaking under shock load, as in a bundling application.

Impact Strength
Refers to the strength of a length of tape when a sudden dynamic force is applied to the tape itself. Differs from tensile in that tensile strength is measured at a slower rate with direct force at 180 degrees. Glass fibers or strands have high tensile, low elongation and low impact strength. Polyester threads or fibers have higher elongation, but somewhat lower tensile strength and, thus, high impact strength as compared to glass.

Refers to the treatment of a backing (especially paper) in which individual fibers are unified and bonded together to improve physical and chemical characteristics of the backing. Impregnates prevent delamination, increase moisture and solvent resistance, improve tear and tensile properties. All paper tapes are usually impregnated.

Refers to an actual mechanic impression of a tape pattern into the surface of the material to which the tape has been applied. Generally results from the finish being too soft at the time the tape was applied.

A substance, which slows down chemical reaction. Inhibitors are sometimes used in certain types of adhesives to prolong storage or working life.

Initial Tack (Initial Adhesion)
Not all adhesives reach their maximum adhesive force for hours or days after application. The initial tack is a measure of adhesion upon application.

Refers to chemical substances not based on carbon (cargonates, carbon oxides and carbides are exceptions, being considered inorganic). Examples: Minerals, water, air.

Any material that offers partial or complete shielding from external influences including moisture, heat, cold, sound, dust and electrical current.

Insulation Resistance
The ability of a tape to resist flow of current along its surface under specific conditions.

[back to top]


An oxygen containing solvent, often found in lacquer finishes.

Kraft Paper
A paper made from sulphate wood pulp.

[back to top]


Label Stock
Pressure sensitive tape, which is suitable for printing and die cutting, for use as labels. It is frequently furnished in roll form with release interliner.

A laminated tape is one whose backing is composed of two or more different materials laminated or glued together by an adhesive. For instance, a film with threads laminated to it or a film and a paper laminated. Strapping tape is a common example of a laminated tape.

Lap Joint
A joint made by lapping one material over another to provide a mated area that can be joined with an adhesive.

Lap Splice
A splice made by overlapping the ends.

A water dispersion of a rubber used to saturate paper backing may also be used as a primer.

Lathe Cutter
A machine used to cut tape by rotating a large tape roll and slicing individual rolls to the desired width with a rotating or fixed knife.

Refers to that condition in which tape releases or comes away from, on its own accord, the surface to which it has been applied.

A web or sheet affixed to the adhesive for protection during handling and storage. It is often a film or smooth paper that has been siliconised on one or both sides preventing the tape from sticking to itself.  It is removed and discarded before application. Most frequently found on double face tapes and label stocks.

Log Roll
A roll on which a predetermined length of tape is wound in wide widths instead of in narrow roll sizes.

[back to top]


A part of the slitting machine assembly on which cores are fitted and on which the individual rolls of tape are wound.

Mass is the adhesive substance, which gives a pressure sensitive, tape its adhesive properties.  It is the adhesive.

A web of fibers.

Matte Finish
A dull, non-reflective, irregular surface of a tape backing.

Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
An oxygenated solvent, which will dissolve certain types of vinyl resins and nitrile rubbers.

Metallized Polyester (or other film)
A polyester film upon which a thin layer of metal has been deposited.

Metering Roll
Operating part of the reverse roll coating head that serves to create a NIP or Aperture which then regulates the amount of adhesive to be applied by the casting roll.

Methylene Chloride
A strong cleaning solvent often used in the capacitor industry.

Micron (µ)
A unit of measure often used to measure very small thicknesses such as foil or film backings.  One micron equals one-thousandth of a millimetre (0.001 mm).

The slow movement of an ingredient from one part of a tape into another part, or between a tape and the surface to which the tape has been applied. Some plastic films and foams, for example, contain plasticizers, which migrate into the adhesive and soften it.

