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issue: June 2004 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Pressure - Sensitive Adhesives

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The new MACBond(R) IB Series from MACtac(R) Technical Products’ (Stow, OH, U.S.) is said to offer flexible adhesive systems for a wide variety of demanding bonding or laminating applications, particularly cellular telephones.

MACtac's IB 2348 PSAs reportedly exhibit good "wet - out", a measure of how well an adhesive is able to flow uniformly over the substrate surface. The bond serves as a complete barrier against dust, moisture, or other particles.

The IB-2438 pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are said to be ideal for wireless communications that must meet cold-drop requirements. A cold-drop test illustrates the durability of components when they are subjected to stress, such as a 5-ft fall onto a hard floor surface at -10°C (14°F). To ensure the MACbond series would withstand cold-drop requirements, the series was reformulated.

The company was previously offering a standard acrylic-based adhesive that provided good high-temperature performance and adhesion, but only typical low-temperature properties. The new reformulated acrylic adhesive, however, has more flexibility at low temperatures and more aggressive adhesion—while still maintaining elevated-temperature resistance consistent with the need of the application, says Robert Frazier, an engineer and market manager for MACtac Technical Products.

“In electronics designs, PSAs offer several advantages compared to liquid and mechanical fasteners,” Mr. Frazier explains. “PSAs may be fabricated to a specific configuration and inserted directly into the unit through die-cutting and other converting processes.”

This enables an engineer to focus on designing a fastener for the application rather than adjusting the design to fit the fastener, he says, adding that when compared to liquid adhesives, PSAs such as those in the IB Series minimize production cycle time because there is no need to worry about curing time or dispensing equipment.

Another feature that reportedly makes the new adhesives ideal for wireless applications is that they are supplied on a black carrier (Blackbond) for opaque block out, which is required in many electronic applications. The opaque properties hide printing imperfections, Mr. Frazier says.

The IB Series tapes are also double-coated, allowing both adhesive sides to be customized. “For example, you can have a permanent rubber-based adhesive on one side and a temporary, acrylic-based adhesive on the other,” Mr. Frazier notes. “Two-side coated tapes may also be laminated to low-density substrates, such as foams and other gasketing or sound-deadening materials.” The carrier also provides die-cut part stability so it can be handled without stretching or distortion, as high points of stress can lead to stress cracking or product failure, he adds.

For example, surface imperfections and flatness issues can occur during the molding process of a cell phone housing and clear lens that protects the liquid crystal display (LCD) of the device. The adhesive product must be able to compensate for the flaws, Mr. Frazier explains. “It may require a thick adhesive on one or both sides to maximize the contact with both surfaces,” he says. “MACbond constructions allow tailoring of each adhesive side to deal with these and other bonding issues. It actually creates a seal between the faceplate and housing. The bond serves as a complete barrier against dust, moisture, and other particles.”


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