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Silicone tape is a remarkable feat of chemical engineering that has resulted in a long lasting and highly durable protective tape. Made from cured silicone rubber, silicone tape typically contains a thin layer of silicone gel to make the product self fusing, which forms a permanent bond around whatever it is applied to. This quality has led to a number of alternate names for silicone tape, including self amalgamating tape, self vulcanizing tape, and silicone gel tape. The tape forms the bond when stretched and wrapped around an object and, depending on the specific brand and how it is used, will self fuse within minutes or a few hours.
Another feature of this tape is the inclusion of polydimethylsiloxane in the gel, which contains zinc oxide. This material is added to act as a UV inhibitor. This means that the tape is resistant to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight, which often contributes to the degradation of ordinary tape. It is also resistant to other environmental factors, including the effects of ozone. In addition, silicone tape is designed to withstand moisture, as well as contact with solvents, fuels, acids, and even splashing from soldering.
This tape remains flexible in cold temperatures too. More importantly, some kinds of silicone tape are heat resistant and flame retardant. This is achieved by formulating the composition of the tape to allow it to evenly conduct and disperse heat, yet remain non-combustible. This is obviously very desirable when using the tape under conditions where it may come into contact with excessive heat or open flame.
As might be expected, there is an abundance of applications for the use of this tape. For instance, adaptations of silicone tape are used in the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields where it performs a variety of functions. In clinical settings, it is used to adhere medical equipment to the body, such as catheters and prosthetic devices. In addition, since this tape is not affected by moisture and will adhere to many different surfaces, it can be reapplied. In some cases, it can even be cleaned and reused when appropriate.
Silicone tape is extensively used in the aviation industry and by the military, as well as in boat rigging. It is extremely valuable as an electrical tape to bundle cable, as well as to weatherproof, insulate, and seal all types of electrical connections. This tape is also ideal to have on hand for emergency repairs, including using it to stop leaking pipes, repair a car radiator, O-ring seals, or even serve as a temporary fan belt. For that matter, this tape makes an excellent addition to a medical emergency supply kit where it can be used to make a splint or to secure dressing to a wound.