- Electrical tape
Electrical tape is a type of
pressure-sensitive tapeused to insulate electrical wires and other material that conduct electricity. Itcan be made of many plastics, but vinylis most popular; it stretches well and gives an effective and long lasting insulation.
A wide variety of electrical tapes are available; some for highly specialized purposes.
Electricians generally use only black tape for insulation purposes. The other colors (and black) are used to indicate the voltage level and phase of the wire. (In fact, the colored tape is referred to as "phasing tape".) This is done on large wire which is available only in black insulation. When wires are phased, a ring of tape is placed on each end near the termination so that the purpose of the wire is obvious. The following table describes this usage (Applies to earth only).
The tape is usually available in
hardware stores. The fact that it isoften more UV-resistant than other tapes and itsability to stretch has led to a wide range of uses beyond insulation.
Not all black vinyl tape is safe for electrical usage, some are not even labeled as electrical tape. UL listed tape is certified to not catch fire and burn when overheated, meanwhile non-UL listed tape may contribute or start a fire and burn like a petroleum product.
Electrical tape is sometimes also used to secure lighting cables to the truss in
stagecraft, and is commonly known as LX tape for this reason, particularly in the UK. It is also used to join fuses in fireworkrigging, to provide both mechanical strength and short-term waterproofing and is sometimes used for the marking out of set and stage space whilst in rehearsal spaces.
Electrical tape is often used by locks in rugby to tape back their ears. This is to prevent abrasion from causing cuts or problems like
cauliflower ear. Australian rules footballplayers will sometimes wear arm bands around their mid bicepsand triceps, typically of electrical tape, in honour. Black arm bands are typically worn in memorial to someone related to the player or their club who recently died.
Electrical tape is also used by youths in cricket playing nations to wrap around
tennis ballsto make them look and/or act or like cricket balls.
Electrical tape is also used by athletes who participate in sports that require shinguards, as a method to keep them from slipping.
Marching percussionists use electrical tape to wrap their sticks. The purpose is twofold: the first being the increased durability and the second being increased visibility against marching uniforms, making stick movement and uniformity more obvious.
People involved in colorguard use electrical tape to tape their flags, rifles, and sabres
Many martial arts schools use electrical tape, sometimes in different colors, to mark intermediate stages between belts.
Before the introduction of mass produced
roller hockeypucks, certain brands of electrical tape were used as a puck substitute given that traditional ice hockey pucks are poorly suited for use on concrete and asphalt. Scotch 88 tape, in particular, was commonly used even in organized leagues during the 1990s.
The fact that electrical tape is stretchy, easily torn by hand, can be written on, and generally removes from smooth surfaces cleanly makes it useful for a number of other applications, including color coding, labeling and temporarily taping objects together.
Electrical tape is torn by grasping it between the pointer fingers and thumbs of both hands with thumbs touching. Pulling the hands apart stretches the tape until it breaks (about 4 inches.) When used to temporarily hold together a bundle of wires (or other objects), a tail is preferred for easy removal. After wrapping the bundle, twisting the roll several times so the tape wraps around itself then pulling away from the bundle creates the tail.
As a quick fix, electrical tape can be used as quite an efficient temporary
bandage. This can be said about any other tapes as well.
Israeli soldiers commonly use electrical tape (called "isolierband" in Hebrew and originated in German) to perform quick fixes and to "upgrade" their equipment. In effect, "isolierband" is used in the IDF as a substitute for
duct tapedue to its small roll size and common black color.
Some people use electrical tape to replace the stickers on their
Rubik's Cubes, because of the durability and the convenient colors.
Electrical tape is also a very un conventional, functional yet aesthetically pleasing art material, used infrequently in sculpture installation and graphic design.
In the Irish sport of Hurling electrical tape is wrapped around certain parts of the hurl to hold grips in place, act as grips, and to hold the hurl together in case of cracks or splinters. In Camogie it is required to wrap the band of the hurl to protect other players. Electrical tape is used as it's strong, waterproof and easy to apply.
Often it is used in the goth/industrial community as a means to cover nipples when attending nightclubs.
In the early 1940s, vinyl plastic emerged as a highly versatile material for a wide range of applications, from shower curtains to cable insulation. Making it work for tape, however, was a different story.
A major ingredient in vinyl film was
tricresyl phosphate(TCP), which was used as a plasticizer. Unfortunately, TCP tended to migrate, giving the surface of the vinyl film an oily quality and degrading every tape adhesive known. Research chemists and engineers at 3Mset out to create a dependable, pressure-sensitive tape made of vinyl film that would have the required electrical, physical and chemical properties.
Experiments were conducted combining new plasticizers with the white, flour-like vinyl resin. Finally, in January 1946, inventors Snell, Oace, and Eastwood of 3M applied for a patent for a vinyl electrical tape with a plasticizer system and non-sulfur-based rubber adhesive that were compatible. The first commercially available version of the tape was sold for use as a wire-harness wrapping. Interestingly, this original black tape wasn't black at all. Tapes formulated for high-temperature were yellow, and later versions were white. White tape, because of its instability in ultraviolet light, was eventually replaced with black tape, although colored vinyl tapes are still used as identification and marking tapes. Black became the standard industry color for vinyl standard tape, primarily because of its ultraviolet resistance. Thicknesses originally were 4-mil, 8-mil and 12-mil caliper. These were standardized to 7-mil and 10-mil in 1948.
* [http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebserver?66666UuZjcFSLXTtMxMy58&aEVuQEcuZgVs6EVs6E666666--] Electrical Taping Skills: A Lost Art?
* [http://www.eham.net/articles/5067] Electrical Tape Tips by KØFF
ASTMD1000 - Test methods for electrical tapes
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