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The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Adhesive Tape ( 119

szczys writes: You take tape for granted, but it's truly an engineering wonder. For instance, Scotch Magic tape exhibits triboluminescence; it will generate a bit of bluish light when coming off the roll in a darkened room. It emits X-Rays if unrolled in a vacuum. But this common tape is just the tip of the iceberg. Nava Whiteford looks at lab uses of many different types of tape. Kapton tape is thermally stable and non-conductive. Carbon tape is conductive but resistive. That moves into the non-resistive and more niche tape types. There's a tape for every function. This instant and non-messy way to connect two things together has a lot of science behind it, as well as ahead of it in experimentation, manufacturing, and of course household use.
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The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Adhesive Tape

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  • duct tape... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @11:49AM (#51241611)

    Duct tape is like the Force - there is a dark side and a light side, and it holds the universe together.

    • And you can use it to make a lightsaber.

      1) Buy inexpensive pool noodles.
      2) Cut them in half.
      3) Use Duct tape on one end to form the "handle."
      4) Use electrical tape to add accents/buttons.
      5) Hand them to children (*cough* Or grown men *cough*) and let the lightsaber battles begin.

      Even with heavy use, these lasted about 2 years for my kids and only cost $1 per lightsaber. Plus, there were no injuries from being whacked over the head with a saber.

      • Plus, there were no injuries from being whacked over the head with a saber.

        You are doing it wrong..

        • Plus, there were no injuries from being whacked over the head with a saber.

          You are doing it wrong..

          Nah, he made iLightsaber which works only if you hold it right.

        • I think of them as "practice lightsabers." Perfect your kids' combat skills without lopping off their limbs. (Child Protective Services is *SO* touchy about kids losing limbs due to parent-induced lightsaber injuries.)

          • âoeYou can't give her that!' she screamed. 'It's not safe!'
            IT'S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY'RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.
            'She's a child!' shouted Crumley.
            IT'S EDUCATIONAL.
            'What if she cuts herself?'

    • Duct tape is like the Force: it doesn't work very well, and is mostly irrelevant to those actually trying to get things done.

  • Grow corn and have a few water purifiers in your settlement and you can get as much tape as you need. You're welcome.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Red Green Show [] proved it. He used duct tape to turn a van into a convertible, to turn a bus into a hovercraft (blimp), and all sorts of other things. Now if only there was a handy tape for duct work...

    • by Deadstick ( 535032 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @11:57AM (#51241659)

      My favorite Red Green line: "Now you hold it in place by putting a nail through here and bending it -- or you can use a cotter pin if you're made of money."

      • My favorite Red Green line: "Now you hold it in place by putting a nail through here and bending it -- or you can use a cotter pin if you're made of money."

        Remember: we're all in this together.

        Keep your stick on the ice. // Quandus omni flunkus moritatis

      • My favorite Red Green line: "Now you hold it in place by putting a nail through here and bending it -- or you can use a cotter pin if you're made of money."

        I would have gone with:
        "...we actually had to drive the fire to the fire station... But ya know, in all fairness, for a fire station it was pretty darn flammable."

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Mythbusters has also attempted a lot of absurd things, overwhelmingly successfully, with duct tape.

      There's one that I haven't seen anyone try, but would probably actually work surprisingly well: duct tape hybrid rocket propellant. Look at what you already have in the form of rolls of duct tape: adhesive-bound cylinders of aluminized binder plus polyethylene webbing, with a channel down the center. If you can join them effectively lengthwise and put them in a tube with a nozzle, that sounds like a descript

    • The segment title "The Winter of our Discount Tent" is just classic!

  • by cablepokerface ( 718716 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @12:01PM (#51241687)
    Luckily, with tato, mutfruit, corn and clean water you can mix your own.
    • Wait... you can? That's what I get for ignoring the chem station.

    • Was thinking the same thing. One of the items that as I am poking around the wasteland that gets picked up more often than not is duct tape, packages or duct tape, and military grade duct tape!

      One of the other posters is right though, aluminum cans and the like are your friend also.

      Lastly one of the things that I didn't really collect a lot of, then starting to run out of very quickly was copper. It is used a lot in community building if you do that. Fuses, light bulbs, and other electric type things come i

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In materials science, you learn that surfaces have an energy, and getting all these various materials to stick to other materials like Kapton is quite an achievement.