A measurement that defines the stress/strain characteristics of a material; usually expressed as the force in pounds per square inch required to cause certain elongation. Also used to refer to the slope of the stress-strain curve.

Moisture Resistance
The resistance of a tape to the passage or the absorption of moisture, or the harmful affects of moisture.

Molecular Weight
A measure of the size of an organic molecule or polymer.

The basic building block from which a polymer chain is made. Many monomer molecules are chemically joined together to make up the polymer.

[back to top]


Natural Rubber
Rubber, which is derived from the latex of rubber trees. It imparts tack and high temperature properties to pressure sensitive adhesives.

A chlorinated synthetic rubber with excellent solvent resistance. (Dupont)

NIP Opening
The opening between casting and metering rolls. This opening controls the amount of adhesive applied to substrate.

A synthetic non-woven composed of high temperature nylon fibers. (Dupont)

Backings produced by the random interlocking of fibers, either natural or synthetic. These can be created by adhesives or through compression and heat. Paper is an example of a non-woven made from a natural fiber.

A polyamide plastic material that is strong and resilient. Nylon yarn has good strength and elongation properties.

[back to top]


A condition wherein the tape itself forms a flat-sided roll, but the core projects from one face due to misalignment at the start of winding.

The unit of measurement of electrical resistance.

Occurs when some or all of the ink of a printed tape transfers to the adhesive.

A “squeezing out’ of the adhesive from under the backing (see Cold Flow).


OPP Film
A polypropylene film resistant to lyes, acids and solvents common in packaging tapes.  They are resistant to tearing and usually inexpensive and are very sensitive to UV radiation. Considered to be environmentally friendly as it rots without leaving any residual trace when left exposed to sunlight.

Refers to chemical substances based on carbon, other than simple compounds of carbon and oxygen or elemental metals. Usually contains hydrogen as well, and often oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur or halogens. Plastics, solvents, rubber, and paper are examples of organic compounds.

The dryer, which is basically a tunnel enclosure, through which the backing is passed to be dried.

The reaction of oxygen with any substance. Oxidation of pressure sensitive adhesives causes them first to soften, then to become hard and non-tacky.

Ozone Deterioration
The breakdown of a rubber or an adhesive by the action of the minute amounts of ozone in the atmosphere.

[back to top]


The force required to pull a strip of tape from a surface at a specified angle and speed. Measured after application under specified standard conditions, and usually expressed in ounces per inch width.

Penetration Resistance
A tape’s ability to withstand high pressure on a small area for a long time without purchasing.

The ease with which a liquid or a gas can pass through a tape or a film.

Phenolic Resin
A family of resins, which are derived from phenol and frequently are uses as curing agents in adhesives to impart high temperature resistance and hold.

Pick off
Particles of the release coat that stick to the adhesive on unwind.

Pin Hole
A very small defect in the mass or backing which may permit the passage of light or electricity.

The spiraling of a tape when unwound due to uneven stresses in the backing.

See Cold Flow

A liquid or semi-liquid incorporated in a material to increase its flexibility and workability. Generally used in reference to flexible film backings.

Plasticizer Migration
This term is usually associated with the use of tape on plastics sheets, films, and forms. Specific plasticizers used in producing plastic sheeting or forms pass from the plastic into the pressure sensitive adhesive of the applied tape. The result in a softening of the adhesive to point of adhesion failure and a slight embrittlement of the adjoining plastic.

A polymeric material generally soft and rubbery, very tough and elastic, made from butadiene monomer.

Polyester (PET)
A tough, strong film with good moisture, solvent, oil and temperature resistance. Polyester film is characterized by high tensile strength and resistance to tearing.

Polyethylene  (PE)
A polyolefin plastic, which can be extruded into a low tensile film with good moisture barrier properties but with limited temperature resistance. Polyethylene is very sensitive to UV radiation and thus, considered environmentally friendly since exposure to sunlight causes it to rot without leaving any residual matter.

