Duct Tape Lousy for Ducts

In the close of an article singing the praises of duct tape , we learn the terrible secret.

Of course, for all its versatility, perhaps the most interesting thing about duct tape is also the most ironic: It’s lousy for use on ducts.

In 1998, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicists Max Sherman and Lain Walker tested a variety of sealing materials on sheet metal ducting, then heated and cooled the ducts to simulate the aging process. They soon found that duct tape leaked air so badly much of the cooling and heating was wasted — and that the tape frequently shrunk, dried up or separated.

“It failed reliably and often quite catastrophically,” says Sherman. “And nothing else except duct tape failed.”

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One Response to “Duct Tape Lousy for Ducts”

  1. Not so surprising, since most adhesives don’t seem to hold up that well under the broad range of temperature conditions that ducts are exposed to. I wonder if we have more durable adhesives to do the job now?

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