Why won’t your adhesive tapes stick in cold weather? 

Why does the tape become dry, brittle, and offer little-to-no tack? 

Why does it lift and peel within days?

To understand all this and more we first need to delve deeper into understating problems associated with taping when the temperature drops.

What are the problems that are associated with taping during cold weather? 

  • It becomes difficult to remove the tape from the roll 
  • The tape doesn’t really stick effectively to anything including itself, once peeled free.
  • Objects have frost on them, making adhesion difficult
  • Fingers are cold and clumsy doing a job that can be tough enough with working fingers

Different types of adhesives fare differently when exposed to sub-freezing temperatures. To fully understand the reason why adhesive tapes don’t stick in the cold requires consideration of the variety of adhesives available, and the way they are created. Some are applied as a liquid and then they transform into a solid. Depending on the adhesive’s function, they are engineered accordingly.

How are Adhesive Tapes different from other Adhesives?

Adhesive Tapes have both liquid and solid properties. The liquid component is needed to provide the “wetness” (tack or stickiness) for good initial contact, and the solid component is critical to resist any forces (i.e., sheer strength) that could threaten to remove the application.

When the temperature drops and it becomes cold, the liquid component of the adhesive tape hardens, like what happens to butter in the refrigerator, and 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 the liquid on the Adhesive Tapes harden? 

It depends on the type and design of the adhesive. Typical adhesive tapes will freeze long before the freezing temperature of water is reached; while other specially designed tapes will continue to stick below freezing temperatures.

How can we improve the efficiency of Adhesive Tapes during winters so that they stick better?

  • Increase the temperature of the tape and the surface the tape is applied to; ideally to around 20 degrees Celsius.
  • Get a tape that is specifically engineered and designed to work in cold weather
  • Bottom line is that when you are working on a tape application in cold weather, you will need a cold-weather tape that’s right for the job. Not all tapes are designed to work in this type of weather. If you must work at lower temperatures, then use an adhesive tape specifically designed for colder climates.   

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