PSA Tape Defined

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) tapes are available as single-coated, double-coated and unsupported products. They are sold in roll form of varying lengths and width or die-cut shapes.  Rolls may be self-wound or wound with a release liner, and can be customized in many ways, such as with pattern-coated adhesive or into die-cut parts (postage stamps) supplied on release liners. 

The selection of the tape composition and construction is dependent on the application.  The tape is composed of a backing (carrier), adhesive and possibly a release liner. Tape backings range from polymeric films, foils, paper, cloth, foams and laminates.  Basically if the backing can be wound on a roll, it can be coated with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

The generic pressure sensitive adhesive chemistries include rubber, acrylic, silicone, urethane and hybrids.

Each has unique properties offering performance to a wide variety of conditions, which can be tailored to the application and are available as removable (clean removal), repositionable and permanent products.

The construction (choice of components and thickness of each) of the tape is also dependent on the application - for example, a rough surface that requires a thicker adhesive (and vice-versa) and barrier properties that require a film or foil backing.

PSA tapes have an inherent ability to adhere to a variety of surfaces, smooth or rough, low to high surface energy, and over a wide temperature range. Three basic properties describe PSA’s well - Peel, Tack and Shear. The temperature during application and in-service, and the rate of deformation of the tape influence PSA’s performance/functionality. These are directly related to the visco-elastic nature of PSA tapes. This property, visco-elasticity, is unique to PSA tape and enables the tape to adhere instantly, conform to shapes, fill seams, flex under stresses, dampen vibrations, and absorb and distribute stresses.  Unlike other adhesives, PSA tapes do not require a solvent to evaporate, cool or cure to be functional. PSA tapes are functional upon application.

PSA tapes are:

  • Inherently tacky (quick stick)
  • Visco-elastic (properties are temperature and rate of deformation dependent)
  • Functional upon application-no cure required
  • Tailorable for application
  • Able to serve wide temperature ranges
  • Flexible
  • Good damping & shock absorbing contributors
  • Environmentally stable and friendly
  • Good solvent resistance providers
  • Light weight
  • Safe and easy to install/apply
  • Cost effective to apply
  • Good  for sealing bond lines
  • Able to adhere to variety of surfaces

*Users should always test PSA tapes in their individual applications for suitability.


The list of potential uses for PSA tapes in transportation is a mile long. See how tape is used in this dynamic industry.
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Because of their viscoelasticity, PSA tapes may allow you to avoid design constraints presented by traditional metal fasteners.
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There are several standardized tests that measure the strength of PSA tapes. This video shows how tape strength is determined.
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The list of potential uses for PSA tapes in construction is virtually endless. Find out how tape is used for construction applications.
View video here.