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I have noticed a lot of electronics use kapton tape in places where a heat resistant tape isn't necessary. Why is that so? Is it just because it's a good adhesive?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you give an example? It's often used to give a surface for a pick and place machine to grab on components such as sockets. \$\endgroup\$ – Colin Apr 21 at 10:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I usually use kapton tape because it's what I have at my lab desk. It could be as simple as: "It's what they had" \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Karlsen Apr 21 at 11:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ One reason may be for optical clarity. E.g. on part reels when splicing or holding ends, can see that there are parts in the compartments. The adhesive isn't that special IMO. Laboratory tape (similar to painter's tape but slightly stronger adhesive) feels similar to me at room temp - low/medium-tack, clean release, long life. \$\endgroup\$ – Pete W Apr 21 at 12:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ When it goes into the reflow oven it sure needs that heat resistance. Could you provide an example of a component where you feel the heat resistance isn't needed? If it's being placed onto an SMD board intended for reflow soldering it will get hot. \$\endgroup\$ – J... Apr 21 at 19:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HotGlue I have coworkers who've repaired car bumpers with kapton... because we had rolls of it around. Definitely wrapping wires it doesn't need the thermal resistance because those wires are probably not more than 90C rated anyway... probably more like 60C if it's a cheap 3D printer. \$\endgroup\$ – J... Apr 21 at 23:26
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If you go through all the trouble to test and qualify something, like tape: check it doesn't unstick after a few years leaving glue everywhere, doesn't shrink or loosen or harden or crack, even if the product is left in a car baked in full sunlight for months... then you probably won't feel like re-doing that work for another tape, especially if it saves no money and using a new tape brings new risks of failure for your product.

If you repair old equipment, you'll notice the kapton tapes always look like they're new, but the other types, not so much. PVC "electric tape" is one of the worst.

So basically, if it aint broken, dont fix it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The worse tape ever is autoclave indicating tape - the adhesive goes gummy and the tape goes brittle \$\endgroup\$ – D Duck Apr 23 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's almost as if that type is optimized for something other than holding things together for long periods of time, @DDuck. \$\endgroup\$ – Cody Gray Apr 24 at 7:22
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On top of being a good adhesive, it's chemically innert, thermally stable, and does not off-gas when it gets hot.

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    \$\begingroup\$ and optically clear, a good insulator, waterproof, low friction on the smooth side, and one of the most wear resistant polymers \$\endgroup\$ – Pete W Apr 21 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I too subscribe to the Kapton Lovers Weekly Newsletter. Great stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – crasic Apr 22 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ What are the environmental considerations? \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Barnes Apr 24 at 6:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AdamBarnes I think that should be its own question somewhere. It's a plastic resistant to most things you can throw at it (even fares fairly well against radiation), so you probably shouldn't litter it and it's hard to recycle (one proposed method discussed here). The health impact of Kapton itself is fairly low, but the production process is not something you'd want in your backyard. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Apr 24 at 7:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ My life has been changed by learning about Kapton Tape ! \$\endgroup\$ – Fattie Apr 24 at 16:31

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