The Whats and Hows of Heat Resistant Aluminium Foil Tape

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Car restorations and rebuilds can be a time-consuming process, and if not done right, basically a waste of money. The aim is to deaden out any vibrations and noise that make their way into the cabin, and lower heat levels from the engine, transmission and exhaust. Like performance upgrades doing things in stages yields the best results. Here there is a careful selection of products that need to be combined just right. 
To mute excessive sounds and vibrations, car builders and carmakers use butyl based rubber absorption layers combined with a top layer of aluminium foil. This can be used on its own, or is combined with a mass vinyl lining for added sound deadening. The combo is durable, water and heat resistant and serves as a base for carpet underlay and carpeting. To seal any leaks and to cover jointed parts, high strength and heat resistant aluminium foil tape works best. There’ll be no exposed pockets that let through vibrations, sound, heat or liquids and put a blemish on the hard work you’ve put in. 

What is Foil Tape? 

aluminium foil tape
source: classiccarrestorationclub.com

Foil tapes are durable, hard-wearing yet malleable tapes with a pressure-sensitive adhesive that sticks to a range of different materials. They’re used in a range of industries and applications where sealing, shielding and resistance against heat, corrosion and abrasions are needed. Tapes can be optioned with different metallic backing that lends them their specific properties, in various thicknesses and gauges, as well as a variety of adhesives. 

Properties of Aluminium Foil Tape

Aluminium foil tapes have several beneficial properties that make them some of the more widely used foil tapes around:

Moisture and Chemical Resistance

This helps seal and protect sensitive surfaces and assemblies. In the realm of car rebuilding and restoration, the aluminium backer repels liquids and condensation buildup, as well as the abrasive action of heated exhaust gases and oils, The car floor will remain cool and spill-free at all times and in all areas where the foil is applied. 

Thermal Conductivity and Heat Reflectivity

With high temperatures in firewalls, floors and the underbody, using heat resistant aluminium foil tape helps dissipate any radiant and conductive heat over a wider area, thus creating comfortable temperatures in the cabin. Combined with the heat resistant aluminium and butyl base layers, the tape nulls any areas where heat can escape. The tape has high heat reflectivity to shield surrounding parts and works well in temperature extremes. Most foils will be rated to last between severe winters and temperatures well below zero, and slightly above the optimal engine temperature ranges, or around 100-110 degrees without enduring damage. 

Flame Resistance

Related to heat performance, aluminium tape serves to contain flames in the event of a fire. The aluminium backing can last up to 260 degrees so shields immediate and surrounding areas from extremely high temperatures. In addition, it is non-toxic and there are no health-related issues with fumes. 

UV resistance

Though for floor rebuilds, UV rays won’t be of significant impact, you can rest assured that any exposed foil won’t fade, degrade, buckle or lose adhesion due to direct sunlight. The foil is highly UV resistant. 

Other Benefits

aluminium foil tape on car door
source: oborudow.ru

Aluminium foil tape is highly flexible, conforming to uneven surfaces and materials making it the ideal choice for heat wrapping exhaust pipes, wires and harnesses. It has high tensile strength, meaning its long-lasting, doesn’t wear, provides sound and vibration deadening purposes and is puncture resistant. This ensures that once applied it works as it should. 

Adhesives

Automotive aluminium tape has an acrylic adhesive that can be either conductive or non-conductive. The adhesive requires no specific treatment of the surface as the tape sticks well, has a good peel and shear strength and reaches maximum adhesion as soon as it’s applied. 

Sizes and Thicknesses

Aluminium foils are sold in varying lengths, though more important is the overall thickness of the backing and width. The backing thickness will affect performance and outright strength in higher temperatures and performance foils tend to be thicker than general-purpose aluminium foil tape. They’ll also bear more stretching when applied due to higher elongation breaking points. 

Uses of Aluminium Foil tape

aluminium foil tape
source: tesa.com

The primary use of heat resistant aluminium foil tape in car rebuilds is to ensure that joints between individual heat shield layers are tightly sealed and covered. This can fill gaps and edges in a range of heat and vibration resistant materials. The tape is easy to peel and apply, sticks almost instantaneously, and conforms to the contours of the surface. 
But this is not where the versatility ends. Aluminium foil tape is also widely used in HVAC applications and where creating air-tight seals in ductwork is crucial. Being UV and weather resistant means it can also be used for outdoor units. The high-temperature ranges allow it to function perfectly well here. Similar tape, with aluminium backing, is used for refrigeration purposes. 
Aluminium tape can also be used for other car rebuilding applications, like insulation for wire, looms, and general sealing, shielding and jointing tasks. Outside of the automotive industry, you’ll find it useful for electrical and white goods insulation as well as general maintenance in the aerospace and aviation sectors.