Aerospace adhesive tapes are often employed in a variety of applications. In addition to maintaining moisture and any other vital linkages, they may be utilized to disguise temperature. Aerospace tape has several applications, including providing protection for hoses, cables, and wires as well as anti-vibration treatments for window coverings.
Flame-retardant tape can also be used to shut off cargo spaces. Adhesive tape has the wonderful properties of being able to tolerate high heat and providing a lot of surface protection. Specialty pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape has several uses in the aircraft industry.
These kinds of adhesives may be utilized across the whole aircraft for everything from joining disparate components to insulation and dampening. They can survive the rigors of the aircraft sector, are lightweight, and have good bonding properties. The tapes used in both commercial and military aviation applications must be resistant to pressure fluctuations, moisture ingress, abrasion from chemicals, and intense vibrations.
Because of this, selecting the appropriate material is essential to the success of your project (ATS 2023).
Types of Aircraft Tapes
The following types of tapes are the most famous types used in the aviation industry:
Aluminum Tape (Speed Tape)
Heavy-duty, self-adhesive tape is known as speed tape. This implies that it is suitable for quick, small repairs that could also need high-speed operations. There are a few reasons why some individuals believe speed tape and duct tape are interchangeable. Even though they appear to be the same, the two of them are completely distinct. Speed tape has a significantly stronger adhesion and is thicker than duct tape. This makes it easier for it to maintain contact with the aircraft while it is in flight.
Another characteristic of speed tape is its high heat resistance up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate extreme temperatures without failing or deteriorating. It can tolerate extreme temperatures without failing or deteriorating. Due to its extraordinary durability, it can survive wind speeds of 600 mph and temperatures as low as minus 65 degrees Fahrenheit (ATS 2023).
Glass Cloth Tape
Glass Cloth Tape is a pressure-sensitive silicone adhesive and is made with a woven fiberglass backing for use in applications requiring high-temperature resistance, strong adherence, and clean removal. As a backup strip for submerged arc welding and for closing pneumatic ducts, it is frequently utilized for high temperature applications.
Masking tape is a sort of pressure-sensitive tape composed of a paper that is thin and easily torn and a pressure-sensitive adhesive that is readily removed. It is offered in a range of widths. It is mostly used to mask off regions that shouldn't be painted while painting airplanes.
The tape's adhesive is what makes it so beneficial since it makes it possible to remove it without hurting the surface to which it was attached or leaving behind any residue. The tape is graded from 1 to 100 based on the adhesive strength and comes in a variety of strengths. A tape in the 50 range will be needed for most painting tasks. Masking tape for everyday usage is constructed of even weaker paper and worse adhesive.
Double Sided Tape
Only the bonded carpet installation method uses the readily releasable double-sided tape. The fact that double-sided tape has two distinct adhesive qualities is its clear benefit. This type of tape may be removed together with the carpet without damaging the floor panels or necessitating further floor cleaning (Lantal 2023).
The ideal solution for shielding hydraulic hoses and lines, pneumatic hoses, gasoline & oil lines, brake lines, wires, and cables from exposure to high and extreme heat conditions is high temperature silicone rubber end-wrap compression tape.
Molten metals, slag, welding spatter, electrical or grinding sparks, and contaminants are shed by the unique silicone rubber composition. End Wrap Tape also offers ozone, UV, and abrasion protection. To achieve the standard 50% overlap while wrapping the Type II tape around fire-sleeve, wire, hoses, and cables, it features a blue line going down the middle.
A waterproof/gas-tight end is provided to the installation of sleeves over hoses and cables by silicone end wrap tape, which self-bonds to itself and silicone rubber coated sleeves and tapes (Tech 2021).
Applications & Functions
Several distinct types of industrial tape are used for crucial functions in the creation and maintenance of aircraft.
It takes a lot of heat and maybe even pressure to mold composite sheets into the forms required for slick flying when manufacturers forge them into fuselages or wings. Silicone adhesive tapes are powerful enough to hold composites in place while withstanding high temperatures and outside pressure for extended periods of time, but flexible enough not to harm the materials.
When aviation parts are transported by ground, rail, or air, they are vulnerable to dangers such abrasions that might jeopardize the structural integrity of the aircraft. These components are adequately protected during transit between manufacturing sites thanks to adhesive tapes that wrap them in protective tape solutions.
