Flexible Solutions

Surface Energy and Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Tapes

Posted by Katie Sullivan

July 8, 2014 1:51 PM

The use of pressure sensitive adhesive tape is growing rapidly in manufacturing in practically all industries. This means more and more design engineers are in the process of selecting a pressure sensitive adhesive for their application. An imperative part of the adhesive selection process is to determine the surface energy of the two substrates that are being bonded. 


It is the measure of how well an adhesive “wets out” over the surface. In other words, how well the adhesive sticks. Low surface energy (LSE) substrates do now allow adhesives to wet out, making them difficult for adhesive to adhere. Some LSE substrates include Polystyrene, Acetal, Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Teflon, and powder coated paints. High surface energy (HSE) substrates allow for adhesive wet out, making them easy for adhesive to bond. Some HSE substrates include Metal, Kapton, Polyester, Polycarbonate, Acrylic, and ABS.



The surface condition can also be a factor in determining the surface energy of a substrate. Is the surface rough, smooth, porous, coated, uncoated, clean, flexible, etc.?

Some pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes are formulated to provide better adhesion to LSE substrates, while others are formulated to adhere to HSE substrates.



There are a few other factors to consider aside from surface energy when selecting a Pressure Sensitive Adhesive for your bonding application. Marian Sales Engineers are well trained and experienced in the world of PSA's. They are ready to work with you to understand your application so that they can help you narrow down your search. Contact us today for help with your PSA application. 

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For a comprehensive guide to selecting a PSA, check out our free download “4 Questions to ask when choosing a PSA”.  EBOOK: 4 Questions to Ask When Selecting a PSA

Also, check out our 1 page Guide: Considerations When Selecting a Bonding PSA. 

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Topics: Pressure Sensitive Adhesive, Surface Energy