How to Bond to Plastics


Plastics have become an integral part of everyday life and are essential to the future of manufacturing. They are an inexpensive, leak proof, durable, rust proof and easy to carry material, providing high performance at a lower cost. With more and more people using plastics within manufacturing, the need for an easy bonding solution is increasing. However, due to plastics being a low surface energy (LSE) substrate, they are difficult to attach or bond to. Therefore, developing a solution to bond to LSE's is essential. With this in mind, 3M have recently released its newest solution for bonding to plastics, the 3M VHB Tape LSE Series.

Why are plastics so hard to bond?
The main reason plastics are hard to bond to is due to their surface energy. Adhesion is very dependent on absorption, the adhesive must be able to 'wet out' the surface. 'Wetting out' relies on the the adhesives ability to spread across the surface, low surface energy substrates, such as plastic, are likely to resist being wetted by an adhesive due to their surface energy. Surface energy is the excess energy that exists at the surface of a solid, this excess is due to molecules at the surface being unable to interact with many like neighbours, therefore meaning there is excess interaction energy. Because of this substrates with a high surface energy will have a stronger bond than those with a medium or low surface energy.

What is 3M's VHB Tape LSE Series?

The 3M VHB Tape LSE Series performs differently from any other tape. It is a double-sided acrylic foam tape developed specifically for LSE substrates such as polypropylene, thermoplastic elastomers and thermoplastic olefins. This eliminates the need for a primer or promoter but still creates a long-lasting, high strength bond. 


3M's VHB LSE tape allows you to do more with plastics, removing the need for distinct visible fasteners like screws and bolts. Screws and bolts create stress points which can result in plastic cracking, premature failings and unsightly surfaces. Therefore this VHB LSE tape allows you to create breakthrough designs while providing strength and quality.


In addition to many LSE materials, 3M's VHB Tape LSE series can also join a variety of high and medium surface energy materials. Providing resilient bonding solutions in just about anything you can think up.


The industry's top manufacturers are using plastics and smooth surfaces to reinvent their design and rise above the competition in assembly, performance and appearance. Thanks to 3M's VHB Tape LSE Series, now you can too.

What are the benefits of 3M's VHB Tape LSE Series?

3M VHB Tape LSE Series benefits vs Adhesives:

  • Immediate handling strength for faster assembly
  • No messy bond lines
  • No crazing or cracking of substrates
  • Ability to pre-tape parts
  • Reduced waste from open/unused containers
3M VHB Tape LSE Series benefits vs Ultrasonic welding:

  • Bond non-compatible materials or delicate substrates
  • Overcome challenging part geometry 
  • No incremental investments in horns and fixtures 
  • Removes post-welding finishing/tooling steps
  • Highly trained labour force not required
  • Tape allows for safer application 
3M VHB Tape LSE Series benefits vs Mechanical fasteners:

  • Bond dissimilar materials or delicate substrates
  • Clean aesthetics
  • Reduce bulk of final assembly
  • Seals out water
  • Decreases assembly time
  • Tape allows for safer application

Commercial and Consumer Applications

3M's VHB Tape LSE Series can be used for a variety of indoor and outdoor, commercial and consumer applications. 

  • Building components: signage, lighting, windows, decor
  • Transportation: trucking, buses, campers, RVs, light rail
  • Appliances: brand placards, internal components, small appliances, kitchen/cleaning tools
  • Consumer goods: bottles, toys, games, decor, gifts, rubbish bins, organisation
  • Consumer household plastic products: network hubs, washing machines, cameras, thermostats
  • Medical: output devices, scanners, accessories 
  • Outdoor power equipment: brand placards, instrumental panels, decoration
  • Signs and displays: illuminated signs, restaurants, hotel, retail

Keep your eyes peeled for more information on 3M's VHB Tape LSE Series and look out for new products on the website at or if you can't wait, get in touch at .