The quick-bonding super-strong adhesive, Super Glue, can support more than a ton of weight, but keep it off your fingers!
As Louis Pasteur once noted, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” There are numerous examples in science where an unexpected development that appeared inconvenient to one person was greeted as a solution to an entirely different problem by another. Such is the case with cyanoacrylate, commonly known as Super Glue or Instant Krazy Glue®, which was discovered not once, but twice.
The first time cyanoacrylate was discovered was during the World War I by scientists who were working on new plastic compounds with applications for gun sights and jet canopies. The compound, which stuck to everything, was considered to be merely a nuisance. When it was rediscovered in the 1950’s, Dr. Harry Coover recognized the merit of this powerful adhesive, and Super Glue was first marketed in 1958. Dr. Coover was subsequently awarded the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in November 2010 for his work.
In common white glues, such as Elmer’s®, polyvinylacetate latex forms a flexible bond as water evaporates from the original glue. It takes a while for this bond to form, which allows a person to change her mind about the original position of an object; it also requires the two surfaces be held together throughout the drying process. By contrast, Super Glue forms a bond through anionic polymerization. The cyanoacrylate is polymerized through the catalysis of hydroxide ions, which are found in the trace water on nearly all surfaces or in the humidity in the air. The reaction happens almost instantly, and a 1-square-inch bond can hold more than a ton. Caution is appropriate when using Super Glue since there are abundant examples of fingers glued together and other humorous or inconvenient mishaps.