Water activated tape, often referred to as gummed tape, is a type of packaging tape that works through a unique activation process. The tape consists of a strip of paper or reinforced material with a dry adhesive on one side. When water is applied to this side of the tape, the adhesive is triggered and becomes sticky, ready to adhere to surfaces. The water activates the adhesive by dissolving a starch-based glue that lies beneath the dry layer. This activation process enhances the bond and creates a strong, secure seal. It works by effectively hydrating the glue and allowing it to form a chemical bond with the surfaces it is applied to. The advantage of water activated tape is its ability to tightly seal packages, even in challenging environments, as the adhesive forms a strong and reliable bond.
The Science Behind Water Activated Tape
Water activated tape may seem like a simple adhesive product, but its functionality is actually quite fascinating. In order to understand how it works, we need to delve into the science behind its adhesive properties and activation process.
Water activated tape, also known as gummed tape or Kraft tape, uses a starch-based adhesive to create a strong and secure bond. The adhesive is made from renewable resources, such as corn or potato starch, making it an environmentally friendly option compared to other types of tape.
The starch adhesive is dry and inert when the tape is manufactured, meaning it has no adhesive properties until it is activated by water. This dry adhesive coating prevents the tape from sticking to itself or other surfaces during storage or shipping.
When water is applied to the tape, whether through a sponge, sprayer, or tape dispenser with a built-in water reservoir, the adhesive activates. The water breaks down the starch molecules in the adhesive, creating a sticky and gelatinous substance.
The Activation Process
When the starch-based adhesive is activated, it undergoes a transformation that allows it to bond to a wide variety of surfaces effectively.
- Hydration: The water molecules penetrate the dry adhesive coating, causing the starch particles to hydrate and swell.
- Intermolecular Forces: As the starch particles hydrate, they form hydrogen bonds with each other and the surrounding water molecules.
- Gel Formation: The hydrated starch particles create a gel-like structure that effectively adheres to surfaces. This gel formation provides a strong bond and prevents the tape from easily peeling off.
Unlike pressure-sensitive tapes that rely on direct contact with a surface, water activated tape relies on the adhesive gel forming a strong bond through molecular attraction. This makes it ideal for sealing cartons, packages, and boxes to ensure they remain securely closed during transit or storage.
The bond created by water activated tape is also more secure because it is tamper-evident. Once the tape is applied and activated, any tampering attempts will cause visible damage to the tape, providing a clear indication that the package has been accessed.
Overall, the science behind water activated tape demonstrates how a seemingly simple product can utilize starch-based adhesives and the activation process to create a strong and reliable bond. Its eco-friendly nature and tamper-evident properties make it a popular choice for packaging and shipping needs.
Different Types of Water Activated Tape
Water activated tape, also known as gummed tape or kraft tape, is a type of packaging tape that becomes sticky when it comes into contact with water. It is commonly used for sealing boxes and packages as it provides a secure and tamper-evident seal.
There are several different types of water activated tape available on the market, each with its own unique characteristics and applications. Let’s take a closer look at some of these types:
1. Reinforced Water Activated Tape
Reinforced water activated tape is one of the strongest and most durable types of tape available. It is made by combining a layer of paper with embedded fiberglass threads, which provides increased tensile strength and tear resistance. This makes it ideal for heavy-duty applications and shipping boxes that require added support and security. Reinforced water activated tape is commonly used in industries such as e-commerce, manufacturing, and logistics.
2. Non-Reinforced Water Activated Tape
Non-reinforced water activated tape, also known as plain water activated tape, does not contain any additional reinforcement materials. It is made from a single layer of kraft paper, coated with a water-activated adhesive. This type of tape is typically used for lightweight and non-critical applications, such as sealing envelopes, cartons, or packages that do not require extra strength. Non-reinforced water activated tape is an economical option for general-purpose packaging needs.
3. Colored Water Activated Tape
Colored water activated tape is a variation of non-reinforced water activated tape that comes in a range of vibrant colors. It offers the same sealing capabilities as plain water activated tape but provides added visual appeal and identification. Colored tape can be used to differentiate between different products, mark special handling instructions, or simply add a touch of branding to the packaging.
4. Pre-Printed Water Activated Tape
Pre-printed water activated tape is a type of tape that comes with custom printed designs, logos, or messages. It offers the same sealing properties as other water activated tapes but allows for additional customization and branding opportunities. Pre-printed tape can be used to promote a company’s brand, display important warnings or instructions, or simply add a professional and personalized touch to the packaging.
5. Machine Length Water Activated Tape
Machine length water activated tape is specifically designed for use with water-activated tape dispensing machines. These machines moisten and cut the tape automatically, making the packaging process faster and more efficient. Machine length tape is available in both reinforced and non-reinforced versions and is commonly used in high-volume packaging operations. It offers the benefits of water activated tape while streamlining the packaging workflow.
6. Specialty Water Activated Tape
- Printed Pattern Water Activated Tape: This type of tape comes with various printed patterns, making it ideal for decorative or artistic packaging purposes.
