There are many different forms of tape with multiple uses, for example, packaging tape, strapping tape, masking tape etc. The first variation of tape however was invented in 1845 by a surgeon called Doctor Horace Day who after struggling to keep material on patients’ wounds, tried applying rubber adhesive strips of fabric instead.

As useful as adhesive tapes are, the downside is that many tapes do not work properly if ideal conditions are not present. In this article, we explore why tape struggles to stick in cold weather and what can be done about the common issue.

Why doesn’t adhesive tape stick in the cold?

So, let’s get straight to it. Adhesive tapes performance issues become more severe in cold weather and even heavy-duty tapes can suffer in harsh weather conditions too.

This is because adhesive tapes consist of two components, solid and liquid. The liquid provides the stickiness or tack so that the tape achieves the initial contact, whereas the solid component helps the tape to resist force so it cannot be easily removed.

In cold weather conditions, the liquid component hardens and so the sticky tape not only loses the tack it has but also its natural form, resulting in the tape being unable to make the required contact needed to achieve the strong level of adhesion that is expected. In cases where the temperature continually drops, the tape will freeze, and the liquid component will turn into a tactless solid.

Some of the adhesive tape issues that can arise due to cold weather include:

  • Adhesive tape will not stick to the package properly
  • The tape becomes very brittle and dry
  • The tape has very little or no tack and so does not stick at all.

These issues are understandably frustrating for anyone as they result in waste of time and compromise the quality of the package.

Why does custom tape not stick in the cold?

This usually depends on the type of adhesive tape that is used. Most of the time, adhesive in the tape freezes well before the water freezing temperature is reached. But if a tape has been designed for these weather conditions, then it should continue to work even in the freezing temperatures.

It’s important to note that when cartons are being stored in colder temperatures before the tape has been applied, it is likely that the adhesive tape will also become brittle and lose its tack on the package.

What can be done when your tape will not stick in the cold weather?

Standard adhesive tapes will freeze long before the freezing temperature of water is reached, while specially made tapes such as Solvent PP will continue to stick in cold temperatures.

If your tape is not sticking, this is what can be done:

1. Increase temperature of the surface as well as the tape to 20 degrees Celsius. 

2. If storing the boxes and tape in the warehouse, move them to a warm environment and later on try and use the tape again. Sometimes it’s just a case of the box being too cold for the tape to stick on it.

3. Purchase a custom tape that has been specially designed and engineered to work in cold conditions.
If the first two options fail to work, you may be wondering what tapes do work in cold temperatures that you can switch to instead.

Post time: Nov-07-2023