Pressure-sensitive tape, known also in various countries as PSA tape, adhesive tape, self-stick tape, sticky tape, Sellotape, or just tape, is an adhesive tape that will stick with application of pressure, without the need for a solvent (such as water) or heat for activation. It can be used in the home, office, industry, and institutions for a wide variety of purposes.
The tape consists of a pressure-sensitive adhesive coated onto a backing material such as paper, plastic film, cloth, or metal foil. Some have a removable release liner which protects the adhesive until the liner is removed. Some have layers of adhesives, primers, release agents, filaments, printing, etc. made for specific functions.
It will stick without the need for a solvent such as water or heat for activation. By contrast, "gummed" or "water activated" adhesive tapes require warm water for activation and "heat activated" tapes require heat.
Single-sided tapes allow bonding to a surface or joining of two adjacent or overlapping materials. Double-sided tape (adhesive on both sides) allows joining of two items back-to-back.
Pressure-sensitive adhesive was first developed in 1845 by Dr. Horace Day, a surgeon. Commercial tapes were introduced in the early twentieth century. Hundreds of patents have since been published on a wide variety of formulations and constructions.
The PSA industry is in the process of unifying the several standards presently in use. The most active organizations are:
ASTM International has dozens of standards related to pressure-sensitive tape. Some of them are for general types of PSA tape; others are for specific types. For example, ASTM D1000 has test methods for electrical tapes. There are ASTM specifications for many tapes including D2301 for vinyl electrical tape, D5486 for box-sealing tape, etc. Several of the ASTM test methods are coordinated with PSTC, other trade associations, and other international organizations.
Following are a few examples of some ASTM standards and counterparts:
|ASTM Designation||ISO Designation||PSTC method||AFERA method|
|D3121 Standard test method for tack of pressure-sensitive adhesives by rolling ball||PSTC-6|
|D3330 Standard Test Method for Peel Adhesion of Pressure-Sensitive Tape||EN 1939||PSTC-101||AFERA 5001|
|D3654 Standard Test Methods for Shear Adhesion of Pressure-Sensitive Tapes||EN 1943||PSTC-107||AFERA 5012|
|D3759 Standard Test Method for Breaking Strength and Elongation of Pressure-Sensitive Tapes||EN 14410||PSTC-131||AFERA 5004|
|D3811 Standard test method for unwind force of pressure-sensitive tapes||PSTC-8|
|D5750 Standard Guide for Width and Length of Pressure-Sensitive Tape||PSTC-71|
Life cycle assessments of the tape and the item being taped are useful to identify and improve possible environmental effects. For example, there may be instances where the use of a PSA tape, compared to an alternative solution, improves the overall environmental impact, or vice versa.
Reuse or recycling are sometimes aided by a tape being removable from a surface. If a tape remains on an item during recycling, a tape should be chosen which does not hinder the recyclability of the item. For example, when taped corrugated boxes are recycled, film-backed box-sealing tapes do not hinder box recycling; the adhesive stays with the backing and is easily removed.