The Guide to Electrically Conductive Tape | Types & Applications

The Guide to Electrically Conductive Tape | Types & Applications

Electrically conductive adhesive tape conducts electricity on either just the back or on both sides. Conductive tapes are useful in connecting electronic parts, where the pieces need to be held together without sacrificing conductivity. Another popular use is in linking materials together for grounding or to attach an electromagnetic interference shield. Conductive tape can be preferable to other fastening methods because it is flexible, easy to apply, and can withstand vibrations or high temperatures.

This post discusses how electrically conductive tape works, why it is important, and the different types of tape. 

​​Types of Conductive Tapes

Conductive tapes can have conductive adhesive or non-conductive adhesive. Tapes with conductive adhesive are able to conduct on the adhesive side and the non-adhesive side. To make the adhesive conductive, metals such as silver, copper, or nickel are mixed in with the sticky tape polymers—allowing electrical flow. The amount and size of these conductive particles impact the adhesive’s electrical resistance; more particles lead to higher conductivity. Tapes lacking these components can only conduct on their non-adhesive side.

Additionally, conductive tapes can be either Isotropic or Anisotropic. Isotropic tapes are conductive in all three directions, and Anisotropic tapes conduct in only one direction, or on one axis. Anisotropic tapes are often referred to as “Z-axis” tapes.

The non-adhesive side’s material impacts the tape’s properties. Below are some common metal foil tapes and their relative qualities.

Aluminum Foil Tape

Aluminum foil tape is great for a wide range of tasks, due to its conductivity and durability. It is a popular choice for the aerospace or machine industry because of its toughness, but it is also naturally sticky and flexible—making it easy to apply to diverse surfaces. Common uses include covering wires and EMI shielding for motors, antennas, and more. It is best for shielding high radio waves. Lamart’s 892L aluminum foil tape has conductive adhesive, making it highly effective for shielding.

Our 213 tape, as well, is especially effective for reflecting heat. For example, it works well for spreading heat on flexible heaters due to its thermal conductivity. It is also a great vapor or moisture barrier.

Lamart's Electrically Conductive Tape Solutions Subtitle: Trusted Products for Industry Applications

Copper Foil Tape

Copper provides conductivity while offering strong chemical resistance. Copper foil tapes are often used in shielding, such as for communication cables that are exposed to the weather. Copper is capable of blocking radio and magnetic waves. Lamart offers the 777-LE copper shielding tape, which includes an acrylic conductive adhesive for z-axis electrical flow. This tape is useful for attachments where the electrical charge must move through the tape as well as across it. For the non-conductive tape variety, Lamart supplies copper foil tapes without conductive adhesives. Those foil tapes can only conduct along their copper side.

Lead Foil Tape

This tape is thermally and electrically conductive, but its functions are different. For example, Lamart’s 243-L tape is ideal for sealing radioactive canisters or acting as a radiation barrier. Lead tapes are also useful to block moisture, have a strong UV resistance, and are very conformable to surfaces.

EMI Shielding

EMI, or electromagnetic interference, shielding is essential for technology to perform. These technologies include digital flight control systems and radar signals in aircraft, GPS and electric windows in vehicles, and many others. When electromagnetic energy from a source outside the technology comes into contact with the system, it can severely compromise its function. In a flying plane, the pilot could lose contact with the control tower or struggle to use digital flight control systems. EMI could damage a vehicle’s components. In general, any electronic is susceptible to EMI from another electronic, rendering it vulnerable. Electrically conductive tape, or electrically conductive adhesive transfer tape (ECTT), is a convenient solution for protecting against EMI.

Common EMI Shielding Applications

Final Thoughts

Electrical conductive tape has many uses and is essential in protecting technology for the automotive and aerospace industries. Tapes are easy to apply, cost-effective, and durable for extreme environments. Are you looking for high-quality tape? Shop the complete Lamart selection here, or contact our team today!

Craig Hirsh

chirsh@lamartcorp.com
Craig is a third-generation owner of Lamart Corporation with over ten years of experience developing custom-designed products to meet customer specifications and expectations.