Considering the current (and unwelcome) dip in temperature we’re experiencing, the term “extreme heat” is starting to have a very attractive ring to it. A nice, toasty day in the sun sounds pretty good right about now, and I don’t think I’d even mind the sunblock and sweat factors involved (for once). Bring it on!
But if I were, say, a hose or cable in an engine bay, the mention of “extreme heat” would probably be enough to send a chill up my spine (if cables and hoses can even be said to have those). That’s because while heat sounds great to winter-striken humans, it’s a much scarier prospect to automotive components, which tend to break down when exposed to too much of the hot stuff.
Engine bay temps, particularly in highly-specialized work and military vehicles, tend to soar way above what makes us melt contentedly on beach vacations. I’m talking hundreds of degrees – and depending on the environments they’re used in, sometimes more. More than a little of that, and plastic and rubber parts start to dry out, crack and crumble. It’s pretty much a death sentence for the vital components under the hood… so how do you get around that?
Thermo-Shield Tape ought to do the trick. Made up of a fiberglass-aluminum composite and backed with a seriously heat-resistant adhesive, this stuff is able to deflect as much as 90% of radiant heat away from the critical components it’s wrapped around. It’s quite the multitasker, considering that it not only finagles its way around parts that can’t be disconnected, but can also be used to terminate heat shrink and braided sleeving in a very professional and heat-tolerant manner. And did I mention that Thermo-Shield is stable up to 2000°F? If that isn’t enough for you, there’s also a double-thick version… that should put your mind at ease.
Filed under: Adhesives, Raceway, Duct and Conduit
They say that a conduit run is only as strong as its adhesive. Okay, well, maybe they don’t say that, but it’s true! Pretty much anything out there is only as strong as it’s weakest point, and when it comes to conduit, that would be the joint (or joints) where separate pieces of conduit are spliced together.
I may be getting a little too basic here, but the main point of conduit, its raison d’etre, is to protect cables and wiring. That’s it. Sure, it helps get them from one place to the next, but the real deal is the way it serves as armor against water, chemicals, and sharp things. If the bad stuff finds even one weak spot in the conduit where it can weasel its way in, the whole game’s up. Conduit itself, when not severely abused, is more than up to the task of sealing out water and corrosive agents, but the adhesive and fittings that join conduit runs have to be pretty good to keep up. Here’s one adhesive that can really hold its own.
Meet the cleverly-named BonDuit® Conduit Adhesive by American Polywater. It’s an accomplished multitasker that plays very nicely with PE, PVC, metal and composite conduits, and, when properly applied, creates a completely airtight, watertight joint to keep cables safe. The cured product also has a very high tensile strength, so it can stand up to quite a bit of bad weather and abuse without budging.
I know what you’re thinking: adhesives with those types of super powers usually come in several parts, and are a pain to mix and apply. Yes, BonDuit is made up of two separate components, but they aren’t frustrating or messy to mix, thanks to the special mixing nozzle applicator that automatically does the job for you. You just pull the applicator trigger, and the nozzle will do all the rest for you, mixing the two components in perfect proportion before laying down a bead of the final product. Not bad at all. To almost quote my favorite kid in the world, it’s “easy peasy… ummmm… adhesive squeezy.”
Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love Velcro™. Ever since I was a shoelace-challenged 4 year old who found out that pressing and ripping was a lot less stressful than lacing and tying, I’ve been hooked. And you’ve gotta love that melodious tearing sound. But I just found out that Velcro goes beyond sneaker fasteners, double-sided tape and cable wraps – these days, it also comes in dots.
Yes, dots. Or spots, little circles, round blobs… whatever you want to call them, these things are cool. They’re basically little rounds of double-sided Velcro™ tape. They come in pairs: one dot of hook (the sharp stuff) to one dot of loop (the softer, fuzzy side). Stick one to a surface (like a wall) and the other to an object that you want to stick onto said surface, then just line up the dots, press, and let go – it’s stuck! Simple, I know, but definitely something to get a kick out of.
Velcro Dots are great for kids’ rooms, dorms, classrooms, even offices – anywhere that you might want to hang things on the walls, but have the flexibility to change them when you feel like it. What’s really great is that they don’t leave holes like nails and tacks do, so there won’t be any spackling for you down the road. They’re also not likely to run out anytime soon – with 200 to a pack, you can connect the dots like it’s going out of style.
