​TapeScape-Sticky Science

We had a wonderfully sticky, totally awesome summer with TapeScape-Sticky Science as our special exhibition! So, now what? Where does 75 miles of packing tape go? Let us show you how TapeScape will live on!

Great Lakes Science Center encourages the true spirit of what it means to be a "maker" while being conscious of the world around us. We are excited to incorporate a large percentage of the TapeScape structure into our program materials for Great Science Academy. It is our hope that working with such an unfamiliar material will inspire and ignite curiosity in our GSA students. They will deconstruct, shape, bend and ultimately transform the previously used packing tape into structures that will have continued use. Will it be benches located around the museum? Art featured in our entrance? Or will it serve an even bigger purpose in the Cleveland community? Only the GSA students can tell us, and we can't wait to show you the end results!

The remaining portion of the TapeScape structure will be processed by a local Cleveland-area company, Chemtron Corporation. They will sustainably dispose of it and divert this waste stream from any sort of landfill. The packing tape will first be custom blended with other materials to create a solid fuel source that qualifies for their "waste to energy" program. This new material (along with our packing tape) will generate BTU (British thermal unit) value as it burns, in turn, creating steam for use in generators. These generators then produce electricity that is sent into the local power grid! Through this program, Chemtron helps avoid 250 tons of greenhouse gases, generates 137,500 kWH of renewable energy, powers 143 homes and replaces 63 tons of coal every month. 


TapeScape-Sticky Science is an exhibition unlike any the Science Center has presented before! Everyone is familiar with the unmistakable shrrrrrrrriiiippp sound that tape makes as it’s coming off the roll, but there’s more to this everyday material than you ever imagined!


If your summer has not yet included a visit to this unique, hands-on experience, you are in luck! TapeScape-Sticky Science is open through September 3, and access is included with general admission to the Science Center. Buy your family’s tickets online here and save!

But what exactly is a TapeScape? It’s nearly 75 miles of regular ol’ household packing tape stretched, layered and engineered into a two-level, 1,300-square-foot, all-ages playground strong enough for kids and adults to climb on and explore! That’s enough tape to stretch from downtown Cleveland all the way to Youngstown!

TapeScape designer Eric Lennartson, of Minnesota, harnesses the tensile strength of tape – or its ability to stretch under stress – to design unique, multisensory installations, or TapeScapes. He’s built these structures around the world, from Australia to Dubai, but the Science Center’s is the largest one yet, and his first in Ohio!

Surrounding the actual TapeScape structure are multiple hands-on exhibits exploring “Sticky Science” from adhesives to polymers and even examples of adhesion in nature. Using everything from Velcro to Oreo cookie models, and suction cups to bristle blocks, guests discover the physical and chemical processes that contribute to “stickiness” by:


  • Using a pinscreen to investigate how geckos cling to glass.
  • Exploring the ways science draws inspiration from nature through biomimicry.
  • Turning a device to compare viscosity levels in different liquids.
  • Looking through a polariscope to view rainbows of stress in clear tape’s backing, and assembling a puzzle that appears clear to the naked eye.
  • Observing the way Velcro hooks mimic plant burrs, and learning how science looks to nature for innovative solutions to everyday problems.
  • Pulling apart Oreo cookie models to learn about adhesion versus cohesion.
  • Discovering how sticky tape can turn frosted glass clear.
  • Getting creative at a maker’s station that invites guests to get their hands on more than 11 miles of duct tape in a range of colors and designs.