A polymer which, in film form, is amber-colored and with physical properties similar to polyester but with much higher temperature and tear resistance.  Polyimide tapes are frequently used in the electrical industry.

A polymeric synthetic rubber material made from isoprene monomer, with properties similar to natural rubber.

A large molecular chain made up of a repeating monomer units.

The process of chemically linking monomer molecules to form a long chain polymer.

Polypropylene (PP)
A polyolefin plastic similar in properties to polyethylene, but with higher temperature capability and greater strength.

Polyurethane (PU)
A tough, abrasion resistant polymer (plastic), which, can be extruded into film with extreme stretching ability and tear capability.  It is also often used as a backing material in the form of a foam.

Polytetrafluoroethylene  (PTFE)
A fluorinated plastic characterized by high temperature resistance and an inherent release surface. A skived film is made by shaving a billet of material with a sharp broad knife to produce a continuous web.

Polyvinylchloride (PVC)
A synthetic plastic used extensively as tape backing, either with a large amount of plasticizer added to make it flexible and stretchy (plastic electrical tape), or as unplasticized rigid film.

A plastic used frequently as a coating for paper or as an adhesive for laminating webs.

Pressure Sensitive
Adhesive materials which stick by application of pressure alone and do not require activation by heat or solvent. Best-known example: Pressure Sensitive Tape.

This is a preliminary coating applied to a backing to enable the adhesive to adhere to the backing.

Print Coater Unit
A unit consisting of a two-roll gravure printing unit and a gas fired vertical high velocity air-drying oven.

Print Ability
The ability of a tape to accept ink and not destroy the printed legend when unwound.

Program Wind
A device used to automatically change the winding tension as rolls of tape are being wound.

Distortions in web materials associated primarily with laminated constructions or interlined products. Puckers appear as ripples on the surface and often exhibit separation of the two laminated components. Puckers generally run in the cross machine direction.

[back to top]


Quick Stick
Refers to the ability to adhere to a specific surface after a very brief contact at very low pressure.

[back to top]


Razor Blade Slitter
A slitting machine that slices the tape backing with razor blades. This imparts a very smooth, and therefore strong, edge that is difficult to tear by hand. Film tapes are often slit by this method.

Relative Humidity
The amount of moisture present in the atmosphere as a percentage of the maximum quantity of moisture that the air can hold at that temperature.

A material, such as a glass yarn, laminated to a tape backing to provide additional tensile strength and tear resistance.

Release Coating
Release coating and backsize are sometimes used interchangeably. The term release coating usually refers to a very thin coating which is applied to the backsize of a film or other impervious tape backing and which allows the tape to be unwound at a controlled level.

Release Liner
A backing coated on one or both sides with a controlled amount of release agent. It is frequently used with label stocks or double face tapes.

A material, usually polymer, which imparts tackiness and pressure sensitive adhesion to a rubber/resin adhesive.

The specific resistance of a material. The electrical resistance offered by a section of material of standard dimensions.

Reverse Roll Coater
The most adaptable web coating method, capable of coating a variety of flexible substrates with a wide range of adhesives and solutions.

Rewind Machine
A unit or units, which rewind substandard individual rolls of finished tape and salvage good portions, making usable and salable rolls.

The operation of winding the webstock from the reel onto a core to produce rolls of the desired width, diameter and tension.

Refers to a roll of tape that has been rerolled to remove defects.

Roll Deformation
This is a general term to describe any physical departure from the shape and proportions of a perfect roll of tape, i.e. differences in diameter, openings between layers in the roll and displacement of layers axially with relation to each other.  Deformation can take the form of the following:

Roll Hardness
A value, which reflects proper winding of individual rolls of tape. The value is measured by an instrument, which measures the relative hardness of wind.

Roll Opening
(Also called gapping) that type of roll deformation wherein any two layers become separated from each other so as to create an opening.

