Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Common Tape Terms

Abrasion Resistance – The ability of a tape to withstand rubbing and still function satisfactorily.

Backscoring – Cutting the bottom release liner in such a way as to aid in the dispensing or applying of the product.

Baloney Slitting – This process utilizes standard length log rolls, cutting through both tape and core roll after roll. This method allows for quicker change over to different tapes and enables the converter to produce smaller quantities of a certain size than rewind slitting.

Bleeding – The Penetration through the tape of a coloring liquid (paint, etc.) onto the surface to which the tape is applied.

Bursting Strength – The ability of a tape to resist damage when a force is applied evenly and perpendicularly to the surface of a tape.

Carrier – Sometimes used to refer to the backing material, particularly in double-faced tapes.

Coating Weight – The weight of a coating per unit area.

Cohesion – The ability of the adhesive to resist splitting. Good cohesion is necessary for clean removal.

Converter (Fabricator) – One who modifies products to enhance their value and final usage. Products can be modified primarily by: laminating, die-cutting to custom shape, precision slitting, adding/removing liners & cutting pieces to length.

Corona treatment – A process that alters the surface of a material or its surface energy by exposing that material to a high voltage electrical discharge treatment. Typically used to raise the surface energy of films, such as polyethylene or polypropylene to obtain better adhesion of inks, adhesive and other coatings. High energy surfaces permit better wet out (contact) of the coating than low energy surfaces.

Creep – A slow movement of the adhesive or backing under stress.

Cupping – A slight U shaped deformation of the tape (at the right angles to the length) which usually appears after unwind tension is relaxed.

Delamination – A separation of the backing into two distinct layers, separation between laminations of a tape consisting of more than one backing or the separation between filaments and backing of a filament reinforced tape.

Die-cutting – Process by which any shape, pattern or design can be cut out of various pressure sensitive tapes, utilizing customer made dies.

Double Coated Tapes – A pressure sensitive tape consisting of a carrier with adhesive coated on both sides. Typically, a liner is necessary to unwind the roll.

Dry Edge – See Extended Liner

Edge Curl – The peeling back or lifting of the outer edge of a tape after application. See Cupping.

Elastomer – An elastic, polymeric substance, such as a natural or synthetic rubber.

Elongation – The amount a tape is able to stretch without breaking, expressed in a percentage.

Extended Liner (Dry Edge) – Refers to the liner width extending beyond the actual adhesive tape width, for easy liner removal. Also referred to as finger lift liner.

Feathering – a jagged, irregular point line frequency characterized by small “feathers” of the top coat projecting into the masked area.

Film – Uniform, homogenous, non-fibrous synthetic webs.

Flagged rolls – Used to identify a bad spot in the roll for internal processing (or possibly splice).

Flagging – A peeling away from the surface of the end of a length of tape, particularly in a spiral wrap application.

Flame resistance – The ability of a tape to withstand exposure to flame. Fireproof materials will not burn even when exposed to flame. Flame resistant materials will burn when exposed to flame but will not continue to burn after the flame is removed.

Flatback – Smooth paper backing.

Foam – A soft, cushiony material formed by creating bubbles in the base materials, such as natural or synthetic rubbers, or other elastomeric materials.

Gapping – Opening between layers of tape within a roll.

Gloss – A light reflection characteristic of tape backings, usually expressed by such terms as glossy, low gloss, matter, etc.

Holding Power (Shear Adhesion) – The ability of a tape to resist the static forces applied in the same plane as the backing. Usually expressed in a time required for a given weight to cause a given amount of tape to come loose from a vertical panel.

Impact Resistance – The ability of a tape to resist sudden impacts, pulls, or shocks as may sometimes be encountered by packages in transit.

Insulating Tape – Normally refers to tape used for electrical insulation.

Insulation Resistance – The ability of tape to prevent the flow of electrical current across its surface, usually measured on the backing.

Kiss-cutting – Die cutting process by which only the actual usable part remains on the liner; all waste around the die cuts is removed to allow for easy removal.

Label Stock – Pressure sensitive materials that are usually printed, frequently die cut, furnished in roll or sheet form with a liner, and intended for use as labels.

Laminating – Joining of several layers of varying materials utilizing pressure sensitive tapes.

Lifting – A situation where a section of tape has pulled away from the surface to which it had been applied.

Matrix – Scrap material that is left after a die cuts a pattern.

Migration – The movement, over long periods of time, of an ingredient from one component to another when the two are in surface contact.

Off-core – Layers of tape are in correct alignment, but tape is displaced sideways on core.

Offsetting – Occurs when a printed tape is unwound and some of the printing ink is picked off by the adhesive or migrates into the adhesive. It is, in effect, a delamination of the ink.

Oozing – A “squeezing out” of the adhesive from under the backing. It occurs when the tape is in roll form, the edges of the roll become tacky.

Out-gassing – The release of volatile components under heat or vacuum.

Pancake wound rolls – Most typical supply form for pressure sensitive tapes. Each layer of tape is directly on top of the last one (with or without a liner).

Peel/Adhesion Test – The measurement of the adhesive or bond strength between two materials, expressed in ounces/inch.

Perforating – Hole-punching the release liner, usually between kiss cut parts.

Pressure Sensitive – A term commonly used to designate a distinct category of adhesive tapes and adhesives, which in dry from, are aggressively and permanently tacky at room temperature and firmly adhere to a variety of dissimilar surfaces upon mere contact without the need of more than finger or hand pressure.

Pressure Sensitive Tape – A combination of a pressure sensitive adhesive and a backing.

