Very High Bond (VHB) 3M Structural Tapes
3M VHB - Very High Bonding Tape: Double Sided Tape:
What is VHB Tape?3M Very High Bond VHB Tapes are a family of double-sided foam tapes manufactured from high performance acrylic adhesives. VHB Tapes form bonds of exceptional strength, have great durability and elasticity than other conventional double-sided foam tape.
The superior performance of Very High Bonding tapes means they can often be used to replace mechanical fasteners for joining a wide range of materials. It is no wonder why so many people are switching to 3M VHB tape. Have a look at our comprehensive guide to VHB tapes for more information.
3M tape have been used by designers across industries around the world. 3M VHB tape bond, seal and attach metal, plastic and glass assemblies while replacing traditional mechanical fasteners and adhesives such as screws, rivets and welds. All VHB tapes provide good adhesion to most metals, glass and high surface energy plastics.
How to select the right 3M VHB Tape for your application?Selecting the right VHB tape for your application is very important as each family range is designed for certain properties. For example the 4941 family provide excellent adhesion to high and medium surface energy surfaces, the 5952 can be applied on most powder coated paints, the RP family provide great adhesion on metals, glass and some plastics, and finally the GPH family are general purpose and help to bond dissimilar materials.
When choosing a VHB Tape we always recommend testing a sample as each application is different. However these are other things you should consider when choosing a VHB:
Substrates: test the surfaces you want to bond for both the flow of adhesive and the ability to achieve contact with the other surface as surfaces function and interaction with adhesives differently.
Thickness: for higher rigidity and flatness irregularity of the materials then choose a higher thickness VHB, if the materials are more flexible then use a thinner VHB.
Quantity: consider the variables of viscoelasticity, stiffness, strength and stress behaviour when determining the amount of tape for a dynamic load versus a static load.
Expansion/contraction: VHB tapes can generally tolerate differential movement in the shear plane up to three times their thickness.
Bond flexibility: as tape bonds can be more flexible, applications that need higher stiffness may benefit from corresponding design modifications.
Cold temperatures: figure out what temperatures the VHB is going to be exposed to as each VHB is different, evaluate applications that require performance at severe cold temperatures to assure proper adhesion performance.
Surface preparation: ensure surfaces are clean prior to bonding and that pressure is applied after tape application for optimal adhesion.
How to prepare a surface before bonding with a VHB Tape?Take a look at our guide on how to prepare a surface before bonding with a VHB tape, this includes wood, plastic, copper, aluminium, glass and steel.
Ensure that all surfaces are clean and dry – we supply 3M Surface Cleaner and 3M Primer 94. Most surfaces can be cleaned with a 50:50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water, prior to applying 3M VHB Tapes.
- Use a solvent wipe & wipe dry the surface. We recommend the VHB Surface Cleaner Sachets or the 3M VHB Surface Cleaner 1 Litre Solution.
- Use a 3M primer. Using a Tape Primer can significantly improve initial and ultimate adhesion to many surfaces including plastics and paints due to their low surface energy.
- Apply tape to surface. Although some VHB’s do not have high tack if you touch the tape, they offer very strong bonds, so ensure you apply pressure when applying a tape.
- Apply pressure to tape. Bond strength is dependent upon the amount of adhesive to surface contact pressure developed. As 3M VHB are pressure sensitive, the more pressure applied the better. We recommend a 3M Tape Roller to ensure maximum pressure is applied.
Other ways you can prepare a surface before bonding with 3M VHB Tape is by abrasion. Removing heavy levels of dirt or oxide from metals, paints and galvanised steel can help make a better bond. Creating a smoother surface to obtain more flatness will allow VHB Tapes to bond with an improved contact area.
How to Prepare Specific Surfaces Before Bonding?
