When you combine the weather-resistant sealing power of adhesive tapes and the versatility of aluminium, you get one of the most versatile tape products available today – aluminium foil tape. Aluminum tape uses vary greatly, and it’s utilised in all sorts of industries, from construction to manufacturing. Thanks to its outstanding chemical and moisture resistance, heat and light reflectance, flame resistance, thermal conductivity and weatherability, it’s suitable fit for a wide range of applications. But what exactly is foil tape?
Aluminium foil first became available in 1888, and commercial production started just a few years later. It’s prized for its attractive appearance in packaging and containers, as well for its protective qualities. It was used in World War 2 to protect electrical capacitors, insulation and packages. After the war was over, it also became available for commercial use. These tapes feature a specially-engineered metal foil backing that contributes to its conductive, malleable and rugged properties. Foil tape carriers include aluminium, as well as aluminium with lead, glass, copper, copper with steel and tin plating.
That being said, tape aluminium is the most widely used type in construction and building. When combined with the adhesive power, this tape provides long-lasting sealing. But what makes aluminium so versatile and why is it the metal of choice for manufacturing tapes? When compared to other types of metal, aluminium offers several advantages, such as:
- Lightweight – Due to its lightweight nature, aluminium is now widely used for manufacturing a wide range of products, including fuel-efficient vehicles. Further, aluminium is used to manufacture wings of planes, simply because it’s flexible, lightweight and extremely durable.
- Corrosion Resistant – Aluminium is corrosion resistant by itself, but you can also improve its corrosion-resistant properties by applying a range of surface treatments to it.
- Electricity and Heat Conduction – Aluminium offers exceptional heat and electricity conductivity, making it ideal for use in power transmission lines.
- Impermeability – Aluminium foil is used for packing food and sensitive items like medicines due to its impermeability. It doesn’t let liquid or gases come out, not even aroma.
- Odourless – Aluminium doesn’t release any taste or odour which can mix with the foods you wrap in it. It’s also non-toxic.
- Ductile – Aluminium can withstand a lot of stress being stretched into wire or hammered thin, and it doesn’t brittle during and after the process.
- Light and Heat Reflectivity – Due to its lightweight properties, it offers outstanding heat and light reflectivity, making it great for making rescue blankets and reflectors.
- Recyclable – Aluminium is sustainable due to the fact that it’s recyclable. Further, in general, it undergoes a recycling process that requires 5% of the energy needed for its production.
When you have all of these advantages of aluminium combined with the adhesive properties of tape, you know for sure that you have a versatile and valuable material useful in a wide range of application and industries. The most common industries that use aluminium are:
- Packaging Industry – As aforementioned, it was initially used in World War 2 due to its excellent capabilities of securing and sealing contents. It’s still widely used even to this day, as it offers protection against heat, moisture and vermin.
- HVAC Systems – Due to its weather-resistant properties, it can be placed under extreme weather conditions and temperatures, such as high humidity conditions and sub-zero temperatures. If you’re looking to seal ducts in ventilating, heating and HVAC systems, aluminium adhesive tape is your best option.
- Electrical – Aluminium foil tape is ideal for wrapping electrical cables and insulation due to its ability to protect temperature-sensitive materials
- Aerospace – Aluminium foil is effectively used to protect seams, windows, wheels and anything on a plane during paint stripping.
- Construction – In the construction industry, aluminium foil is used for repairing metal gutters and roofs, as well as for mineral thermal wood and reinforced fibreglass insulation.
- Marine Industry – Since aluminium is highly resistant to moisture, aluminium tape is ideal for sealing holes anywhere water-resistant properties are needed, including boats. In fact, studies suggest that cargo-carrying boats can be built entirely out of aluminium foil.
The adhesive material of aluminium tapes can be either butyl, acrylic or rubber. Rubber adhesives provide great adhesion and tack, but they don’t do well in freezing conditions. Butyl, on the other hand, performs great in extreme temperatures while retaining its flex qualities. And acrylic adhesives provide a good balance of adhesion, tack and shear, and great resistance to UV and thermal degradation.
But regardless of what type of aluminium foil tape you choose, you should make sure it’s code compliant to pass inspection. It should adhere to all the necessary safety standards and the necessary qualities required by the job. UL listings, for instance, are essential for performing work on HVAC systems. You’ll find a wide range of tape aluminium from different manufacturers in home improvement and hardware stores online. Buying from a reputable manufacturer like 3M or Tesa will ensure the tape meets the required standards.