Rolling Ball Tack Test
To determine tack, a steel ball rolls from an incline onto the adhesive side.  The shorter the distance the ball is able to travel, the stickier the adhesive.  The result is indicated in centimeters.  This test is disputed because no exact data can be collected.

Rope Paper
A paper formerly composed of reclaimed rope fibers. The decreasing use of hemp rope has created a shortage of used rope, and virgin hemp fiber is being used.

A long chain polymer, synthetic or natural that has the properties of elasticity, resilience, and recovery.

[back to top]


To incorporate materials into the backing for greater internal strength and resistance to various deleterious environments. The backing of paper tapes, for instance, may actually contain as much as 50% by weight of a rubber bases impregnant.

Equipment used to saturate tape backings with solutions for internal strength.

An adhesive joint that is accomplished by coating both adhered surfaces and bringing them under pressure.

Shear Adhesion
The bond strength of a tape when stressed at 0 degree angle.

Shear Cutter
A machine that slits tapes with rotating knives, which duplicate a scissor action. A strong edge results, and tough, thick materials such as metal foil tape can be cut by this technique.

Shear Strength
The resistance of a tape to slipping, or of its adhesive to internal splitting, when a load is applied along the plane of the tape.

Silicon is a non-metallic compound, which after oxygen, is most frequently found on Earth, although only in combination with other substances.

Silicon compounds in a dissolved state applied to papers, foils and films and then cross-linked under high pressure.  Siliconised surfaces are very smooth and slippery.  Most common adhesives do not adhere to silicon.

Silicone Rubber Adhesive
Synthetic polymers with rubber-like properties based on organic silicon compounds that are resistant to degradation at very high temperatures and maintain good flexibility at low temperatures. Silicon rubber adhesives are the only ones that adhere to siliconised foils and papers.

The process of applying a solution to a web or yarn surface in order to fill pores or otherwise treat the surface to improve the handling or functional characteristics of the material.

Shelf Life
The useful life of a tape in storage.

The loss of dimension of a tape when exposed to hear or some other environmental condition.

A machine used to cut wide width (bundle) rolls of tape into individual rolls with a given length and a given width.

Slitter Knife
A circular steel wheel, sharpened to a specified angle and radius, used on slitting machines to cut coated backings into rolls of predetermined size.

Refers primarily to masking tape and occurs when the tape tears when being removed from a surface.

Snap Test
Describes a mode of testing. Whereas most testing, a “Snap Test” would be a test taken without proper conditioning, that is to say, it is an immediate test.

The percentage by weight of the nonvolatile matter in an adhesive or other solutions.

The degree to which a tape or a component of the tape will dissolve in any specific solvent.

Homogeneous liquid mixtures, most often involving a solid material dissolved in a solvent.

In pressure sensitive tape technology it is the liquid in which the various adhesive ingredients are dissolved to facilitate their application to a substrate. It is commonly organic in composition; e.g. toluene.

Solvent Dispersion
A mixture in which the adhesive components in finely divided form are suspended in a solvent as opposed to being dissolved.

Specific Adhesion
Refers to ratio of adhesion to a particular surface as compared with any other surface as a standard.

Specific Gravity
The ratio of the weight of any volume of material compared to the weight of an equal volume of water.

Refers to the set of instructions used to manufacture a tape and/or a set of requirements against which a tape is tested and measured.

See “Pigtailing”

A point at which two separate lengths of tape are joined together.

Splice Table
An attachment on a machine used to facilitate splicing.

Refers to delamination of the tape layers, or the lengthwise rupture of the tape backing.

That type of roll deformation, which results in the appearance of lines radiating from the center of a roll to the circumference. Its resemblance to a spoked wheel is marked.

Spooled Tape
Tape wound spirally on a wide core in layers, permitting unusually long lengths to be packaged in a continuous length.

The process of winding spooled tape, much like fishing line is wound on a reel.

A chemical added to prolong the life of a material, such as stabilizer in a PVC film that resists the deteriorating effect of ultraviolet light.

