Glossary of Tape & Label Terms – ClassyMoose™

Glossary of Tape & Label Terms


The bond produced to the backing of the same tape or another tape backing.


Adhesive that is pulled away from the tape upon removal and remains on the surface to which it has been applied.


The conveyance of adhesive from its normal position on the tape backing to a surface to which the tape was attached, either during unwind or removal.


The specific adhesion of a pressure sensitive adhesive to a face material or an anchor coat.


A relatively thin, flexible material to which the adhesive is applied. Theoretically any material that is reasonably flat, thin, and flexible can be used as a tape backing.


Penetration through the tape of a coloring material (paint, ink, etc.) onto the surface to which the tape is applied.


A webstock that holds a pressure sensitive adhesive, especially used to refer to double-faced or double-coated tapes.


The weight of a coating per unit area. In units expressed as grams per square meter (g/m2).

COHESION (cohesive strength, internal bond)

The ability of the adhesive to resist shear and splitting. Good cohesion is necessary for clean removal. Cohesion equals internal bond of a tape.


The ability of a tape to retain its original color, particularly when exposed to light.


Developing a three-dimensional molecular structure in an adhesive normally activated by heat or radiation. An improvement in shear resistance, high temperature resistance, and oil or solvent resistance will normally result.


A separation or splitting of the tape such as separation of the backing into two distinct layers, separation between laminations of a tape consisting of more than one backing, separation between filaments and backing of a filament reinforced tape, or separation of the adhesive from the backing.


The measure of the maximum voltage stress that a single layer of tape can withstand before dielectric failure occurs, the test being carried out under prescribed conditions.


An adhesive application to both sides of a backing.


The peeling back or lifting of the outer edge of an applied tape in a curved manner.


The tendency for the edge of an adhesive label and/or a tape to lift from a surface to which it has been adhered.


The extensible property of adhesive films or adhesive interfaces to contract and expand in such a manner as to overcome the differential contraction and expansion rates that the bonded adherents may exhibit.


An elastic, polymeric substance, such as natural or synthetic rubber.

ELONGATION (stretch, ultimate elongation)

The distance a tape will stretch in the machine or cross direction before breaking under controlled conditions, expressed as a percentage of original length. Elongation is not necessarily an indication of conformability.


A weakness resulting from stress created by repeated flexing or impact force upon the adhesive-adherent interface.


Thin, longitudinal yarns or threads of glass, polyester, nylon, or other high strength materials.


The ability of a tape to withstand exposure to flame. Fireproof materials will not burn even when exposed to flame. Flame-resistant (fire-retardant, self-extinguishing) materials will burn when exposed to flame, but will not sustain the burn after the flame is removed.


Openings between layers of tape within a finished roll.


A light reflection characteristic of tape backings, usually expressed by such terms as glossy, low gloss, matte, etc.


A term referring to the process of unwinding or dispensing of tapes at a relatively high rate of speed, usually over 15 meters / minute.

HOLDING POWER (shear adhesion, shear resistance)

The ability of a tape to resist static forces applied in the same plane as the backing. Usually expressed in a time required for a given weight and length of tape to shear free from a vertical panel.

HOT MELT (pressure sensitive adhesive)

A pressure sensitive adhesive, applied to the backing in hot liquid form, which then cools to form a conventional pressure sensitive adhesive.


The moisture content of the air. Actual humidity is the number of grams of moisture in the air at any given time. Relative humidity is the percent of moisture relative to the maximum that air at any given temperature can retain with precipitation.

IMPACT RESISTANCE (shock resistance)

The ability of a tape to resist sudden impacts, pulls, or shocks as may sometimes be encountered by packages in transit.


The ability of tape to prevent the flow of electrical current across its surface, usually measured on the backing.


Pressure sensitive insulation materials furnished in roll or sheet form with liner, which can later be printed, frequently die cut, and intended for use as labels.


A situation where a section of tape has pulled away from the surface to which it has been applied.


A “squeezing out” of the adhesive from under the backing. Occurrence when a tape is in a roll form causes the edges of the roll to become tacky.


The ability of a tape to prevent the transmission of light.


The force per unit width required to break the bond between a pressure sensitive adhesive tape and the surface to which it has been applied when the tape is peeled back at a controlled angle at a standard rate and condition.


The softening of an adhesive when exposed to migrating plasticizers or oils.


A term commonly used to designate a distinct category of adhesive tapes and adhesives which in dry form (solvent / water free) are aggressively and permanently tacky at room temperature and that firmly adhere to a variety of dissimilar surfaces upon mere contact without the need of more than finger or hand pressure. These products require no activation by water, solvent, or heat in order to exert a strong adhesive holding force toward such materials as paper, plastic, glass, wood, cement, and metal. They have sufficient cohesive holding power and elastic nature so that, despite their aggressive tackiness, they can be handled with the fingers and removed from smooth surfaces without leaving a residue.


Application of a thin layer of adhesive-like material to a backing that serves as a bonding agent between the backing and the final adhesive coat.

QUICK STICK (finger tack, initial adhesion, wet grab)



A web of sheet material used as a protective liner, which covers the adhesive side of the tape. It is removed prior to application. Most frequently found on double-sided tapes and label stocks.


The measure of the force required to separate a unit width of pressure sensitive tape from a release coated surface at a controlled angle and speed.


The operation of winding the webstock from the reel onto a core to produce rolls of the desired width, diameter, and tension.

SATURATION (impregnation)

Adding materials (saturant) to the backing for improvement of physical properties and resistance to various deleterious environments.


The time required, under specified test conditions (surface area, weight load), to slide a standard area of pressure sensitive tape from a standard flat surface in a direction parallel to the surface.


A tape to which a pressure sensitive adhesive is applied to only one side of the backing.

SURFACE ENERGY (surface wetting ability)

The measure of surface tension in dynes. The lower the surface energy of a substrate, the more difficult it becomes of an adhesive or coating or ink to wet out that surface.


Any method of treating a polyolefin so as to alter the surface and render it receptive to inks, paints lacquers, and adhesives such as chemical, flame, and electronic oxidation.


The property of a pressure sensitive adhesive that allows it to adhere to a surface under very slight pressure. It is determined by the ability of the adhesive to wet quickly the surface it contacts. Hotmelt adhesives are generally acknowledged to have high tack.


The force required to propagate a tear in a tape in a given direction after the tear has been initiated.


A sideways sliding of the tape layers, one over another, such that the roll looks like a funnel or a telescope, usually occurring over a period of time.

TENSILE STRENGTH (breaking strength)

The force required to break a unit width of tape by controlled pulling on opposite ends of the piece.

THICKNESS (caliper, gauge)

The perpendicular distance from one surface of either a tape, backing, of adhesive to the other, usually expressed in mils, thousandths of an inch, or millimeters. This is usually measured under controlled slight pressure with a special gauge.


A pressure sensitive adhesive unsupported applied to a two-side release coated liner.


The force required to remove tape from a roll under prescribed conditions.