A construction site in New England? It is a climate notorious for potentially challenging the most heavy-duty tape. Whether the adhesive tape you’re using doesn’t stick in the cold weather, or becomes dry, brittle, and offers little to no tack so it doesn’t stick at all – can amount to a frustrating waste of time and a compromised project.
To fully understand the reason why adhesive tape doesn’t stick in the cold requires consideration of the variety of different types of adhesives available and the way they are created. Some are applied as a liquid and then they transform into a solid. Depending on their function, they are engineered accordingly.
What makes pressure-sensitive adhesives different from other adhesive types is that they have the properties of both a liquid and a solid. The liquid component is needed to provide the “wetness” (tack) for good initial contact, and the solid component is critical to resist any forces that could threaten to remove the application.
Yet when cold temperatures occur, the liquid component of the adhesive tape hardens, similar to what happens to butter in the refrigerator. The tape loses its natural form and its overall tackiness. It can therefore no longer make the adequate contact needed for good adhesion. If the temperatures continue to drop, the tape will eventually freeze, turning the liquid component into a tack-free solid.
So at what temperature does this happen? It depends on the type and design of the adhesive. Typical pressure-sensitive adhesives will freeze long before the freezing temperature of water is reached; while other specially designed pressure-sensitive adhesives will continue to stick below freezing temperatures.
When the tape won’t stick because it’s too cold, you have two options:
- Increase the temperature of the tape and the surface the tape is applied to; ideally to around 20 degrees Celsius.
- Change the adhesive system being using to one designed specifically for low temperatures.
When you are working on a tape application in cold weather, you will need a cold-weather tape that’s right for the job.
The Original Posted by By steveu