I like double-sided tape. Really, I do. But up to now, all I’ve had the guts to use it for is making collages and picture boards. Sure, I know that it’s a good way to hold light duty cord covers down on the floor, but knowing me, I’d give one good unintentional kick, and the whole thing would come loose. Let’s face it – there’s an awful lot of double-sided tape out there that just can’t stand up to a klutz. But I just found one that can.
It’s called Pro 500 Tape, and if that doesn’t sound tough, I don’t know what does. I think it’s an unwritten rule that all things serious and industrial-strength have to have alpha-numeric names, and this one fits the bill. But it’s not just Pro 500′s name that means business – its epically strong adhesive and almost-impossible-to-rip-backing aren’t joking around either.
To put it in a nutshell, this stuff is trade show strength. You can walk/stomp across whatever Pro 500 tape is holding down – be it carpet, a cord cover, or wire duct – and said object will stay in place. This is all thanks to a hyper-aggressive adhesive that achieves 2½ pounds worth of adhesion per square inch, which happens to be coating a woven cotton fabric that takes a quite a bit of trouble to tear. The result? Rock-solid carpet and cord cover tacking that won’t give up and run home after a few clumsies trip over it.
And then there’s that rule of thumb that says if a product is used in aircraft construction, it’s generally pretty sound stuff. Pro 500 tape is both. Suffice it to say, I’d trust it with my cord covers.
Ever wonder why it is that you generally never see people slipping and falling at the beach, or while they’re walking across nice, rough asphalt? Easy: traction. Sand and the rougher forms of concrete/cement are heavily textured (albeit in a low-profile sort of way). Because their surfaces are so varied, they’re able to grab onto the soles of your shoes and create gentle friction as you walk, so it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll go head-over-heels unless you really try to (but why would you even want to do that?).
But things are different as soon as you set foot on smooth surfaces. Because they have a higher polish and are generally far less porous, surfaces like tile, linoleum and sealed concrete allow your feet to almost slide over them, and can become downright dangerous with the addition of water, oil, and other liquids.
Common sense and careful foot placement are usually enough to prevent many slipping accidents from happening, but sometimes they’re just not enough. In environments like warehouses, loading docks, industrial facilities and stages, sometimes you have to just focus on the job at hand, without screening every single step you take. Fast-paced environments in which people are often rushing around while carrying things are in particular need of slip-proofing, and I know just the product for it: Pro-15 Anti-Slip Tape.
Best described as adhesive-backed sandpaper on a roll, Pro-15′s anti-skid tape is made up of abrasive-coated plastic film that’s backed by a super-aggressive adhesive. When you lay strips of this down along spill-prone walkways and the leading edges of stairs, it provides much-needed extra traction that helps to counter the risks of walking with your arms full, or not looking where you’re going. And while it’s not absolutely guaranteed to keep anyone right-side up, it does such a good job that it fits the bill for OSHA’s “slip protection in hazardous work areas” guidelines.
But don’t get the idea that this stuff is only good for workplace safety. If you’re in the habit of regularly puttering around the garage or descending into your basement with armloads of laundry, this may prevent a few painful and embarrassing mishaps. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking about laying down a few pieces on my tough-to-negotiate-by-feel basement steps, because as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.
The DIY’er in me has found yet another life-easing product to love: EZ Stick Drywall Finishing Tape. What initially meets the eye is run-of-the mill drywall tape, but what you really get is drywall tape with a built-in, super-strong adhesive. I know what you’re thinking: why would you need adhesive if you’re just going to slap the tape up between a few coats of joint compound? Well, listen to this – thanks to the adhesive, you don’t actually need mud for the stick-the-tape-to-the-wall step. To be fair, you still need to apply compound afterward, as usual, but think of how much less goo you’d have to handle – about 30% less!
It works like this: you just wet the EZ Stick tape to activate the adhesive, and then smooth it over sheetrock joints. But here’s the fun part: there are two ways of doing this. If you’re working on a smaller drywall job in your home, you can just cut the tape to size and quickly run it through a dish of water to get the adhesive going. Or, if you’re a pro who’s got a lot more ground to cover, you can always make a use of a very cool accessory: the EZ Stick Drywall Tape Applicator.
