Thermal Insulating Tapes Information
Thermal insulating tapes consist of porous foam or cloth backing materials, which provide a thermal barrier around or between components. These tapes are manufactured with a variety of backings and adhesives suited to a wide range of applications.
Cold water or refrigeration tubing and piping systems: Foam tapes are commonly used as wraps to prevent water condensation or frosting on the system lines. Hot water lines are sometimes insulated with foam or cloth tape to reduce heat loss (image on left below).
High temperature applications: Fiberglass cloth insulating tapes are used in applications such as wrapping hot industrial process piping or automotive muffler tail pipes. Ceramic cloth insulating tapes are used in specialized industrial applications with even higher temperatures (image on right above).
Fireproofing: Intumescent tapes are used in fireproofing applications. Intumescent tapes expand and produce foam char, which insulates and protects the underlying surface from additional fire damage.
Heat shielding or reflection: Thermal insulating tapes with foil or metallized plastic film can provide heat shielding or reflect radiant heat. In some thermal insulating tape constructions, an inner foam or fiber core is covered with a metal sheet or foil jacket. The metal sheet provides protection against mechanical damage and can reflect thermal radiation as well.
The proposed use of thermal insulating tape determines which properties are relevant to the selection process.
- Dielectric strength
- Electrical resistivity
- Peel strength/adhesion
- Standards compliance
- Temperature resistance
- Water vapor permeability
- Tensile strength
Materials of Construction
- Cloth/woven fabric
- Metal foil/sheet
- Pressure sensitive
- Abrasion resistance
- Anti-static/ESD control
- Electrically conductive
- EMI/RFI shielding
- Permanent or removable
- UV/weather resistant
Several different organizations set standards for thermal insulating tapes. ASTM International promulgates voluntary, consensus standards and technical information that, among other purposes, measure the reliability of materials and products. Industries and military organizations routinely require that products meet their own standards before the organization will purchase them.
Relevant ASTM standards:
ASTM C534/C534M - Standard for Elastomeric Cellular Thermal Insulation
ASTM F683 - Thermal Insulation for Piping and Machinery
ASTM C168 - Terminology Related to Thermal Insulation
Industry and military standards:
SAE AMS3779A - Tape, Adhesive, Pressure-Sensitive Thermal Radiation Resistant
A-A-59258 - Tape, Aluminum Foil, Heat Reflective, Pressure Sensitive Adhesive
Navy MIL-C-20079 - Cloth, Glass; Tape, Textile Glass; and Thread, Glass and Wire-Reinforced Glass
NAVISTAR TMS 6614 - Piping Insulation