The Chemistry of Duct Tape


    • I decided to do the Chemistry of Duct Tape and what makes up the composition of Duct Tape
    • I chose Duct Tape as my subject because I thought it would be interesting to find out what exactly makes Duct Tape Duct Tape, and how it has changed over the years or if it has changed at all
  • My life is affected by Duct Tape because I use it all the time, if it's to fixing a broken broom stick or even to patch a hole in my ski pants

Composition of ...

    • Adhesive
      • The adhesive is the sticky belly side of the tape
    • Duct backing
      • The duct backing is the thin waterproof backing
    • powdered aluminum mixed into the low density polyethylene (LDPE)
    • Cotton Mesh
    • This makes up the base of duct tape

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


Adhesive is the main part of what makes duct tape sticky. It is formulated with rubber compounds that give a stronger and more of a long term bond. What makes duct tape stronger than other tapes is its much thicker coating of adhesive applied to the substrate.

Polyethylene coating

Polyethylene coating is another important part of duct tape because this is made to protect the adhesive part of the tape by making the back of the tape a plastic waterproof. This coating is very flexible allowing the tape to stick better to irregular places.

Chemistry's Role

Adhesive- The chemical formula of adhesive is (C4H6O2)n.

Polyethylene coating- The chemical formula of polyethylene is ( C2H4)n.

Background Research

Duct tape is basically a waterproof cloth that has a very sticky adhesive resin on one side of the tape. It was primarily designed for air ducts, but the public started using it for much more than just air ducts. It has been used for almost everything, from a household repair tool to fixing a wheel fender for NASA Apollo 17. Duct tape has been dating back to world war 2 in the 1940s. The military found many uses for it. One of the earliest applications for it was to simply keep the ammunition boxes together and because of this, soldiers called it "gun tape". Also it was used to cover gun ports for WWII planes to cut down on friction with take off. In the war a lot of products were colored a darker green, well that went for duck tape as well until after the war, then it became the generic duct tape we see today that is a silver color.


This website tells me how duct was first made and when it was used first.

Also it has history about who invented it.

This site is about how Duct Tape is made in factories today and it also has all the components that make it up and background info.

This site is all about the woman the thought of the idea of Duct Tape.

This site talked about how adhesive works.

It shows what Duct Tape made of.

About the Author

Charles Reeves is a young and talented student attending Billings Senior High. He enjoys learning about chemistry, hanging out with friends, and doing almost anything outdoors. He is on the soccer team in the fall, skies in the winter, and he is on the track and field team doing high jump and pole vault in the spring. Charles is wanting to go to MSU Bozeman to study architecture.