- Cold Temperature Water Activated Tape: Cold temperature water activated tape is specifically designed to perform well in low-temperature environments, ensuring a reliable seal even in freezing conditions.
- Recycled Water Activated Tape: Recycled water activated tape is made from recycled or sustainable materials, offering an environmentally-friendly packaging solution.
- Customized Water Activated Tape: Customized water activated tape can be tailored to specific requirements, such as width, length, or adhesive strength, to meet unique packaging needs.
These specialty tapes cater to specific needs and applications and provide further options for customizing and enhancing packaging processes.
Advantages of Using Water Activated Tape
Water Activated Tape (WAT) is a versatile packaging material that offers numerous advantages over other types of tape. Here are some of the key benefits of using water activated tape:
1. Superior Strength and Security
One of the primary advantages of water activated tape is its superior strength and security. Unlike pressure-sensitive tape, which relies on adhesive that can easily be tampered with or weakened, water activated tape forms a strong, permanent bond when it comes into contact with water. This makes it extremely difficult to remove or tamper with, providing added security for your packages.
Additionally, water activated tape is made from reinforced paper or fiberglass, which enhances its strength and durability. It can withstand rough handling, extreme temperatures, and various environmental conditions, ensuring that your packages remain secure during transit.
2. Cost-Effective Packaging Solution
Another advantage of using water activated tape is its cost-effectiveness. While it may have a slightly higher upfront cost compared to other types of tape, such as pressure-sensitive tape, the long-term savings it offers more than make up for it.
Water activated tape is typically applied using a tape dispenser, which efficiently wets the tape and activates its adhesive. This ensures that the tape is not wasted or applied incorrectly, reducing material waste and saving you money in the long run. Additionally, the strong bond provided by water activated tape eliminates the need for multiple layers of tape, further reducing material usage and cost.
3. Customizable and Professional Appearance
Water activated tape offers a customizable and professional appearance for your packages. It can be printed with your company logo, branding, or any other customized design to enhance your brand visibility and create a professional look. This can help to improve the overall presentation of your packages, leaving a positive impression on your customers.
Furthermore, water activated tape provides a clean and neat seal on packages, enhancing the overall aesthetics. Its smooth, uniform application gives a professional finish, making it an ideal choice for businesses that value attention to detail and want to present a polished image.
How Water Activated Tape is Applied
Water activated tape, also known as gummed tape or Kraft paper tape, is applied in a slightly different way than traditional adhesive tape. The application process involves three main steps: wetting the tape, activating the adhesive, and sealing the package.
- Step 1: Wetting the Tape
- Step 2: Activating the Adhesive
- Step 3: Sealing the Package
The first step in applying water activated tape is to wet it. The tape comes in a roll with a dry adhesive on one side. To activate the adhesive, you need to dampen the tape with water. This can be done by using a wet sponge, a tape dispenser with a water reservoir, or a specialized tape dispenser that automatically wets the tape as it is dispensed.
Once the tape is wet, the adhesive is activated. The adhesive on water activated tape is made of a starch-based glue that is sensitive to moisture. When the adhesive comes into contact with water, it becomes tacky and sticky, creating a strong bond when applied to a surface. The adhesive absorbs the water and forms a chemical bond with the fibers of the tape and the surface it is being applied to. This creates a secure seal that is more tamper-evident and resistant to tampering than traditional adhesive tape.
After activating the adhesive, the next step is to seal the package. Place the tape on the desired surface, adhesive side down, and press it firmly to create a strong bond. The wet adhesive creates an immediate bond with the surface, ensuring that the package is securely sealed. It is important to apply even pressure along the entire length of the tape to ensure a proper seal.
Environmental Impact of Water Activated Tape
Water activated tape (WAT) offers several environmental benefits compared to other types of packaging tape. Here are some of the ways in which water activated tape reduces its environmental impact:
1. Biodegradable and Recyclable
Water activated tape is typically made from a combination of paper or kraft reinforced with fiberglass, making it biodegradable and recyclable. The paper component can easily break down in compost or recycling facilities, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. By using WAT, businesses can contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.
2. No Need for Plastic Dispensers
Unlike other types of tape that require plastic dispensers, water activated tape can be applied using a water-activated dispenser. These dispensers use water to activate the adhesive on the tape and apply it efficiently. By eliminating the need for plastic dispensers, WAT reduces the amount of plastic waste generated.
3. Water-based Adhesive
The adhesive on water activated tape is water-based, meaning it does not contain harmful chemicals or solvents. This makes it safer for both the environment and the individuals handling the tape. The use of water-based adhesive also reduces the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere.
4. Lower Energy Consumption
In comparison to other types of packaging tape, water activated tape requires less energy to manufacture. The process of creating WAT involves minimal chemical processes and simpler manufacturing techniques. This reduced energy consumption contributes to a lower carbon footprint and helps preserve natural resources.
5. Reduced Packaging Waste
Water activated tape forms a strong bond with the packaging material, providing secure sealing and reinforcing the integrity of the package. This strong bond reduces the risk of damage or tampering during transport, minimizing the need for additional packaging materials. The use of WAT can help businesses reduce their overall packaging waste and create a more sustainable supply chain.