    We can rest easy that the people who come up with this toil in obscurity...

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      In the words of Randal Munroe:

      You can look at practically any part of anything manmade around you and think "some engineer was frustrated while designing this." It's a little human connection.

  • 3M figured out how to make a force field. []

    • If it's strong enough to withstand any bombardment, we will have to prepare for ground assault.

      So it looks like the Hoth scenario is possible, but not the "deflector shields" on spaceships... because the force field only works in the atmosphere (with low amount of humidity)

  • Which ones cause more cancer than the others?

    • California doesn't make that distinction with it's signage. ""This product contains materials known to the state of California to cause cancer."" --- it's less than fucking useless. The signage is on almost everything. We bought pillow-animal toys (velcro attaches so they can stand) from Costco. Apparently cotton, and nylon causes cancer according to "California".
  • The word tape means strip of something that is sticky on one side.

    Something that generic is almost bound to have multiple varieties, all with amazing uses.

    It's kind of like being surprised at how many different and powerful types of mammals there are, or how many different types of internal combustion engines. Did you know there is an internal combustion engine designed to FLY? An another one to run a submarine?

    Wow, that's so impressive.

    Now, if we were talking something more specific, such as cyanoacr

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The word tape means strip of something that is sticky on one side.

      Like cassette tape and a tape measure I take it.

      Try: "a narrow strip of material, typically used to hold or fasten something."

      No mention of stickiness.

    • The word tape means strip of something that is sticky on one side.

      Umm, you do know that there is such a thing as double sided tape, right? You do know that there is tape that is not sticky, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How do you stick something to Teflon? One industrial method is to treat it with a harsh acid that carbonizes the surface. You can glue to that.

  • So, I have blue tape on my walls in the locations that i expect to put up some pictures. I've already moved them twice, so i saved some holes in the wall.

    Before i put in an ikea wardrobe, we didn't know if it would fit the room. I had a blue tape outline on the wall, didn't help as much as i wanted. I made a blue tape wireframe, and we felt it matched the room. We then did the same for another wardrobe in the den - a blue tape wireframe.

  • Seriously, this reads like someone was stoned and various types of adhesive tape became their fry-toys. Although I will admit: Mythbusters did make an entire working boat out of duct tape, and lifted an entire car off the ground with nothing but duct tape connecting it to the crane.
  • Not a word so far about the toughest tape ever. Drag yer lazy fingers to Google and look it up.

  • I've noticed a blue glow when i peel the wrapper off my BreatheRight strips. Was wondering what that was.
  • Tape is fascinating because it is used to fascinate things together. The large variety of tapes means there is a tape for every porpoise.
  • Ever seen the auxiliary corps, color guard or flag team of a marching band in the US? The flag ("silk") is ALWAYS affixed to the pole using good, old-fashioned electrical tape. (Black, white, or colored depending on show needs.)

    Brand used varies by region and climate, but in California nothing beats Scotch Super 33+ [].

    Rolls of it are in every performer's and coach's bags for use in an emergency, and if you're a roadie/techie, you'll buy a case of it for a season. Pretty funny looks at Home Depot, actually.

  • Sticks tight, releases with no residue, withstands soldering temperatures and insulates at multiple kV per mil. Squeeee!

  • Nobody seems to have mentioned the Silicone Self sealing tape that is used to seal antenna connectors. You stretch it while applying and overlap it with itself and it fuses into one flexible silicone covering. It is better than anything else I have ever used and can be cut off the connectors with no sticky gunk left.
  • by chiguy ( 522222 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @04:08AM (#51246885) Homepage

    I've always wondered what the tape that holds computer accessories together during shipping is called.

    For instance, when I get a new printer, the various hinged parts are held down by a tape that adheres strongly to the plastic parts but releases with no residue despite sitting in the box for months/years. I love the stuff but have no idea how to get a roll of it.

    Anybody have a pointer?

  • 35 mm film is attached to the spool with sticky tape. Pull it off and it glows, fogging the film. Brilliant! Fortunately, the glow is only strong enough to expose the film directly under the tape.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.