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Could Tape Save Homes From Hurricanes?

Tape that can get you out of a sticky situation.

With hurricanes projected to become increasingly stronger, homeowners must take extra precautions to protect their homes from these destructive storms. We visited the National Certified Testing Laboratories to see for ourselves how tape (yes, tape!) may help save homes from hurricanes.  

Houses damaged by Hurricane Ian in Florida along the beach
Houses damaged by Hurricane Ian; Photo Credit: AP Photo

Hurricane Testing 

In order to test the tape’s strength it is used to attach the glass to a door frame, holding the glass into place. The tape is not holding the dead load of the glass but is instead preventing the glass from falling or being pushed out. 

To get the hurricane rating, a series of hurricane simulation tests must be conducted to replicate the high wind gusts, pressures, impacts, and more that door frames and glass undergo in a hurricane. 

Static Pressure Test

Static Pressure Test on 3M VHB™ Tape in a hurricane test
Photo Credit: Tomorrow’s World Today

The static pressure test simulates gusts of wind up to 220 mph on the glass. In the testing center, a wall is pulling a vacuum on a door system up to 120 pounds per square foot of pressure to replicate the wind gusts. The tape remains completely attached to the glass and the panel.

Hurricane Impact Test

Hurricane Impact Test on 3M VHB™ Tape
Photo Credit: Tomorrow’s World Today

The hurricane impact test is performed in accordance with ASTM E1996 “Standard Specification for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors and Storm Shutters Impacted by Windborne Debris in Hurricanes,” which uses the most severe wind zone classification for non-essential buildings. 

To test the impact of windborne debris, an 8-foot-long piece of lumber (2×4) is shot directly into the corner of the glass door at about 50 feet per second. The corner simulates a worst-case scenario. When the lumber is fired, the glass breaks, and there is heavy damage to the panels, frame, and stiffeners. However, the tape holds the glass in the frame and even expands to maintain contact with both dented surfaces. 

Hurricane Pressure Cycling Test

In order to ensure that the tape can uphold even the most damaged glass over time, the Hurricane Pressure Cycling Test uses the same glass that was damaged in the previous hurricane impact test. This test is performed per the ASTM E1886 “Standard Test Method for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors, and Storm Shutters Impacted by Missiles and Exposed to Cyclic Pressure Differentials.”

In this test, pressure is cycled inwards and outwards for a few thousand cycles for about six hours to simulate the hurricane event. The test runs a few thousand cycles at 50 percent of the maximum pressure and is gradually ramped up for a couple of hundred cycles at higher increments. The glass in the windows can be seen pulsing in and out as the pressure changes, but the tape maintains full contact with no loss of adhesion.

Check out surprising things that use tape.

For more information on this special type of tape and to watch all of these tests in action, check out the full episode below. 

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