how is the adhesive on our packaging tape activated

by:CROWN     2024-06-02


Packaging tape is an essential tool for personal and professional use, ensuring the safe and secure sealing of packages during transportation. But have you ever wondered how the adhesive on packaging tape is activated? The process behind this seemingly simple yet crucial feature is quite fascinating. In this article, we will explore the inner workings of packaging tape adhesive, understanding its composition and how it becomes activated upon application.

The Composition of Packaging Tape Adhesive

Packaging tapes are typically made of a strong backing material, such as polypropylene or polyester, which provides durability and tear resistance. However, it is the adhesive layer that truly holds the tape together and enables it to adhere to various surfaces.

The adhesive used in packaging tapes is typically made from a blend of synthetic rubber and resin. Synthetic rubber provides flexibility and tackiness, essential for creating a strong bond between the tape and the surface it is applied to. Resins, on the other hand, enhance the adhesive's strength and durability, allowing it to withstand different weather conditions and handling.

Overall, the composition of packaging tape adhesive is carefully designed to strike a balance between stickiness, flexibility, and durability, ensuring optimal performance in a variety of applications.

Activation Methods for Packaging Tape Adhesive

The activation of packaging tape adhesive occurs when pressure is applied to the tape during the sealing process. This pressure causes the adhesive to flow, creating a bond with the surface and establishing the secure seal. There are different activation methods employed in packaging tapes, each with its unique advantages and suitability for specific applications. Let's delve deeper into these methods:

Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive

Pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) is the most common type of adhesive used in packaging tapes. It is activated by applying gentle pressure, typically with hands or a tape dispenser, to the tape upon application. The pressure causes the adhesive to conform to the contours of the surface and establish a bond.

PSA offers numerous benefits, including ease of use, instant adhesion, and versatility. It eliminates the need for additional tools or heat sources, making it suitable for a wide range of packaging operations. From small cartons to heavy-duty packages, pressure-sensitive adhesive provides reliable and efficient sealing.

Water-Activated Adhesive

Water-activated adhesive, also known as gummed tape or paper tape, offers a distinct activation method compared to pressure-sensitive adhesive. This type of adhesive requires water to activate its bonding properties.

Water-activated adhesive tapes consist of a backing material, usually kraft paper, reinforced with fiberglass threads for added strength. The adhesive layer is typically composed of starch-based glue, which becomes sticky when dampened with water.

To activate water-activated adhesive tape, the user wets the tape with a sponge or a specialized dispenser, allowing the glue to become tacky. The adhesive forms a strong bond with the carton or package when pressure is applied, ensuring a secure seal.

Water-activated adhesive provides several advantages, including tamper-evidence, reinforcement of the package, and increased security. It offers an excellent option for packaging applications that require added strength and protection.

Heat-Activated Adhesive

Heat-activated adhesive, as the name suggests, requires the application of heat to become activated. This type of adhesive is commonly used in specialized packaging applications where high bond strength is crucial, such as in the automotive or aerospace industries.

Heat-activated adhesive tapes typically consist of a backing material, such as polyethylene or polyester, coated with a layer of heat-activated adhesive. Upon exposure to heat, the adhesive softens and creates a strong bond when pressure is applied.

Various heat sources can be used to activate the adhesive, including hot air, heat guns, or specialized heat-activated tape dispensers. The level of heat required depends on the specific type of adhesive used.

Heat-activated adhesive offers advantages such as high bond strength, resistance to extreme temperatures, and the ability to bond with difficult surfaces. However, it requires additional equipment and expertise to activate, making it less suitable for general packaging needs.

UV-Activated Adhesive

UV-activated adhesive, also known as light-cured adhesive, is a specialized type of adhesive that requires exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light for activation. It is commonly used in applications where instant bonding is required, such as in medical or electronic industries.

UV-activated adhesive tapes are composed of a backing material, typically a transparent film or paper, coated with a UV-sensitive adhesive. When exposed to UV light, the adhesive undergoes a chemical reaction, transforming from a liquid to a solid state, and forms a strong bond.

The activation process is quick and requires a UV light source with a specific wavelength to ensure reliable bonding. UV-activated adhesive offers benefits such as fast curing time, precise control over the bonding process, and excellent clarity.

However, it is important to note that UV-activated adhesive tapes are not suitable for all applications, as they require access to a UV light source.


Packaging tape adhesives play a critical role in securing packages during transportation. The adhesive's composition, along with the chosen activation method, determines its overall performance and suitability for various applications. Whether it's pressure-sensitive adhesive for everyday sealing needs, water-activated adhesive for added strength and security, heat-activated adhesive for specialized industries, or UV-activated adhesive for instant bonding, there is a tape adhesive solution for every packaging requirement. Understanding the activation methods and their benefits allows users to choose the most appropriate tape for their specific needs, ensuring packages arrive safely and securely at their destinations. So, the next time you close a package with packaging tape, take a moment to appreciate the fascinating science behind its adhesive activation.

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