Electrical Taping Skills : A Lost Art? Some 3M Scotch Taping Tips...

By Chris Dodds on 6th May, 2015

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Electrical Taping Skills : A Lost Art? Some 3M Scotch Taping Tips...

3M Scotch Electrical Tapes

Once upon a time, 3M introduced a vinyl electrical tape. That was in 1946 and at the time 3M revolutionised the role of electrical tapes for maintenance and repair jobs.

Since then the use of conventional electrical tapes has declined as modern product advances, such as 3M Cold Shrink Tubes, have replaced traditional taped solutions. Electricians are unlikely to consider "old-school" taping skills to be an important element in the engineers skill-set of today.

However, there are several good reasons to master the craft. When quick on the spot repairs are required and other products are simply not available, 3M Scotch Electrical Tapes can be real "day-savers".

Today 3M Electrical Tapes still offer long-term performance, excellent adhesion, chemical resistance and temperature performance - a smooth unwind from the roll can provide "quick-fix" and simple solutions to electrical insulation tasks.

The primary 3M Scotch tapes used in electrical applications are vinyl, rubber, mastic, and corrosion protection.

The function of moisture-sealing tapes such as vinyl, rubber, and mastic products is to exclude moisture from the insulation assembly and provide electrical insulation. One of these tapes — or alternatively a 3M mastic pad — generally forms the second layer of the insulation assembly. Rubber, mastic, and filler tapes are also used to pad the underlying surface by covering sharp edges.


3M Rubber Tapes are generally non-adhesive and are either equipped with a liner (Scotch 23) or are3M Scotch 23 Tape linerless (Scotch 130C). Stretched and overlapped layers will fuse or bond together to form an effective electrical insulation and moisture barrier. For low-voltage (1000V or less) applications, rubber tapes should be stretched during wrapping so that tape width is reduced to approximately 75%.

For high voltage (HV) and medium voltage (MV) applications — where the electrical stresses are high (e.g. connector areas, lug areas and cable shield cut-back areas) — tape should be stretched just short of its breaking point.

3M Vinyl Tape forms the final outer layer and serves several important functions in addition to electrical3M Scotch 88 Tape insulation, including abrasion protection, corrosion resistance, UV resistance and protection from chemicals including alkalis and acids.

Conformable vinyl tape is tougher than the softer, stickier surfaces of rubber, mastic, and putty tapes it protects. Several grades of vinyl electrical tape are available — all of which differ in conformability, ease of unwinding, resistance of the adhesive to heat and cold, and loosening (flagging).

PVC tape emerged when 3M scientist Don Douglas dropped a rubber band on a hot plate-and the electrical world has not been the same since : 

3M Scotch Electrical Tapes

While general-use vinyl tapes are appropriate for bundling, wire pulling and other ancillary tasks, Scotch 3M Scotch 35 Tape35 premium-grade vinyl tape is the best choice for permanent insulation work as it handles the broadest range of environmental factors and functions, such as chemical resistance.

The combination of elastic backing and aggressive adhesive provides moisture-tight electrical and mechanical protection with minimum bulk. For cold weather applications down to - 18°C, Scotch 88 tape is recommended.


3M Scotch Tapes - PVC, Mastic, Self Amalgamating Tapes TEST

Electricians should use a minimum of two half-lapped layers of 3M vinyl tape to insulate and jacket low-voltage cables and electrical components. A half-lap consists of overlaying each turn by one-half the width of the tape. The general rule of thumb calls for a tape thickness of 1.5 times the thickness of existing wire or cable insulation.

In every case, tension on the tape should be sufficient to conform the 3M Scotch tape evenly to the surface. A slight reduction in tension is encouraged for the final wrap. Trim the tape end and allow it to return to shape before pressing down with the thumb to avoid lifting or flagging.

3M Scotch Electrical Tapes

YouTube Video Playlist : 3M Scotch Electrical Tapes 

Further Reading:

3M Scotch 27 Glass Cloth Tape

3M Scotch 88 Vinyl Plastic Electrical Tape



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3M Electrical Tapes - Ranges & Applications Brochure

Category:  3M Scotch Tapes

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