This applicator straps onto a belt, so it sits right on your hip. What makes it so unique is that it has a self-contained water bath, so as you dispense the amount of tape you need, it’s pulled through the water bath on its way to the wall. Pretty neat, right? It leaves you with not one but two free hands for tape application. Sign me up.
EZ Stick sheetrock tape has a couple of other interesting features, the first of which is that it creates a seams that’s far stronger than what you’d ordinarily achieve with fiberglass mesh drywall tape. And then there’s its central crease, which makes it really easy to create straight, even corner joints.
Late-breaking hot product news flash! I wasn’t planning on blogging today, but a new product came across my desk just a little while ago, and seeing as how its coolness is undeniable, I thought I’d put it right out there. Ever heard of Liquid Electrical Tape?
Gardner Bender’s liquid electrical tape is exactly what it sounds like: a liquid compound that’s applied to wires, and then dries/cures into a flexible, insulative seal that looks and feels remarkably like, well… electrical tape. If you’re wondering what the whole application process involves, there’s not much to tell (but that’s a good thing). Liquid electrical tape comes in the kind of jar that reminds you of the rubber cement you used in elementary school art class. You know, the kind with a screw-on lid that has a built-in brush. Just untwist the cap, and brush that stuff right onto the wire or component in need of insulation. Happily, one rubber cement characteristic that liquid tape does not share is that classic (ahem) ummmm…. snotty (?) consistency (please pardon the indelicacy). Just trying to paint a complete picture.
But I digress. The important thing here is that liquid electrical tape goes on easily and then proceeds to dry really quickly, so you won’t have to do much waiting around before you can finish your project. And if you’re wondering why on earth someone would want to buy a jar of electrical tape when they already have a couple of perfectly good rolls of it in their miscellaneous fix-it drawer, here’s your answer: it’s great for coating awkward shapes that wouldn’t readily take to being wrapped in tape. It’s even good for outdoor use.
There’s no doubt about it: we’ve all been brainwashed to think of Duct Tape as the Great American Fix-All. And to be quite honest, it is. But what about those times when repairs need to be unquestionably watertight, when you want to wrap something up in tape without the chance of someone ever peeling it off? If that situation sounds familiar, I recommend that you free your mind, break away from the Duct Tape cult, and give Turbo Tape® a try instead.
Made of a silicone and rubber compund, Turbo Tape® looks a lot like a big roll of black electrical tape, but it’s very different. While most tapes (as we know them, at least) are made up of fabric, vinyl, or plastic coated with an adhesive on one side, Turbo Tape® is self-bonding, which means that it fuses to itself without the help of adhesives or glues. When you wrap it around hoses, automotive components, or cables, Turbo Tape® creates a watertight seal that starts setting a few minutes after the tape is applied, and cures to a void-free, unbreakable bond within 24 hours. No peeling apart here.
In addition to being water-tight, Turbo Tape® is electrically insulating, and can protect you from electrical shock up to 400 volts. It’s great for protecting components from the wearing and loosening effects of vibration, and can even be used in extreme temperatures (-76°F to 500°F) without expanding, contracting, or cracking.
Remember that old Krazy Glue commercial where they glue a contruction worker’s hard hat to a beam and leave him dangling in midair? The first time a saw Loctite’s Power Grab® , I though of that ad – it’s almost that strong. While it isn’t actually glue (it comes on a roll like tape) and can’t quite keep a 200 lb. helmeted man suspended above a construction site, Loctite® Power Grab® is incredibly strong – each 60-inch roll has the power to hold up to 100 lbs of pretty much anything you can dream up.
Power Grab® is waterproof, resistant to UV rays, and works well within a wide range of temperatures (from -40°F to 248°F), so it’s not limited to indoor use. You can use it inside to hang pictures, coat hangers, and other decorative objects to your walls, and then bring it outdoors to adhere street numbers or address plaques to your home or business, or even mount a door-knocker on your front door. But don’t limit yourself – those are just a few basic ideas.
Not too long ago, a few of my coworkers filmed a demonstration video for Power Grab®, and just to show how strong it really is, they used it to mount a tool box to a wall. But it didn’t end there. Immediately after sticking the tool box to the wall, our spokesmodel proceeded to drop (not gently place, but drop) a variety of heavy tools into the box, and that tool box stayed exactly where it was supposed to. And keep in mind that our demonstration team had been forced, in the interest of time, to forgo the recommended curing period that allows the adhesive to fully set and activate. Now that’s a high-performance tape.