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Accelerated aging studies and environmental stability of prototype tamper tapes

01 May 1995-

AbstractThis report describes the results of accelerated aging experiments (weathering) conducted on prototype tamper tapes bonded to a variety of surface materials. The prototype tamper tapes were based on the patented Confirm{reg_sign} tamper-indicating technology developed and produced by 3M Company. Tamper tapes bonded to surfaces using pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) and four rapid-set adhesives were evaluated. The configurations of the PSA-bonded tamper tapes were 1.27-cm-wide Confirm{reg_sign} 1700 windows with vinyl underlay and 2.54-cm-wide Confirm{reg_sign} 1700 windows with vinyl and polyester underlays. The configurations of the rapid-set adhesive-bonded tamper tapes were 2.54-cm-wide Confirm{reg_sign} (1700, 1500 with and without primer, and 1300) windows with vinyl underlay. Surfaces used for bonding included aluminum, steel, stainless steel, Kevlar{reg_sign}, brass, copper, fiberglass/resin with and without gel coat, polyurethane-painted steel, acrylonitrile:butadiene:styrene plastic, polyester fiberglass board, Lexan polycarbonate, and cedar wood. Weathering conditions included a QUV cabinet (ultraviolet light at 60{degrees}C, condensing humidity at 40{degrees}C), a thermal cycling cabinet (-18{degrees}C to 46{degrees}C), a Weather-O-Meter (Xenon lamp), and exposure outdoors in Daytona Beach, Florida. Environmental aging exposures lasted from 7 weeks to 5 months. After exposure, the tamper tapes were visually examined and tested for transfer resistance. Tamper tapes were also exposed to a variety of chemical liquids (including organic solvents, acids, bases, and oxidizing liquids) to determine chemical resistance and to sand to determine abrasion resistance.

Topics: Ultraviolet light (52%)

Summary (3 min read)


  • Two weathering studies of tamper tapes (5.1 cm by 10.2 cm) with 1.27-cm-wide Confirm@ 1700 windows that used PSA for surface bonding were performed.
  • After weathering, the tamper tapes were visually inspected to determine the effects of the environmental aging conditions.
  • In addition, their tamper-resistance performance was evaluated.

3.1.2 Performance Evaluation

  • The use of heat and extreme cold were also investigated to determine if they aided in the removal of the tamper tapes.
  • These conditions did not make it easier to remove the tamper tapes to any significant extent.

Transfer Evaluation of Weathered Tamuer Taues

  • Tamper tapes exposed to the weathering conditions of the QUV and thermal cycling cabinets were also subjected to transfer resistance/performance evaluation analyses after the exposure time period (a minimum of 7 weeks, up to 1 1 weeks).
  • The QUV results are listed in Table 3 .5. were damaged during the removal attempts using a razor blade.
  • It appeared that the damage was due to the weathering effects.
  • These cracks could be incorrectly perceived as a tampering attempt when interrogated during use in the field.
  • These tamper tapes did not appear to become fragile like the tamper tapes exposed in the QUV cabinet.


  • Since transfer-resistance/performance evaluations of the 1.27-cm-wide Confirm@ window prototype tamper tapes indicated it was likely they could be removed without evidence of tampering, prototype tamper tapes with a larger Confirm@ window were developed and evaluated.
  • Two prototype tamper tapes with 2.54-cm-wide Confirm@ 1700 windows were subjected to environmental aging exposures.
  • One had a polyester underlay and the other a vinyl underlay.

3.2.2 Transfer Resistance

  • After-30 minutes, the tamper tapes could be removed from all four of the surfaces, with damage to the Confirm@ occurring only on the smooth fiberglassboard surface.
  • Comparing the adhesion of the tamper tapes at room temperature 30 minutes after application to those aged for 14 days shows that time improved adhesion on the polyurethane-painted surface, Le., after 14 days adhesive transfer ' occurred or residue was left on the surface.
  • Improved adhesion with age also occurred on the roughened steel surface, as adhesive transfer and adhesive residue were found after removal of the aged tamper tape.
  • No change was observed after aging on the other roughened surface .
  • The PSA is still inadequate as it allows transfer without indication of tampering on some surfaces.

3.2.3 Abrasion Resistance

  • For the bar code area, there was indication that the ink faded more and more after two passes of sand.
  • The ink was sufficiently removed after six passes of sand to prevent the bar code from being read with a reader.
  • The abrasion resistance of the Confirm@ was evaluated over'one of the security emblems in the window area of the tamper tape.
  • After three passes of sand, one-half of the emblem was gone as determined with the security light.
  • The entire emblem was destroyed after five passes of sand.


