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Cyanoacrylate "Instant Dry" Adhesives

Cyanoacrylate adhesives, a.k.a. "Super Glue"   (Oh... and how do I get my stuck fingers apart?)

Cyanoacrylate adhesives came into public awareness in the sixties as "SuperGlue... one drop holds a ton!"  How do they work?  I have read a number of articles on the science behind the product, but the only important thing to know is this... they "set" by contact with moisture on the objects to be glued.  In an extremely dry environment, cyanoacrylate will not set.   However, as soon as the product comes into contact with a moist object, the chemical reaction begins and the glue solidifies.

Cyanoacrylate is designed to bond nonporous materials such as plastic, metal, ceramics and glass.

Cyanoacrylate will not stick to some plastics, and is not an acceptable wood glue by any stretch of the imagination!  Cyanoacrylate will also bond skin... not a good thing if you accidentally stick yourself to a doorknob or toilet seat.  The medical community has used cyanoacrylate in place of sutures in some surgical applications, but this is a special formulation.  Over-the-counter cyanoacrylate glue should not be used on the human body.   It contains methyl alcohol, a deadly poison used to "denature" ethyl alcohol.

Setting times vary depending on the thickness of the application and the amount of moisture present.  It is fairly stiff and brittle when dry, so it is not recommended for use where joint movement is anticipated or desired.  Flexible adhesives such as caulks or GOOP are a better choice.

Oh... your stuck fingers?

You can dissolve cyanoacrylate with acetone or acetone-containing nail polish remover.   If you don't have any acetone available, just soak you hand in warm soapy water and gently work the skin back and forth to break the glue bond.  If you try to pull the skin straight apart, you will injure yourself!

To keep it from hardening in the tube... put it on ice!

One common complaint with cyanoacrylate is that it sometimes  hardens in the tube.  The reason is simple... if a tube is left open for too long, the adhesive within becomes activated by the moisture in the air.  One of our readers, DO, offered this suggestion...

"If you keep SuperGlue in the freezer it never dries and the cap is easy to remove… plus the spout never gets clogged with dry glue! It should be stored in an upright position to work."

Another reader OG added,

"I've found that storing them upside down in the freezer keeps the air away from the spout and allows for quick dispensing of the liquid."

Makes sense to me!

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