12. The science behind Adhesive tapes – How do they stick and stay

Adhesion did not really start with a tape. Before the advent of adhesive tapes, woodworkers crafted glue formulated from animal collagen. In certain areas, beeswax and natural viscous material was used for sticking two things together. The history of adhesive tapes came forward when a surgeon started using rubber adhesive and applied them to strips of fabrics. Since then, tapes, glues and epoxies did the majority of the sticky work but the world faced serious concerns regarding the stickiness of the tape in household use.

If we dive deep into the science behind adhesive used in tapes, they all work distinctively. Adhesive tapes are of different types i.e. pressure-sensitive tapes, printed packaging tape, masking tape and much more. Tapes are made up with various materials like rubber, silicon and acrylics etc. depending upon its kind.

For the creation of Pressure-Sensitive tapes; two main processes are highly essential i.e, wet-out and Van der Waals forces

Wet-out is a process in which a solid adhesive starts penetrating into a material being applied to. Once the adhesive is placed on the surface, it starts spreading out. Due to the easy penetration of the molecules, they can easily flow into substrate material by applying even the tiniest pressure. But, to be precise a different kind of physical phenomenon takes place between the molecules even before the pressure is applied on the tape. The attraction between these molecules is called Van der Waals forces.

These two processes are highly essential for the formulation of adhesive tapes as the former one creates adhesion and the latter one ensures stronger bond.

In conclusion, though the origins of adhesion resulted in the creation of adhesive tapes, the evolution of these tapes revolutionized the way we opt to overlook sticky materials together. The science behind adhesive tapes has become quite intricate. As we move towards innovation, the realm of adhesion will most likely expand with time.

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