As seen in this image below, the cuff checklists have Kapton tape wrapped around their edges. What is the reason for this?

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  • $\begingroup$ No idea ... but I DO know that this kind of tape is fairly easy to pull off stuff, doesn't tear easy, doesn't leave residue behind, and is transparent (enough) to read through. $\endgroup$ – Steve May 15 '17 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Going to guess that maybe it is to prevent fiber liberation from edges of the paper? Or maybe to stiffen the edges to make it easier for gloved hands to grab them? I'll ask some EVA folks and report back. $\endgroup$ – Tristan Nov 21 '19 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Kapton tape is the go-to sticky tape used on ISS for anything where some non-specific tape is needed. Considering ~$10k/kg of anything going to the orbit, more expensive alternatives to common options (like duct tape) are common. It offers very good performance per unit of mass comparing to alternatives. Also, common 'scotch tape' which could be an alternative has a bizarre property of emitting pretty strong x-ray radiation when peeled/unrolled in vacuum. $\endgroup$ – SF. Jan 2 at 19:12

Got an authoritative answer from a coworker who supports the EVA team:

It is because the cuff checklists are actually separate parts. There's the actual flipbook on the wrist, which has rigid pages and the binding that handles the flip, but it's blank.

For each EVA, the crew prints the cuff checklist content on plain old paper using the printer on the ISS, then tapes each printed page to a flipbook page. Kapton tape is used, in large part, because it's what they have available, and it works decently well for the job.

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  • $\begingroup$ Additionally Kapton tape is just generally a tape that is compatible with vacuum and high/low temperatures. It doesn't outgas. $\endgroup$ – ikrase Jan 2 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @ikrase Atomic Oxygen eats Kapton's lunch, though. For the short exposure durations involved here, however, that doesn't matter much. You just won't see it left outside unless it's protected with something like silicone. $\endgroup$ – Tristan Jan 2 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect it's a lot better than many other common forms of tape, though. $\endgroup$ – ikrase Jan 2 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ seems to me that a few paperclips would be just as functional, but less mass to ship up there $\endgroup$ – Innovine Jan 3 at 1:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Innovine My guess is that paper clips could too easily come loose, esp. when pages are turned by a hand made clumsy by EVA gloves. $\endgroup$ – Wayne Conrad Jan 3 at 2:27

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