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Selecting the right product for the job

To help you make sure you find the optimum 3M tape of other adhesive-backed product for your particular application, you will want to consider several factors:

  • backing material
  • adhesive type
  • application time and temperature
  • surface characteristics (roughness, surface energy, contours, etc.)
  • end-use conditions (temperature, UV-exposure, abrasion, etc.)

The information on these pages integrates those factors to help you narrow your selection to fewer products for a more in-depth evaluation.

3M Backing Materials

In many applications, 3M backings add a second surface that affects how the underlying surface relates to the environment. To optimize that relationship, 3M backings offer a wide choice of performance and handling characteristics.

Backings Characteristics
Crepe Conformable, easy tear.
Flatback Strong, smooth, good for straight line masking.
Kraft Strong, some versions are repulpable.
Tissue Thin, porous to allow adhesive penetration of sheet.
Polyester Strong even when thin, chemical resistant, high temperature resistance.
Polypropylene Resistant to most solvents, conformable, tear resistant.
Polyethylene Conformable, easy to stretch, chemical/acid/moisture resistant, economical.
Polyethylene / Polypropylene Co-polymer Conformable, chemical/acid/moisture resistant.
UHMW - Polyethylene High abrasion resistance, low coefficient of friction, anti-stick surface easy to clean.
Polyvinyl Chloride (Vinyl) Conformable, abrasion resistant, resistant to most chemicals.
Polyimide High temperature resistance, excellent dimensional stability, good insulation properties.
Polyamide (Nylon) High temperature resistance, high strength and toughness, good chemical resistance but can absorb moisture.
Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) Low coefficient of friction, excellent high temperature and chemical resistance, anti-stick/release properties.
Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) Water-soluble, organic solvent resistant, high temperature resistance.
Polyurethane Abrasion/scratch resistant, impact/puncture resistant, UV and corrosion resistant.
Polyvinyl Fluoride (e.g., Tedlar®) Excellent weather resistance, excellent long-term UV resistance, thin yet stiff feel.
Cotton Strong, easy tear by hand, soft and drapable.
Glass Cloth Strong, high temperature resistance, flame-resistant.
Polyethylene Coated Strong yet hand-tearable, abrasion resistant, water-resistant, conformable.
Fiber Air permeable, strong enough to hold expanding foams.
Aluminum Heat and light reflective, moisture and chemical resistant, flame-resistant, outdoor weather resistant, conformable.
Lead Electrically conductive, acid resistant, high conformability, x-ray opacity.
Neoprene Abrasion resistant, die-cuttable.
Combination (Laminates)
Paper / Polyethylene Weather and chemical resistant, hand tearable, stretch resistant.
Metalized / Polyester Reflective, decorative.
Glass Cloth / PTFE High temperature resistance, high strength.
Glass Cloth / Aluminum Very high temperature resistance, high strength.
Non-Woven / Aluminum High heat and cold resistance.