Heavy Oils: use a degreasers or solvent-based cleaner to remove any oil or grease
Abrasion: abrade the surface to remove any heavy dirt or oxidation
Higher Adhesion: use primers to prime the surfaces to increase adhesion, especially for paint or plastic surfaces
Porous Surfaces: use primers to seal surfaces such as wood, particle board and concreteGlass: use silane primer to increase adhesion for glass bonding
Other materials: consider the potential for special surface preparation for all materials, including metals, plastics, copper, rubber and more.
Benefits and Application Ideas for 3M VHB Tapes Range:
- Designed for various materials including bonding of plasticised vinyls
- Bond and seal plastic windows to pre-painted control panels or switchgears
- Suitable for a range of high and medium surface energy substrates including metals, glass and some plastics
- Designed for a wide variety of materials including low surface energy substrates
- Attach trim and extrusions
- Bonds to a variety of plastics and paint systems (including powder coated)
- Designed to bond high and medium surface energy materials
- Provides cushioning, damping and impact resistance
- Panel bonding & stiffener attachment
- Creates a permanent seal against water, moisture and more
- Temperature performance enables bonding of materials in applications with high operating temperatures such as prior in a powder coating line
- Great for multi material bonding, substrates with high or medium surface energy substrates such as stainless steel and plastics
- For applications in metal working, signage, appliances and specialty vehicle
Benefits of using 3M VHB Tape:
- Does not require any holes to drill, no riveting, no liquid adhesives to cure and no weld distortion
- The application of VHB tapes reduces assembly costs in comparison to traditional methods
- VHB tapes are fast, clean and simple to apply
- Is invisible and eliminates unsightly rivets, weds, screws and bolts
- Damps vibration and reduces noise
- Resists solvents and salt water
- Seals and bonds even in extreme environments
- Distributes stress - rivets can cause stress points whereas VHB tape distributes it
Other FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Regarding Very High Bond Tapes:
Can VHB be applied in inside and in outdoor applications?The tapes can be used in both internal and external applications due to the UV resistance and longevity of the tapes.
3M Very High Bonding Tapes can be applied in outdoor applications as the performance of the tapes are not significantly affected by exposure to sunlight and harsh environments.
Each VHB tape and VHB tape family have different temperature resistance so check on the data sheet or contact a member of the FineCal team before application if you are unsure.
What are the best ways to remove 3M ‘Very High Bond’ (VHB) Tape?VHB tapes are designed for permanent bonding and therefore they are not designed to be removed. In rare cases where you may have to remove 3M VHB Tape from your bonded surfaces this could be because of an applicator error or to repair a damaged component.
You can use an oscillating tool to cut through the adhesive spray. Apply isopropyl alcohol to the edge of the tape to help lubricate the cutting blade and prevent the separated tape from bonding together again. Run the oscillating tool down the length of the bonded surface, cutting less than an inch across, and repeat until surfaces are separated.
Once the components have been separated you can use the tool to remove any residual adhesive, use 3M Adhesive Remover to remove any residual adhesive remaining in the bond area. Simply spray the residual tape with the adhesive remover, allow this to soak in and loosen the adhesive, then scrub the remaining residue off.
Other customers have used sharp blades to cut through thicker foam VHB tapes, and then abraded any residue. Dental floss has also been used to slice and saw through the adhesive tape in some situations. Heat from a heat gun or hair dryer has also been recommended to soften the 3M VHB glue. However we do not recommend the removal of VHB tapes after application.
What is the shelf life of 3M VHB Tapes?Most 3M VHB Tapes have a shelf life of 24 months from the date of despatch from 3M when it is stored in the original carton and stored between 4°C and 38°C and 0-95% degree humidity. However the optimum temperature storage conditions are around 22°C.
What is the typical bond strength overtime?The bond strength of VHB depend on which VHB you are using. Generally though, a VHB tape will reach 50% bond strength after 20 minutes, 90% after 24 hours and 100% bond strength after 72 hours. The bond strength can be achieved more quickly and can even be increased by exposing the bond to elevated temperatures (such as 66°C for one hour).