The discoloration of a surface to which a tape has been applied, e.g. an appliance or automotive finish.

Stain Resistance
A tape’s freedom from discoloring surfaces to which it is applied.

The bending resistance of a tape (the opposite of “Flexibility”). Low stiffness is one important factor determining the conformability of a tape.

Storage Life
See “Shelf Life”

Distortions in the adhesive coat, or other coatings, represented by lines, marks, or scrapes have a different color, shade, texture or absence of coating that is readily distinguished from the normal uniform appearance. Streaks generally occur in the machine direction.

Stress Relaxation
The treatment of a tape to remove stresses introduced in processing—E.G., heat treatment of vinyl plastic tape.

Strike Through
A condition resulting when the application of a coating solution to one side of a web forces the solution through the web, thus partially depositing the coating on the reverse side.

A condition of the mass in which it feels very soft and mushy, and on close examination, relatively long legs or strings of mass can be pulled out of the mass.

Styrene Butadiene
A synthetic rubber made from styrene and butadiene monomers (SBR) used in adhesives and saturants.

Solvent Resistance
The resistance of a tape backing or adhesive to dissolving in an organic solvent, particularly those found in paints, insulating varnishes, and cleaning solutions.

The primary component of tape upon which the adhesive is applied. It may be any continuous material such as cloth, film, treated paper, metal foil, laminated materials, etc.

Synthetic Rubber
Natural rubber which is ground and then mixed with solvents such as benzene, dissolving the rubber and creating a viscous adhesive compound.  Synthetic rubber adhesive is characterized by great adhesive force and very good shear adhesion.  The disadvantages include average resistance to temperature and aging, insufficient resistance to UV radiation and sensitivity to low (below 10°C) and high (above 50°C) temperatures.

[back to top]


A device for easy starting of a slit roll.

Refers to the sticky feel of adhesive can be measured by rolling ball method. Expressed as a ratio of height of drop of ball to distance traveled in a horizontal guided track.

A resin of softening material added to an adhesive to impart tack.

Tear Strength
(Tear resistance) the ability of a tape to withstand tearing forces. Edge strength, or starting tear strength, refers to the force required to start a tear at an unnicked or virgin edge or a notched edge. Tear propagation resistance refers to continuation of a tear, which has been started by cutting or nicking the edge. Cross tear and machine direction tear refer to strength measured with the tear line running across the width and lengthwise of the tape respectively.

Tedlar Film
See polyvinylfluoride. (Trademark E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co. Inc.)

Teflon Film
See Polytetrafluoroethylene. (Trademark E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co. Inc.)

That type of roll deformation wherein successive layers of tape slide across each other in the same axial direction the movement is similar to the lengthening of a telescope.

Tensile Strength
The maximum longitudinal tension force that can be withstood by a material of standard dimensions without breaking. For pressure sensitive tapes or other thin products it is usually expressed as force per unit width (pounds per inch). As a basic property of a material, it is expressed as force per unit cross-sectional area (pounds per square inch).

Dry Tensile
The strength of paper tape after it has been conditioned at a specific humidity for a designated period of time.

Wet Tensile
The strength of paper tape, which measures the ability of tape to function satisfactorily when exposed to moisture.

Longitudinal Tensile Strength
Measured parallel to the length of the tape.

Cross-Direction (or Transverse) Tensile Strength
Measured at right angles to the length of the tape.

An instrument for measuring tension of film tape substrates. When used in connection with a feedback controller, it regulates and maintains the tension on coaters and in ovens.

Thermal Conductivity
The measure of the relative ability of tape or other material to conduct heat. The rate at which heat is transmitted depends on the thermal conductivity, and also the thickness, area and temperature difference.

Thermal Endurance
The time that a tape will last at an elevated temperature before it deteriorates and becomes unusable.

Thermal Expansion
The increase in dimension, which occurs when the temperature of a material is increased.

