How Long Will It Stick? Understanding the Lifespan of Hook and Loop
Hook and loop closures are easy to use, safe, and discreet, but they don't last forever. Every type of hook and loop closure has a lifespan, or cycle life, after which it will no longer be able to stick as well as it used to. At this point, it will need to be replaced.
While there are ways to maintain hook and loop fasteners to get the most life out of them, how long a given hook and loop closure will last is largely determined by its grip strength. The grip strength depends on the hook size, style and density, as well as the loop style.
Hook products with high profiles, like the MVA8, are capable of supporting more weight. Unfortunately, this means the cycle life will be shorter. Low profile molded plastic hooks, like the VELCRO® Brand ULTRA-MATE® hook, are designed to provide the longest cycle life, but may not provide the strongest hold. The standard industrial strength hook that is used for most applications is an ideal combination of strength and cycle life, providing around 14 lbs. per square inch of closure shear strength, while also allowing for a cycle life of 20,000+ operations.
The standard industrial strength loop is used with the standard hook and the high profile hooks, but the low profile hooks are best used in combination with the low profile knit loops. These combinations provide great shear strength but low peel strength, making them ideal for high operations, but for low strength applications.
For example, hook and loop fasteners for clothing need to withstand a lot of re-use, but also need to provide a strong bond. That is why the standard hook and loop is often used on clothing, since it provides 20,000+ cycles
while still offering a strong enough bond to prevent the hold from breaking. On the other hand, hook and loop fasteners for automotive or industrial use are often intended to create a permanent bond. In attaching a car's seat trim covers, the strength is more important than the cycle life, so the MVA8 provides the added strength required while sacrificing the added cycle life of a standard fastener.
The hook and loop style is important for the lifespan of the fasteners, but picking the right category of fastener is important too. Sew-on closures are best for clothing and other fabric applications, rubber adhesive backed hook and loop tape is best for most basic indoor applications, but automotive and industrial applications are usually best suited with the high-strength acrylic adhesive backed hook and loop tape. These ensure that the fastener remains in place long enough for its entire working life.
It might be tempting to always go for the strongest closure possible, but most applications require striking the right balance between strength and durability. Check out the videos we have on our resources page to learn a little more about the different factors involved in selecting the right fastener for you.