High Temperature masking
When assembling parts, airplane makers and maintenance personnel frequently employ heated tools. These tools aid in the composite bonding process or let production workers attach components to the aircraft, but if safety measures aren't taken, the high temperatures these tools produce might harm nearby electronics or even foundation materials. When used, high temperature masking protects these delicate components from heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, preventing damage.
Manufacturers of airplanes and facilities that house their component parts are both protected by tape materials with moisture barrier protection. A similar heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system is included in every aircraft. In light of this, aluminum foil-backed moisture barrier tapes stick to galvanized ducting, even in the most difficult-to-reach areas and may be removed easily with little to no residue.
Products for industrial painting and stripping tape do considerably more tasks than the typical painter's tape found at your neighborhood hardware shop. Products from Ideal Tape are resistant to both painting and electroplating procedures, can adapt to obtuse angles and surfaces, attach firmly to provide a complete seal, and are simple to remove after the task is complete (ATI 2016).
Minor Structure Temporary repair
Aircraft manufacturers can instruct maintenance facilities to use speed tapes as a temporary brace for a cracked or scratched aircraft exterior component. The tape is usually used for limited flight cycles before the need to apply a permanent repair
When changing some exterior aircraft components (such as windows or Antennas), sealants must be applied and left to cure without being exposed to high wind. So, in order to minimize aircraft down time, tapes are applied over the sealant area to protect the uncured sealant during flight.
The following selection criteria are essential to consider when choosing the right tape for any application:
Tapes that will be applied to exterior regions of the aircraft where it will be exposed to high-speed airflow have different characteristics to other tapes. They are usually thicker and have stronger adhesive material, so using a tape in this application must be considered carefully.
Similar to speed tapes, the exposure to high vibration must be kept in mind when selecting the tape. Selecting improper tape may cause failure of the tape due to fatigue resulting from vibration cycles.
Some areas of the aircraft are exposed to very high temperatures; special types of tapes are used in these areas. Other areas are exposed to very low and freezing temperatures. Some areas also are exposed to wide varying temperature, and selection of tapes used in these areas is very important, as few tapes can withstand the variation of temperatures from freezing cold temperatures of high altitudes to high temperatures of engine exhaust.
Moisture & Chemical Exposure
Some areas in the aircraft are unpressurized, and these areas are exposed to moisture all the time, specially at very low temperatures and high altitudes. Other areas also can contain hydraulic, oil, fuel and lubricants, and these areas contain different chemically corrosive materials. Applying tapes in areas exposed to moisture or chemicals is very usual, and hence the choice of tapes resistant to moisture and chemical corrosion at these areas must be considered.
Areas inside and outside the aircraft are exposed to rapid changes in pressure while the aircraft is climbing or descending; hence, the choice of any type of adhesive tapes in the aviation industry must endure these pressure changes in order to do its function properly
Easy Application/Tearing off
Some areas require the tape to be easily applied, while some other areas require the tape to be easily teared off. Applying the tape in an area with small accessibility would require easy application of the tape; while masking tape used in the painting of the aircraft requires the tape to be easily teared off.
Installation & Best Practices
For Installation of different tapes used in the aviation industry, personnel must be committed to the aircraft manufacturer/ tape supplier manuals in order to make sure that the tape is applied correctly. Special attention must be made to the tapes that are exposed to extreme operating conditions such as high speed, vibration or temperature changes.
Tearing off the tape also must be done according to the manuals, in order to tear the tape perfectly without leaving any adhesive traces behind.
According to the market assessment of adhesive tapes, the development of all-purpose adhesive tape goods will slow down. High-tech items and environmental preservation will also provide up development potential. Because ecologically friendly hot-melt, water-based, and solvent-free adhesives will be the route that adhesive research takes in the future (SA 2022)
ATI. 2016. "5 Industrial Tapes Used in Aircraft Manufacturing." ATI Tapes.
ATS. 2023. "How Adhesive Tape is used in the Aviation Industry." Lockheed Martin Small Business of the Year.
Lantal. 2023. "Double-sided adhesive tape." Lantal.
SA. 2022. "Analysis of the future development trend of tape industry." tapenewera.
Tech, AB Thermal. 2021. "Aviation High Temperature Silicone Rubber Self-Fusing Tape meeting Airframe Manufacturer Specifications." Extreme Heat Protection.