Tape Glossary

single and double sided tapes - tapes from BDK

Commonly used terminology in the adhesive tape industry

Here is a list of common used terminology and adhesive tape types in the adhesive tape industry. If you would like any further information about any of these tape types or have a general enquiry about our tapes and adhesives, we urge you to contact us.


Adhesives are polymer substances that join two or more materials together. Some of the most common types of adhesives are pressure sensitive adhesives, acrylic adhesives, silicone adhesives and liquid adhesives.

Adhesive Transfer Tape

An unsupported pressure sensitive tape, without backing reinforcement, where the adhesive is directly coated onto the release liner.


Also known as a carrier, the backing is the base material which adhesive is coated. Common materials used for the backing are film, paper, cloth or foil.


The ability for adhesive tape to make complete contact to irregular surfaces without compromising the bond.


Converting is the process of presenting products using methods such as laminating, die-cutting, laser cutting, precision slitting, etc. At BDK, we have comprehensive manufacturing converting facilities backed by years of experience to create custom components tailored to your application. Read more about our converting capabilities here.

Conductive Tape

Electrically and thermally conductive foil, transfer adhesive and double coated tapes. Used for a wide variety of high-performance electronic shielding and thermal transfer applications.


The slow movement of the adhesive or backing which occurs when it is under shear stress due to low cohesive strength.


To alter the properties of an adhesive by using a chemical reaction, commonly accomplished by the action of heat or UV light, thereby activating the bond of the adhesive.


The process of cutting uniform designs out of pressure sensitive tapes using custom-made dies. Used for high production volumes in order to achieve repeated accuracy and precision.

Dimensional Stability

The ability of the liner to suffer minimal distortion due to the varying conditions of humid environments and absorption of moisture.

Double Sided Tape

A pressure sensitive tape comprised of a backing material that is coated with adhesive on both sides and a release liner on at least one side.


The ability of the adhesive to maintain optimum performance during its life span, withstanding wear, pressure or damage.

Electrical Tape

Also known as insulation tape, electrical tape is made of plastics or vinyl with an adhesive on one or both sides. It is used to insulate electrical wires and other electrically conductive materials, as well as providing thermal management and electrical shielding.

Film Tape

Either single sided or double sided tape, consisting of a nonfibrous, homogeneous substrate such as polyester, polypropylene or polyethylene. Used for splicing, masking and sealing where resistance to moisture, chemicals and wear are required.


The ability of an adhesive tape to be freely bent or flexed, particularly during low temperature application.

Foam Tape

Foam is a soft, perforated material made from polyethylene, polyurethane neoprene, or vinyl. These tapes have an adhesive on one or both side and is commonly used for mounting, window glazing, vibration dampening and panel sealing.

Foil Tape

Foil tape utilises thin metal as the backing material, such as aluminium, copper or lead. With electrical conductivity, reflectivity and weather resistant properties, common uses include industrial applications, electrical and electroplating operations.

Heat Activated Tape

A pressure sensitive tape where the application of heat makes the adhesive tacky and the bond is formed when it begins to cool.


Where two or more materials are bonded together by applying one layer of material over another using an adhesive.

Laser Cutting

The process of cutting designs out of pressure sensitive tapes using laser technology instead of tooling. Used for producing samples, small volume production lines, and intricate designs.


For transfer tapes and double sided tapes, paper or film liners are used to prevent the adhesive from sticking to itself.

Masking Tape

A pressure sensitive tape that has thin paper as a substrate so it can be torn easily and does not leave residue behind when protecting a surface.


The ability for gasses or liquids to pass through a material.

Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA)

A category of adhesives that are tacky at room temperature and form an immediate bond when applied to surfaces, requiring no activation by water, solvent or heat, only requiring hand pressure to adhere.


A primer prepares the surface for the application of an adhesive. It is used to improve the bond of the adhesive between the backing and adhesive, or between the tape and the surface.

Protection Tape

Specially formulated to provide protection against many causes of damage, such as scratching, UV exposure or spoiling and provide clean, stain-free removal after application.

Reinforced Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Tape

This type of tape has the same structure as a common pressure sensitive adhesive tape, but in between the backing and the adhesive there is a built-in reinforcement layer.

Reflective Tape

A pressure sensitive tape used to clearly mark areas or objects by providing a surface that reflects the light; available in different colours.

Shear Resistance

The ability of the adhesive to resist force and maintain optimum performance and adhesion.

Shock Resistance

The ability of the adhesive to resist suddenly applied force and maintain optimum performance and adhesion.

Single Sided Tape

A pressure sensitive tape comprised of a backing material that is coated with adhesive on one side, with the backing being comprised of any material.


The surface to which a pressure sensitive tape is applied.

Surface Energy

The term “Surface energy” is used to describe the surface of a given substrate. Surface energy ranges from high to low depending on their chemical make-up which affects the molecular force of attraction. A high surface energy (HSE) means a strong molecular attraction, therefore easier to bond, whereas a low surface energy (LSE) means a weak molecular attraction, therefore harder to bond.

Temperature Resistance

The ability of the adhesive to resist extreme temperatures and temperature changes and maintain optimum performance and adhesion.

Tensile Strength

The force required to break a piece of tape by pulling in a linear direction apart.

UV Resistance

The ability of the adhesive to resist extended exposure to ultra-violet rays and maintain optimum performance and adhesion.

Weather Resistance

The ability of the adhesive to resist exposure to weather conditions like humidity, extreme temperatures, wind and rain, and maintain optimum performance and adhesion.