Refers to a material, which will soften when heated and harden on cooling, repeatedly. Normal pressure sensitive adhesives are thermoplastic in character. See also “Heat Curing” and “Thermosetting”.

A term applied to elastomeric or plastic materials, which change chemically at high temperatures to a harder, less plastic or elastic form. Heat curing and thermosetting are interchangeable terms. Heat cured pressure sensitive adhesives maintain some rubbery characteristics after cure. Thermosetting tapes are used in electrical engineering and the manufacture of capacitors and in coil winding.

The perpendicular distance from one surface of either a tape, backing or adhesive to the other, often expressed in mils, thousandths of an inch or millimeters.

Thread Lay Down
The pattern of the threads in a reinforced (Filament) tape.

Three Dimensional (3-D) Mixer
A high-speed, high-shear, mixer used to put adhesive ingredients into solution.

The limits of variability that are allowed around a standard test value. Expressed as +/-.

A strong aromatic hydrocarbon solvent widely used in the adhesive industry.

Normally refers to mass transfer, but some times said of any tape component which moves from its proper place to some other position during either unwind or removal.

Transfer Tape
A pressure sensitive adhesive unsupported applied to a two-side release coated liner.

Partially transparent. Translucent tape allows some light to diffuse and pass through its backing.

Capable of transmitting light without diffusion. A tape is rated as transparent if 10-point type can be easily read when tape is applied directly over it.

See Pigtailing.

See Pigtailing.

[back to top]


Ultraviolet Radiation (UV)
UV rays are found in sunlight.  In rubber-solvent and hot-melt adhesives, UV rays set off a chemical reaction that can destroy the molecular structure in a very short period of time.

Ultraviolet Resistance
The resistance of a tape to degradation by ultraviolet light, such as that found in sunlight.

The act of removing or unwinding tape from a roll. The characteristics of unwind are influenced by the adhesion of the tape to its own backing. See backsize.

Unwind Adhesion
The force required to remove tape from a roll.

Unplasticized polyvinylchloride—a rigid film used in packaging applications, and as a transparent tape in stationery uses.

[back to top]


See polyvinylchloride/pvc.

The resistance of a fluid to flow. A measurement of this property provides useful information with respect to the coatability of a material.

An area on the mass side of the tape, which has no mass on it.

Common terminology referring to the residual solvent content in various coated materials or raw materials.

See Heat Curing.

[back to top]


Wall Mixer
A slow drum mixer usually consisting of a single shaft with one or several paddles. Used primarily to mix small batches or to remix material in drums that have become stiff, separated, or gelled.

Water Absorption
The degree to which a tape will soak up and hold water.

Water Penetration
The measure of a tapes ability to prevent the passage of water through the tape itself.

Water Penetration Rate (WPR)
The weight of water transmitted through a controlled area of tape under a specified time and conditions.

Water Vapor Transmission Rate (WVTR)
A test by which the weight of water vapor transmission through a tape is measured in grams per hundred square inches per 24 hours. It is a measure of the moisture barrier properties of a tape.

A term synonymous with backing or substrate.

The amount of dry adhesive that is often left on the substrate or backing amount, generally described in terms of ounces per square yard.

The ability of an adhesive to flow and come into intimate contact with the surfaces to which is applied.

The equipment located at the exit end of the coater, which winds the coated tape onto a bundle roll.

A textile fabric formed by interlacing cross yarns (fill) with continuous machine direction yarns (warp). A non-woven, on the other hand, is a fabric like material made from fibers that are laid down randomly in a process similar to paper making, and the fibers are bonded together with a binder and/or heat and pressure.

Distortions in backing materials represented by creases, folds and other minor ridges or corrugated type defects, which interrupt the continuous, smooth nature of the web. Wrinkles may be encountered running in any direction on the web.

[back to top]


Yield Strength
The force which when applied to a tape will cause it to stretch, such that will not return to its original dimension when the stress is removed.

%d bloggers like this: