You shouldn’t use general-purpose tape on wires. Wires carry electricity. When exposed to electricity, general-purpose tape may melt or ignite. For wires and other electrical applications, there’s no better choice than electrical tape.
What Is Electrical Tape?
Electrical tape is a type of self-adhesive tape that’s designed to insulate wires and materials that conduct electricity. They are typically made of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) backing and an adhesive. The adhesive is applied to one side of the PVC backing. You can use electrical tape by wrapping the adhesive side around a wire.
When comparing it to regular tape, you may notice that electrical tape is stretchy. You can pull and stretch electrical tape. The stretchy properties of electrical tape can be attributed to its PVC backing. PVC is flexible, and electrical tape shares a similar level of flexibility because of its PVC backing. Regular tape, on the other hand, is typically rigid. You can’t pull and bend regular tape without breaking it.
Not surprisingly, electrical tape offers greater electrical resistance than regular tape. Electricity can damage regular tape. As electricity flows through a wire, the regular tape with which it’s used may succumb to damage. Electrical tape was designed specifically to solve this problem. There are different varieties of electrical tape, but they all offer excellent electrical resistance.
Electrical tape offers greater resistance to heat as well. Some varieties can withstand 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat, of course, is a byproduct of electricity. Electric currents generate heat. As electricity travels through a wire, the wire will heat up. And any regular tape wrapped around the heat may melt or ignite. Electrical tape offers a safer alternative to regular tape, though. It can withstand the heat of electric currents without melting or igniting.
Don’t let its stretchy properties fool you into thinking it’s weak; electrical tape is actually stronger than most other types of tape. It doesn’t rip or tear easily. With its PVC backing, electrical tape is stretchy yet also strong.
Another way in which electrical tape stands out from regular tape is ultraviolet (UV) resistance. It offers protection from UV light. In the past, most types of electrical tape were white. You can still find white electrical tape available for sale, but black has since become the primary color in which it’s made. Unlike white electrical tape, black electrical tape offers excellent resistance to UV light.