Electrical tape is a type of adhesive designed to work electrical conduits that is specially made with materials that do not conduct electricity. It is, for example, used to insulate electrical wire and used to secure lighting cables, among other things. Sometimes the materials from which electrical tape is made are plastics, but typically they are of a vinyl origin, as vinyl is stretchable, easy to tear and long lasting. This type of vinyl tape was originally developed in the mid-nineteen forties by inventors working for 3M, a tape supplier that was and continues to be prosperous. Today, because of its usefulness, electrical tape is used not only by electricians, but also by homeowners, athletes and musicians. Homeowners often use it for DIY projects around the house; athletes typically use it to mark indoor courts, and musicians often use electrical tape to do things like wrap their drumsticks for grip and comfort.
Typically, electrical tapes are black in color, because black is resistant to ultraviolet light, but electrical tapes of other colors have their place as well. Namely, many electricians use different colored electrical tapes to help them differentiate between various phases of wires and voltage levels. This practice is so common that some colors of electrical tapes have come to indicate certain things almost universally. Green tape, for example, is used on earth ground wires, while brown tape has come to represent high voltage, phase A wires. Conversely, blue tape is understood to represent low voltage, phase C wires.
To adhere electrical tape to exposed wires, users must carefully wrap the roll around the wire so that the tape comes off the roll and goes onto the wire smoothly and without sticking to itself. To keep the tape on the wire as they wrap it, users should also apply light tension. Also, the tape must be wrapped in such a way that there are no gaps where moisture can get in or the wire itself can be exposed to people. Finally, the tape must be wrapped tightly, but not so tightly that it stretches too far, as over-stretching will cause it to change shape and loosen. Once applied, electrical tape can stay in place for many years without becoming weak, but it can still be removed easily without leaving any adhesive on the wire.
Upon occasion, electrical tapes are alternatively referred to as friction tape or insulating tape. In addition, if they are made out of plastic, electrical tapes are also sometimes known as PVC electrical insulation tape. It is important that electrical tape shoppers do not get PVC electrical tape confused with PTFE tape. PTFE tapes are used to color code pipes in the same way that electrical tapes are used to color code wires. This similarity could give way to DIY-style homeowners purchasing PTFE tapes when they should be purchasing electrical tapes. Interested parties should note that electrical tapes, while they can serve similar purposes as PTFE tapes, are distinct from them. In particular, PTFE tapes, which are often used to highlight areas on the floor, exhibit particularly high levels of abrasion resistance, whereas electrical tapes are smooth, and they can leave residue behind when they are removed. Mixing these two up could lead to problems, down the line when a homeowner or electrician goes to strip the wires of this tape, such as adhesive residue on the wires.
Those who are shopping for electrical tapes have many options. As noted, electrical tapes are available in different colors and varying compositions. In addition to that, they can have different backing thicknesses, different total thicknesses, different dielectric strengths, different tensile strengths, different widths, different backing materials, different adhesive types, different lengths, different levels of storage stability and more. In addition, if an electrician or other user so chooses, he or she can also wrap exposed wires in foil tape for additional protection. No matter their exact material composition, their color, their thicknesses, their width or their strengths, all electrical tapes, as a rule, are UL certified to not catch fire or burn if overheated. This provides a guarantee that the tape is safe to use with exposed wire. For the most comprehensive information and advice, discuss your specifications with an experienced electrical tape supplier. Begin your journey by scrolling to the top of this page and browsing the websites of the many excellent tape suppliers with whom we partner. Any of one them will be able to guide you in the right direction and provide you with the best tape for your application.
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Electrical Tapes – Carolina Tape & Supply Corporation
Electrical Tapes – Spectape of Wisconsin
Electrical Tapes – SpecialtyTapes.com
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Electrical Tapes – SpecialtyTapes.com
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