  • Two weathering studies with tamper tapes bonded to surfaces using the four candidate rapidset adhesives were performed.
  • In the first study, tamper tapes with 2.54-cm-wide windows made of Confirm@ 1700 material were evaluated.
  • In the second study, tamper tapes with 2.54-cm-wide windows made of three alternate Confirm@ materials were evaluated.


  • Each of four candidate reactive, rapid-set adhesives (epoxy 1, epoxy 2, polyurethane, and acrylic) were used to bond the prototype tamper tapes made in the laboratory to six surfaces, i.e., roughened steel, roughened aluminum, cedar wood, polyester fiberglass board, Lexan polycarbonate, and Mil. Spec. polyurethane-painted steel.
  • Approximately 0.7 g of each of the candidate adhesives were applied manually to the tamper tapes using a small brush.
  • The &per tapes were then applied'to the various test surfaces and were allowed to cure for several days.
  • After weathering, the tamper tapes were visually examined by two or three persons to provide information regarding their appearance, the security feature with the 3M security illuminator, and the adhesion of the tamper tapes to the surfaces.

4.1.1 Florida Exposure Results

  • The results of the Daytona Beach, Florida exposure are given in Table 4 .1.
  • The security features in the window area of the tamper tapes bonded w i t h the polyurethane adhesive or the acrylic adhesive were very faded or completely degraded.

4.1.2 QUV Cabinet Exposure Results

  • Epoxy 2 adhesive-bonded tamper tapes had the best overall performance on all surfaces for the 8 weeks of exposure in the QUV cabinet (Table 4 .2).
  • The appearance of the tamper tapes was good, the security feature on all of the tamper tapes remained very visible with only slight fading, and adhesion was excellent.

Lexan epoxy 2

  • A See Table 3 .8 for a description' of the numerical ranking code for assessing tamper tapes.
  • The acrylic-bonded tamper tapes did show slight to moderate fading of their security feature during the exposure period.
  • The tamper tapes displayed excellent adhesion to the surfaces.
  • The appearance of the tamper tapes using the acrylic and epoxy 1 adhesives changed slightly.
  • Overall, the tamper tapes held up very well to thermal cycling.

4.1.4 ControiExposure Results

  • The results for the tamper tapes held under the control exposure conditions (23OC, 50% relative humidity) are given in Table 4 .4.
  • These rapid-set adhesive-bonded tamper tapes showed no change in appearance, adhesion, or security features during the seven weeks of storage.


  • In the second study using rapid-set adhesives, tamper tapes with 2.54-cm-wide Confirm@ windows were made in the laboratory to determine if another 3M Confm@ material might perform better than the 1700 series previously used in all other weathering studies.
  • The tamper tapes were made in the laboratory, as described for the, first study with rapid-set adhesives, by bonding the various Confirm@ materials to vinyl underlay using a 3M Company PSA.
  • They were tested at Daytona Beach, Florida, in the QUV cabinet (ultraviolet light, 60OC; condensing humidity, 4O0C), and in the thermal cycling cabinet (-18°C to 46°C).

4.2.1 Florida Exposure Results

  • Overall, the second best adhesive was epoxy 1.
  • With tamper tapes made with the Confirm@ 1500 products, the epoxy 1. did not do well on the fiberglass or the polyurethanepainted steel surfaces.
  • With the exception of the polyurethane, the adhesives performed better on tamper tapes prepared with the latex Confirm@ than on those using the'Conh@ 1500 materials.

4.2.2. OUV Cabinet Exposure Results

  • A different rapid-set acrylic adhesive was used on this surface compared to the others.
  • Materials, did not attack the latex Confirm@ 1300.
  • An examination of the tamper tapes' security features showed that the most loss in visibility occurred with the acrylic adhesive when tamper tapes were bonded to fiberglass board.
  • Otherwise, there was only a slight or no change in visibility of the security features on tamper tapes bonded with the rapid-set adhesives.

4.2.3 Thermal Cvcling Exuosure Results

  • Changes in temperature from -18°C to 46°C did not appear to affect the security feature or the adhesion of the tamper tapes nearly as much as did the conditions in the QUV cabinet.
  • Overall, the tampertapes held up very well throughout the thermal cycling exposure.
  • With the epoxy 1 adhesive, these effects werk apparent only on the tamper tapes prepared with the Confirm@ 1300 and adhered to aluminum and steel surfaces.
  • The other tamper tapes performed very well.

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Content maybe subject to copyright    Report

PNL- 10562
B. W. Wright
C. W. Wright
R. Bunk*
A. Metz*
E. Pickett*
May 1995
Research and Development (NN-20)
under Contract DE-AC06-76RLO 1830
Pacific Northwest Laboratory
Richland, Washington 99352
Batrelle Columbus Laboratory
Columbus, Ohio

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