Not all duct tapes are made the same – besides different colors, lengths and widths, duct tapes can be constructed differently from the inside out by manufacturers. There are two methods by which duct tapes can be made – lamination and co-extrusion.
In the past, lamination was the only known method for making duct tape, but today, new innovative technology has been embraced by a few tape manufacturers that allows them to make duct tape through the process of co-extrusion.
Co-extruded duct tape is made using a process that bonds the three layers of the tape – polyethylene backing, cloth, and adhesive – together in a single, high-temperature step. Bonding the layers in this way creates a permanent, airtight and waterproof seal on the tape. The seamless construction increases the tape’s strength and prevents delamination, a failure that occurs in laminated materials which causes the tape’s layers to separate when subjected to repeated stress or harsh environmental conditions. When delamination occurs, the tape’s bond weakens and often fails entirely. Co-extrusion eliminates this risk altogether by permanently bonding the layers of the tape together at the source.
Recognizing a co-extruded duct tape when you see one is as easy as remembering what to look for in the backing. Co-extruded tapes have a dotted appearance in the backing that can be seen and felt versus the horizontal stripe look of a laminated backing.
Duct tapes that are co-extruded are thinner than their laminated counterparts, and have a less conformable backing. They are typically offered in solid color options, while laminated duct tapes can easily be found in a wide range of colors and patterns. However, despite the thinner backing, co-extruded duct tapes provide better strength and are ideal for use on even surfaces, with less risk of failure caused by aging or environmental conditions.
Keep an eye out for next month’s duct tape blog, in which we will go more in-depth on laminated duct tapes and how to choose the right duct tape for the application.
Want to try a co-extruded duct tape and see the difference for yourself? Check out ShurGRIP® duct tape solutions at Shurtape.com.