How Does Scotch Tape Work? 💦

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

Morning Scotch!


Scotch tape, Durd.

We’re talking about Scotch tape.

Thank you.


I know I’ve been using this stuff for years and all…

And just taking its stickiness for granted…

And then peeling it off something…

And taking its stickiness for granted again

So how does tape even…work?

Let’s imagine you need to wrap a gift:

Woah woah woah, hang on!

Take us back in:

See, sticky tape is viscoelastic.

Basically it’s a solid AND a liquid.

To illustrate this, let’s go ~molecular~:

When you apply pressure to tape, it flows like a liquid filling up any cracks or gaps in the thing you’re sticking it to.

In this case, microscopic bumps in the gift wrap:

And once you get molecules this close, the adhesive and the gift wrap form Van der Waals bonds.

Basically they bond like tiny magnets where the positive side of one molecule is attracted to the negative side of another molecule.

So when you remove pressure:

The liquid viscoelastic tape returns to a solid!

The tape’s grip is locked in!

Now you can just rip it off and apply it again.

Unless…dust and gunk filled those microscopic bumps.

Stay Cute,
Henry & Dylan 🌈

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