Primer – A primer is used to increase the bond of the adhesive to the backing. The use of a primer assists in keeping the adhesive on the backing when a tape is removed.

Reinforcements – A material added to a tape to provide additional strength.

Release Coating – A coating applied to the backing on the side opposite the adhesive that provides ease of unwind and prevents delaminating or tearing. Without a release coating, the tape would adhere to its own back and would not unwind.

Release Liner – Siliconized paper or film coated on one or both sides that protects the adhesive until use. The liner is removed and discarded before application.

Rewind Slitting – Preferred method for slitting large volumes of standards sized rolls of pressure sensitive tape.

Self Wound Roll – A roll of tape in which each layer of tape is directly on top of the last one. The roll contains no liner.

Silicone – A unique polymer system that can be a very effective release coating, or pressure sensitive adhesive capable of functioning effectively at extreme temperatures.

Single Coated Tape – A pressure sensitive tape consisting of a carrier with adhesive coated only on one side.

Slip Sheet – A treated sheet used to cover the adhesive to facilitate handling.

Splice – A point at which two separate lengths of tape are joined together.

Spool Wound Rolls – One layer of tape starts on a side of the core. The next layer overlaps with the first one and then the tape is wound back and forth traversing from one side of the core to the other. This process allows for much longer rolls.

Tack – The condition of the adhesive when it feels stick. Sometimes used to express the ideas of pressure sensitivity

Tearing – Breaking or slivering of a tape during unwind.

Tear Resistance – The ability of a tape to resist tearing after a tear has been started by cutting or nicking of the edge.

Telescoping – A sideways sliding of the tape layers, one over the other, such that the roll looks like a funnel or a telescope.

Tensile Strength – The force required to break a piece of tape by pulling on the opposite ends of the piece.

Thickness – Distance from one surface of a tape, backing or adhesive to the other, usually expressed in mils or thousandths of an inch. This is usually measured under slight pressure with a special gauge.

Tolerance – Maximum allowable variation from agreed –upon or specified dimensions throughout the manufacturing or converting process.

Transfer Tape – An unsupported pressure sensitive adhesive tape. Transfer tapes generally consist of an adhesive and a coated release liner.

Uniformity – The consistency of a single type of tape either within a single roll, from roll to roll, or from lot to lot.

Unwind Adhesion – The force required to remove tape from the roll.

Vinyl or Plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – A tough, durable plastic film, having excellent resistance to oils, chemicals, and many solvents. It has excellent abrasion resistance, and its high elongation is due to the addition of the plasticizer.

Void – A bare uncoated area on either the adhesive or release coated side of the tape.

Weaving – A poorly wound roll of tape in which the individual layers of tape are not in alignment with one another.

Glossary of Converting Terms

Butt-cut – Adhesive or a material laminated to adhesive that has been cut across the web and through the material but not through the release liner. Parts are “butted” together with no space between them in rolls.

Closed cell foam – A plastic or rubber that has been expanded into a foam using a blowing agent that creates tiny “air” cells. Cell walls are not connected to each other. Blocks air and liquid passage. Good for gaskets and seals.

Compression Deflection – The force required to compress a specific thickness and square area a given amount. Relates to the softness or hardness of a foam.

Compression set – The amount of permanent thickness loss, expressed as a percentage, a material loses after being compressed.

Density – The weight of a material per unit of volume. Density is commonly expressed in pounds per square foot.

Double coated tape – A pressure-sensitive tape consisting of a carrier material with the same or different adhesive types on each side. Can come self wound with a liner on one side or with two liners.

Flock – A polyester non-woven fabric with a soft cut pile resembling velvet or velour.

Foam tape – A plastic foam, such as cross-linked polyethylene foam, with pressure-sensitive adhesive on both sides.

Initial tack – The amount of adhesion or bond an adhesive develops with a substrate when first applied.

Kiss cut – A method of die cutting adhesive backed materials where the adhesive and material are cut through, but not the supporting release liner. Allows die cut parts to be put up in rolls.

Open cell foam – A plastic or rubber that has been expanded into a foam using a blowing agent that creates tiny “air” cells. Cell walls are connected to each other. The cell structure will permit the passage of liquids and gases to varying degrees. Excellent for cushion, padding, or acoustical absorption.

Pattern adhesive – Adhesive applied in a pre-determined pattern to the back of a substrate; the result of a die cutting method utilizing multiple dies.

Common Tape Applications


A full line of 3M transfer tapes and acrylic foam tape technology is available for temporary, permanent or structural joining to replace spot welds, rivets and mechanical fasteners during production.


A collection of reclosable fasteners with specialized adhesive systems, including hook-and-loop and 3M Dual-Lock™ fasteners for positive blind fastening, can be applied to a variety of surfaces and environments.


A wide range of high-performance open and closed-cell foams equipped with high- performance adhesives can be engineered to fit your specific application.


3M Bumpon® Protective Products Resilient Rollstock, 3M Polymask®, 3M Bumpons® Mylar®, Lexan®, cork, felt and urethane film can be used to safeguard surfaces against damage.


A wide variety of high performance materials are offered for thermal management in LED fixtures and other electronic devices. The 3M materials which we offer for cooling solutions include thermally conductive adhesives, thermally conductive greases, thermal transfer pads, thermal tapes and heat spreading tapes


Energy absorbing Poron® urethane foams, 3M Bumpon® Protective Products Resilient Rollstock, 3M Bumpons® and BSR (buzz, squeak and rattle) materials help eliminate objectionable sounds.