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popular science fair projects
Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 2 hours for observation
Material availability:
Easily found at a hardware store
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This science fair project was conducted to compare the adhesive strength of different types of adhesive tapes on a smooth surface. The tests were done with the use of a steel plate and cellophane tape, duct tape, scotch tape, electrical tape and masking tape.


The duct tape is the stickiest, and will require the greatest amount of force to pull it off the steel surface.


Adhesive tapes

There are many types of adhesive tapes available for us to choose from. They are available in many sizes and colors. Adhesive tapes can also be transparent, colored, single side, double sided or in the form of adhesive foam strips.  Depending on the application for which they are intended,these tapes are made of different types of materials and adhesives. Some of the common types of tapes are cellophane tape, duct tape, scotch tape, electrical tape and masking tape.

Duct tape is one of the most versatile tapes and they can be used for many applications like holding carpets in place, repairing hoses, binding books and even holding together parts of a broken window. They are normally used in places where long-lasting, flexible and strong adhesive is required.

Electrical tape is normally used in homes or automobiles to insulate electrical wiring. In homes, they are normally used for installing electrical fixtures such as lights and fans. Their purpose is to insulate wire joints and terminate exposed live wires to prevent short circuits or electrocution in case someone accidentally touches the exposed wire.

The most common type of tape found in all homes is the transparent scotch tape and the cellophane tape. These are multipurpose tapes and they are used to gift-wrap presents, stick paper together and to seal plastic bags.

Scientific Terms

Adhesive tape, cellophane tape, duct tape, scotch tape, electrical tape, masking tape


The materials required for this science fair project:

-    A roll of cellophane tape
-    A roll of duct tape
-    A roll of scotch tape
-    A roll of electrical tape
-    A roll of masking tape
-    2 chairs or stools
-    A metal steel plate (approximately 50mm x 500mm x 5mm)
-    5 pieces of string, each approximately 500mm long
-    Weights – 50grams x 2 pieces, 100grams x 10 pieces, 1kg x 3 pieces
-    A ruler


1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is the type of adhesive tape used i.e. cellophane tape, duct tape, scotch tape, electrical tape and masking tape. The dependent variable is the adhesive strength of the tape. This is determined by hanging weights at the end of a piece of string, which is held in place on a steel plate by the tape. It is then observed as to how long it takes for the adhesion of the tape to give way. The constants (control variables) are the size of the tape, the steel surface, the room temperature and the type of weights used.

2.    Place the 2 stools about 400mm apart. Clean the surface of the metal steel plate . It is then placed onto the 2 stools.

3.    Cut a piece of cellophane tape about 200mm long. Take a piece of string and stick the middle of the string to the bottom center of the steel plate using the cellophane tape. The surface of cellophane tape is pressed down so that it is properly adhered to the surface of the steel plate.

4.    A knot is tied at one end of the string and weights are gradually added to the end of the string until the adhesion of the tape gives way and the weights drop onto the floor. The amount of weight required to counter the adhesiveness of the tape is calculated and the results are recorded in the table below.

5.    Procedures 2, 3 and 4 are repeated with the duct tape, scotch tape, electrical tape and masking tape. The results are recorded in the table below.


It is observed that the duct tape was the strongest among the 5 type of tapes tested.

Type of tape Cellophane Duct tape Scotch tape Electrical tape Masking tape
Weight (grams) 650 1950 450 300 800

The graph below represents the results of our science project experiment.

Adhesive Tapes Science Fair Project


The hypothesis that the duct tape will require the greatest amount of force to be pulled off the steel surface, is correct.

Duct tape was initially developed in 1942 during World War II to seal ammunition cases. It was made with rubber based adhesive for water resistance. Fabric was included in the tape to give it strength. These properties made it useful in making quick repairs of firearms, vehicles and even airplanes.

Also consider

Repeat the experiment with various other brands of the same types of tape. Observe if there is any difference.

Try to repeat the science fair project using double sided tape.

The experiment can also be done to see the effect of a wet or oily surface on the adhesive strength of the different types of tape.


Different types of adhesive tape and what is it used for -

Types of adhesive tape and what is it used for -