A Brief History of Crazy Glue

At the turn of the 20th century, super glue was listed as one of the top inventions next to the remote control and microwave ovens. Super glue's strength has been the story of legends and tales about its usage gone wrong. To get the maximum strength from crazy glue, a person should bond metal to metal. Discovered in 1942, the invention was intended to help make gun sights for war. Problems soon arose with crazy glue sticking to everything, so researchers set aside development until the 1950s when the product picked up steam in the commercial market.

How Strong Is Super Glue?

Crazy glue consists of a material called cyanoacrylate, which is an acrylic resin intended to bond strongly to almost anything instantaneously. This chemical reaction called anionic polymerization involves the acrylic resin reacting to the hydroxl ions from water, and because small traces of water can be found on almost every surface known to man, crazy glue bonds tightly to most objects. The water triggers the cyanoacrylate molecules to link and form a chain. They spin around and form a super-strong plastic mesh, and this only stops after the glue has become thick and hardened. After that point, the molecular chains can no longer move.

The Secret of Crazy Glue

Believe it or not, scientists originally thought cyanoacrylate was useless because it was too sticky. It wasn't until the early 1950s that the concept took real form and started to achieve popularity in the mainstream market. Crazy glue's first logo actually came from a radio show contest where they proved the glue could hold a hanging car from a crane. The radio station had heard that crazy glue had a powerful bond, and they decided to test how powerful it truly was with a visit to the local junkyard.

Crazy Glue: The Two Forces at Work

This glue has two main forces called mechanical bonding and the van der Waals forces. When talking about mechanical bonding, the liquid glue seeps into the crevices and cracks of the object's surface. That is one of the reasons cyanoacrylate bonds so well with the skin. A human's skin has many tiny crevices, and it is full of water. As a result, the glue seeps in deep and hardens. Next, there is the van der Waals force, which refers to the attraction found between the molecules of the glue. Cyanoacrylate hardens and cures almost instantly, and even trace levels of humidity in the air can cause a hardening of the glue. A dirty surface should first be cleaned because the glue will bond to the dirt and have a weakened effect. 

How to Free a Person From Crazy Glue

Anionic polymerization dries up the water and creates a strong bond, but be warned, the process generates heat and can even burn the skin. Accidental gluing of the fingers or other body parts should be handled with utmost the care. A golden rule of thumb is to never force anything apart. Forced separation can lead to tearing of the skin. To start, remove the excessive glue. Scrape off the glue, but do not place fabric near the glue because the cloth can trigger another chemical reaction that has the potential to burn the skin. During the process, the hands should be soaked in warm soapy water, and a person will then pull their fingers apart with a dull tool. Never open a crazy glue cap with your mouth. Loosening this glue from the lips is difficult, and it could even require medical attention as one woman in New Zealand found out.

The bonding of cyanoacrylate happens so fast and is so strong that it can hold over a ton in weight for each square inch. In some cases, doctors have used cyanoacrylate's bonding ability to close wounds instead of stitches. Mixing crazy glue with a different alcohol, the substance loses some of its toxic properties to be used more safely on the skin. Another important note: Individuals can remove crazy glue using fingernail polish remover, also known as acetone. Be cautious, however, because acetone can also remove other things in the process. Fine surfaces like on a wood dining table can be stripped of its wood stain.

How to Make A Bottle Last for Maximum Strength

Crazy glue will last the longest when it has been stored upright in a dry and cool place. This could be a fridge or even a freezer, but it's recommended to separate the adhesives in a silicate bag or salt in a storage container so that it stays dry and does not mix with the foods.

Why Does Super Glue Not Bond To The Tube?

This works because the glues have been specifically designed not to work until after it has left the tube. This can be achieved through multiple means with different types of crazy glue. For example, some dissolve in chemicals called solvents, which keep them stable while inside the bottle. Once they have been squeezed out of the bottle, the solvents will evaporate and let the adhesive do its job. Plastic modeling glue also functions in this way. As the glue gets squeezed out of the bottle, individuals will usually sense a strong smell of acetone as it is evaporating. Ever wondered why glue has no smelled after it has dried? It is because all the solvent has evaporated into the air.

Not Everything Is Known

Truth be told, not everything is actually known about how the glue sticks to the surface. Researchers have a basic concept about the forces involved and the chemical reaction that takes place, but understanding it for specific glues has not been fully learned. There are many different types of crazy glues outside the household glue. As stated before, there is glue to hold stitches together, called 2-octyl. These compound classes will be less irritating to the skin. Cyanoacrylates have also been used to create some of the fillings found in dentistry.

The Rise of The Adhesives Industry

Today, the adhesives industry has become an $11 billion dollar industry, and economists forecast that by the year 2020, the glue industry will reach a yearly turnover of $50 billion dollars. This strong glue has been used in a variety of industries, and paleontologists now use crazy glue for the organization and rearrangement of fragile fossils. In general, it is normally recommended people build up the volume of the glue through several thin layers over applying a large volume in a single sitting because thick layers have less effectiveness.