The 3M VHB™ tape LSE series is reportedly a fast, easy, and reliable bonding solution for low-surface-energy (LSE) substrates like polypropylene (PP), thermoplastic olefins (TPO), and thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), as well as composite materials like glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) or fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). Made of double-sided acrylic foam, the tape creates a long-lasting, high-strength bond and performs well across a wide temperature range, providing a durable alternative to ultrasonic welding and other adhesion methods.

Bonding LSE plastics can be a challenge because the plastic-to-plastic bond needed isn’t sticky enough without encountering costly, time-consuming priming or adhesion promoters, unpleasant odors, and countless other process steps. These challenges can inhibit the bonding of composites and LSE plastics and ultimately alter the creative design process.

“Plastics and composites have opened up the door for our customers to revolutionize the materials they use and are propelling broad changes in modern design,” said Kevin Schwab, 3M marketing manager. “However, these materials’ low surface energies make them hard to bond quickly and durably.”

According to the company, the 3M VHB tape LSE series can:

  • Bond without primer to difficult-to-bond-to substrates
  • Increase speed and productivity
  • Reduce the use of chemicals, like primers, which can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or chemicals of concern
  • Offer long-term durability outdoors
  • Provide greater design flexibility
  • Lower manufacturing costs

The 3M VHB tape LSE series also reportedly offers high initial tack at low temperatures, so manufacturers can benefit from faster and more reliable bonds in cold environments, such as outdoor applications or unheated factory floors. This low-temperature capability allows for immediate handling strength in a wide variety of environments, eliminating time spent waiting for the assembly to continue through the production process.

3M reports that, like all 3M VHB tapes, the LSE series is engineered with a full acrylic construction, which means it resists cycling temperatures, as well as exposure to UV light, moisture, and solvents. Its holding power under a wide temperature range makes it a durable alternative to rivets, ultrasonic welds, and liquid adhesives. 

While designed specifically to meet the needs of low-surface-energies, the LSE series also reportedly has superior bonding performance on medium-surface-energy plastics, metals, and more. It can be applied by hand, with semi-automatic equipment, or with robotics. The new tape is available in 0.6, 1.1, and 1.6 mm thicknesses.

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