Tapes can be an integral part of a flight assembly or be used as a temporary aid during the assembly of parts.
In existing satellites,
adhesive tapes are used mainly in the thermal-control subsystems. They function either as thermal-control surfaces themselves or are used in assembling thermal blankets. They can also be used in electrical insulators. Such tapes can be used extensively during qualification tests as a means of attaching sensors and temporary wiring to the spacecraft. Adhesive tapes are easy to handle, can be cut to size and used to make patterns. They can be removed easily after temporary use. Some conductive
adhesive tapes are used for electrical grounding.
The backing of adhesive tapes can be made from polyester, polyimide, polyolefin, fluorinated polymers, fibreglass cloth, metal sheet, metallized (aluminized, gold-plated) polymers and pigmented polymers.
Most common tapes have a "pressure-sensitive" adhesive based on rubber-like polymers containing a number of additives (e.g. tackifiers and plasticisers), and the composition is normally proprietary. Basic rubber-like polymers used
are, for example, natural rubber, acrylates, acrylic rubbers, silicones and butyl.
Adhesive tapes are sold in rolls of different widths with or without anintermediate liner. Some can be heat or solvent activated. Thermosetting adhesive tapes also exist. Transfer tapes (2 adhesive sides), supported or unsupported, find extensive use in the bonding of metallized films.