High surface energy means a strong molecular attraction, while low surface energy means weaker attractive forces. … As with water, adhesive on a high surface energy surface flows and “wets out” the surface; wetting out is necessary to form a strong bond.

High Surface Energy substrates are easy to bond. Examples of High Surface Energy are:

  1. Aluminium
  2. Copper
  3. Zinc
  4. Steel
  5. Polycarbonate
  6. ABS
  7. PVC

Examples of Low Surface Energy are:

  1. Rubber
  2. Silicone
  3. Teflon
  4. Polyethylene
  5. Polypropylene
  6. Powder coatings

An important note here is that the presence of surface contaminants can interrupt the bond between the adhesive and the substrate. It is important to have a clean, dry surface free from contaminants.

In most of the cases, a good scrub with a 50:50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water will do the job. The alcohol will dissolve light grease and water will get rid of dirt and dust. Always make sure the surface is absolutely dry before applying the adhesive tape.