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When you need that extra peace of mind of a bond with no movement, where your application stands up to the harshest weather conditions and manufacturing temperatures, high-bonding tapes are often a great choice. These tapes, which are becoming a common replacement for rivets, screws, and even welds, adhere one substrate to another permanently. This type of tape spreads stress loads across the length of the joint, creating a nearly indestructible weld.

Of the high-bonding tapes on the market, one stands tall above the rest: 3M™ VHB™ Tape.

A Background on 3M™ VHB™ Tape

Since the introduction of their VHB (Very High Bonding) Tape in 1980, 3M has been the leading provider in the industry for engineers seeking to permanently bond and seal metals, plastics, and other surfaces. With its unparalleled strength and ability to improve appearance, 3M VHB is stronger than any construction adhesive and provides the necessary certificates and specifications for optimal performance.

In fact, hotels in Dubai have utilized 3M VHB for their glass panels due to its ability to withstand extreme desert sand storms. Many aluminum trailer skins are now attached using VHB because it is typically stronger than rivets, too. Trust in the durability and dependability of 3M VHB for all your bonding and sealing needs.

3M™ VHB™ Tape’s Exceptional Performance Explained

These tapes outperform lesser products thanks to the unique properties of 3M™ VHB™ cores, which are acrylic. This acrylic core exhibits both viscous and elastic qualities, known as viscoelasticity, which helps the adhesive to form incredibly strong bonds by flowing into microscopic irregularities on surfaces. 

Additionally, the elastic properties of these tapes enable them to accommodate differential expansion between surfaces, absorb dynamic loads, and distribute those loads over large areas. The elastic properties of 3M™ VHB™ Tape remain effective within a temperature range of -40C to 90C.

Benefits of Using 3M™ VHB™ Tape

With its exceptional properties, 3M™ VHB™ presents exciting opportunities for innovative designs or effortless product enhancements. Some of the most significant advantages of this tape include the following:

There’s no need to drill holes, create rivets, or use liquid adhesives for curing. 3M™ VHB™ tape doesn’t require any cleanup and doesn’t create weld distortions, either.

  • Dissimilar metals are separated, helping to prevent corrosion.
  • Because this type of tape is essentially invisible, it eliminates the need to worry about unsightly spot welds, rivets, or nuts and bolts.
  • 3M™ VHB™ bonds and seals in extreme environments and can resist salt water and solvents.
  • Great for noise reduction and vibration dampening.
  • 3M™ VHB™ meets holding requirements for difficult applications, including metals, glass, composites, plastics, and woods.
  • Simple, quick application and easy to clean.
  • 3M™ VHB™ compensates for thermal contraction and expansion when parts are bonded.
  • A great choice for thin materials as it distributes stress evenly.

How to Choose the Best 3M™ VHB™ for Your Needs

If you’re new to the world of 3M™ VHB™ tapes, you may not know where to start or how to select the best type of tape for your needs. If that sounds familiar, ask yourself these questions:

Step 1: Do You Need a General Purpose or Special Feature Tape?

General Purpose products are the perfect choice for a wide range of industrial applications, both indoors and outdoors. These tapes boast softer cores and are particularly well-suited for use on textured surfaces or where sealing is essential.

On the other hand, Special Feature 3M™ VHB™ tapes come with unique performance traits, which can be ideal for instances where high-dynamic stresses are used, projects that necessitate transparent tape, paint and plastic applications, and more.

Step 2: What Surfaces Need to Be Bonded? 

Every type of 3M™ VHB™ tape has good adhesion to glass, metals, and high-surface energy plastic materials. For higher-performance tapes, such as those used for paints, you may need a specific VHB product. Contact American Flexible Products today to learn more about your options.

Step 3: How Thick Does Your Tape Need to Be? 

The required thickness of the tape will vary depending on the degree of mismatch between the surfaces being joined. The closer the fit between the surfaces, the thinner the tape can be.

Step 4: How Much Tape Do You Need? 

To hold up 1 kg in shear, around 55 cm2 of tape is suggested. Recommended tape lengths for different widths:

  • 12.7 mm wide tape: 430 m
  • 19.0 mm wide tape: 290 mm
  • 25.4 mm wide tape: 215 mm

Step 5: Consider the Temperature of Your Application 

Generally speaking, the desired temperature range for tape application is 20ºC – 40ºC. However, some VHB Tapes come with special properties made for extremely low-temperature applications. As an Authorized 3M™ Preferred Converter, our engineers have access to a range of 3M™ VHB™ tapes, including those with special properties and uses.

Get Started with 3M™ VHB™ Today

Ready to get started with your 3M tapes? American Flexible Products engineers are ready to get to work. Simply send us your design specs to get started or give us a call to ask any questions you may have.

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