Tips for Properly Using Water Activated Tape
Water activated tape, also known as gummed tape or Kraft paper tape, is a packaging material that offers superior strength and durability. It is designed to create a strong bond with fibers in corrugated boxes, making it an ideal choice for securing shipments during transit. To ensure the best performance and maximize the benefits of water activated tape, here are some useful tips:
1. Prepare the Surface
Prior to applying water activated tape, it is essential to ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and free from dust or debris. Any contaminants on the surface can compromise the adhesive properties of the tape and weaken its bond. Use a cloth or brush to wipe away any dirt or moisture before applying the tape.
2. Activate the Adhesive
Water activated tape gets its name from the adhesive on its back, which is activated by water. To use the tape effectively, moisten a sponge or brush and run it along the adhesive side of the tape. The water will reactivate the adhesive, making it sticky and ready for application. Ensure that the water is evenly distributed across the adhesive surface for optimal bonding.
3. Apply the Tape Properly
When applying water activated tape, it is important to position it correctly on the carton. Start at one end of the box and press the tape firmly onto the surface, ensuring that it adheres securely. As you continue to unroll the tape, apply pressure with your hand or a tape dispenser to activate the adhesive and create a strong bond. For added reinforcement, extend the tape slightly onto the sides of the box.
4. Use Sufficient Length
It is recommended to use an ample amount of water activated tape to ensure a secure seal. Measure the length of the box and add a few extra inches to account for the overlapping and reinforcing of the tape. Using an inadequate length of tape may result in a weaker seal and increase the risk of the package opening during transit.
5. Allow Sufficient Drying Time
After applying water activated tape, it is important to allow sufficient drying time for the adhesive to fully cure and create a strong bond. Avoid handling or stacking the boxes immediately after taping to prevent any disturbance to the adhesive. The drying time can vary depending on environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, so it is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
6. Store Properly
Proper storage of water activated tape is crucial to maintaining its effectiveness. Store the tape in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Exposure to heat and moisture can degrade the adhesive properties, making the tape less effective. Additionally, ensure that the tape is stored in a sealed container or protected from dust and other contaminants.
Common Applications of Water Activated Tape
Water activated tape, also known as gummed tape or kraft paper tape, is a type of packaging tape that is activated by water, creating a strong bond when applied to a surface. It is commonly used in various applications due to its unique properties and benefits. In this article, we will explore the common applications of water activated tape and how it is used in different industries and settings.
7. Shipping and Packaging
One of the primary applications of water activated tape is in shipping and packaging. This tape is widely used by companies for sealing cartons, boxes, and packages securely during transit. It provides a secure and tamper-evident seal, ensuring that the package remains intact and protected throughout the shipping process.
Water activated tape creates a strong bond with the surface it is applied to, which makes it highly resistant to tampering. Once the tape is applied and activated with water, it forms a chemical bond with the carton or box, creating a durable seal that cannot be easily removed without leaving visible signs of tampering.
Unlike pressure-sensitive tapes, water activated tape adheres well to various surfaces, including corrugated cardboard, recycled materials, and even dusty or dirty surfaces. It eliminates the need for additional adhesives or tapes, simplifying the packaging process and reducing the overall cost of materials.
In addition to its sealing capabilities, water activated tape contributes to the overall professional appearance of packages. Due to its cohesive nature, it creates a clean and neat seal that enhances the aesthetic appeal of the package, giving it a more polished and secure look.
Furthermore, water activated tape is a sustainable packaging solution. It is made from kraft paper or other biodegradable materials and can be easily recycled or composted, making it an environmentally-friendly choice for businesses looking to minimize their ecological footprint.
Overall, water activated tape is an essential tool in the shipping and packaging industry. Its strong bonding properties, tamper-evident seal, and eco-friendly nature make it a preferred choice for businesses seeking reliable packaging solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions about How Does Water Activated Tape Work
What is water activated tape?
Water activated tape, also known as gummed tape, is a type of tape that requires water to activate its adhesive properties. It is made from a kraft paper backing, and a layer of adhesive that is activated by moisture.
How does water activated tape work?
When water is applied to the adhesive side of the tape, it interacts with the starch-based adhesive, making it sticky. The tape is then applied to the desired surface and the adhesive bonds with the material, creating a secure seal.
What are the advantages of using water activated tape?
Water activated tape provides a strong and secure seal, as the adhesive is activated by water and bonds with the surface it is applied to. It is also tamper-evident, making it ideal for packaging applications. Additionally, water activated tape is eco-friendly as it is made from renewable materials.
Is water activated tape difficult to use?
No, water activated tape is easy to use. Simply wet the adhesive side of the tape using a wet sponge or dispenser, and apply it to the surface you want to seal. The adhesive will bond quickly and securely.
What surfaces can water activated tape be used on?
Water activated tape can be used on various surfaces including cardboard, corrugated boxes, paper, and other packaging materials. Its adhesive properties make it stick to various surfaces, creating a reliable seal.
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