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Adhesive tape refers to any one of a variety of combinations of backing materials coated with an adhesive. Different backing materials and adhesives can be used depending on the intended use.
Pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA), a key component of some adhesive tapes, was first developed in 1845 by Dr. Horace Day, a surgeon. In 1901, the German Oscar Troplowitz invented an adhesive patch called Leukoplast for the German company Beiersdorf AG. In 1936, German company Beiersdorf AG invented a transparent adhesive patch called Tesa.
Adhesive strength versus shape
Adhesiveness depends not only on the type of tape but also on its macroscopic shape. Tapes with sharp corners start to detach at pointed corners.  Adhesive strength can be improved by rounding the corners.
Pressure-sensitive tape, PSA tape, self-stick tape or sticky tape consists of a pressure-sensitive adhesive coated onto a backing material such as paper, plastic film, cloth, or metal foil. It is sticky (tacky) without any heat or solvent for activation and adheres with light pressure. These tapes usually require a release agent on their backing or a release liner to cover the adhesive. Sometimes, the term "adhesive tape" is used for these tapes.
Water activated tape
A specific type of gummed tape is called reinforced gummed tape (RGT). The backing of this reinforced tape consists of two layers of paper with a cross-pattern of fiberglass filaments laminated between. The laminating adhesive had previously been asphalt but now is more commonly a hot-melt atactic polypropylene.
Water-activated tape is used for closing and sealing boxes. Before closing corrugated fiberboard boxes, the tape is wetted or remoistened, activated by water. The tape is mostly 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide.
Heat sensitive tape
Heat activated tape is usually tack-free until it is activated by a heat source. It is sometimes used in packaging, for example, a tear strip tape for cigarette packs. Conversely, thermal release tape, such as REVALPHA by Nitto Denko, loses its tack and fully releases when heated to a certain temperature. This type of tape is used often in the semiconductor industry.
"Nano tape" (also called "gecko tape") is composed of arrays of carbon nanotubes. These arrays are called synthetic setae and mimic the microscopic setae found on the toes of a gecko; this is an example of biomimicry. The adhesion is derived from van der Waals forces between the carbon nanotubes and a smooth surface.
Nano tape is often sold commercially as double-sided tape useful for hanging lightweight items such as pictures and decorative items on walls without punching holes in the wall. The carbon nanotube arrays leave no residue after removal and can stay sticky in extreme temperatures. 
- Chemistry of adhesive tapes
- Tape dispenser
- Masking tape
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Sticky mat
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- "Carbon nanotube tape stays sticky in extreme temperatures". Nanowerk Newsletter. American Chemical Society. Jul 10, 2019.
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