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How Does Hook and Loop Work?

The main idea behind how hook and loop fasteners work is relatively simple. Imagine two strips of material, with one strip holding hundreds of tiny hooks and the other hundreds of tiny loops. When the two sides are pressed together, the hooks meet with the loops and create a fastened bond which won’t be broken without some force or pressure.
The purpose of the hook and loop fastening solution is to be able to unfasten and disengage the hooks from the loops simply, and without damaging either surface area of the two strips. With hook and loop fasteners, you are able to easily separate the loops from the hooks when peeling back one section from the other. This is generally designed to be easiest at around 180 degrees.
However, the true strength of the bond is determined by how easy it is to disengage the hooks when both sides are pulled sideways simultaneously in opposite directions (shear) or when pulled in opposite directions vertically (tension). It’s easy to imagine the friction between both sides through this interaction being the best test of the fastened bond.

How to choose the best hook and loop for your application

Hook and loop is an extremely versatile fastening solution that is used in virtually every industry, from textiles to medical equipment. Determining the best hook and loop solution for your requirements depends on a number of factors, the most common of which include the following.

  • Application – Consider the application of the fastener and how it will be applied. Will it be sewn on, glued or welded? This determines not only what the material should be but also what backing should be used.
  • Environment – There are different hook and loop solutions for both indoor and outdoor applications due to various environmental conditions the hook and loop fastener could be exposed to. Another important consideration is whether the end product is likely to be exposed to high temperatures. For example, a standard hook and loop fastener using synthetic nylon can melt or deform when exposed to high heat, causing the bond to significantly weaken. Metallic fasteners can withstand much higher temperatures and are a much better fit when heat resistance is required.
  • End use – What will the fastener ultimately be used for? There are endless uses for hook and loop fasteners and their versatility make them ideal in so many ways. The end use will determine what materials should be used, the backing of the fastener and how strong it needs to be to ensure that it is fit for purpose over a long period of time.
  • Usage – How many times is the fastener going to be opened and closed? A shoe for example could be used multiple times a day, meaning that a low strength solution (one loop engaging with every three loops) that can withstand multiple uses will be required. A hook and loop fastener used to prevent carpets from sliding in cars will be exposed to far less use, so a high strength (almost all hooks link with almost all loops) solution would be better. 
  • Strength – How strong should the hook and loop bond be? As an example, you wouldn’t need a coat pocket to be of high strength since the user would need to apply too much force to open it, but a fastener that holds up a large banner would need to be considerably stronger. 
With so many factors to determine the best hook and loop solution for your requirements, we would highly recommend that you speak to one of the hook and loop specialists at HALCO.
We’re happy to answer all enquiries and help you to make the best decision for your industrial application.

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