Did you know super glue’s original use dates back to World War II? In 1942, scientists at Eastman Kodak were trying to produce clear plastic for precisions gun sights for the military when they developed cyanoacrylates. Researchers initially discarded cyanoacrylates because they permanently stuck to everything, but inventor Dr. Harry Coover took out a patent for super glue after realizing the value of cyanoacrylates’ adhesive power. He began selling super glue with Loctite in 1958. During the Vietnam War, one use for super glue was to staunch bleeding wounds, which saved many lives.
You can use super glue to bond most common materials. But you should choose a different adhesive for cotton, wool, and items you intend on placing in your oven, dishwasher, or microwave, unless you use a product like Loctite Super Glue Ultra Liquid Control, which is dishwasher safe. Keep in mind, though, that super glue is not food safe.
When selecting your super glue, you need to consider two fundamental factors: the applicator and the formula.
These adhesives come with a variety of special applicators. Some bottles are designed for precise gluing, while other products like Loctite Super Glue Longneck Bottle feature precision tips for drip-free, controlled application for your super glue use. Pen and brush applicators are also available, as demonstrated by Loctite Super Glue Precision Pen and Loctite Super Glue Brush On.
Super glues are normally gels and liquids that are formulated for use over different amounts of time. For example, Loctite Super Glue Liquid Professional and similar products are suitable for super glue uses requiring extreme strength and fast dry times, while Loctite Super Glue Extra Time Control gives you more time to position your parts and ensure precision bonding. Liquid formulas generally penetrate cracks and breaks better, but gels create more flexible bonds and drip less. That makes them better suited to precision and vertical super glue uses.
The steps you’ll take when using super glue will vary depending on your product and your project. The following instructions are good guidelines, but always read your product’s instructions before proceeding, because cure times, application amounts, and opening procedures differ for each adhesive.
Get your tools together. Keep tissue paper at hand when using super glue.
Prepare your work area and surfaces. Work in a well-ventilated, protected area when using super glue. The surfaces to be bonded must fit closely, be dry and free of contaminants. Lightly roughen smooth surfaces for best results. Pre-fit the parts you want to join.
Apply your product. Open the bottle and apply the adhesive sparingly to one surface as stated in the product information. Press the surfaces to be bonded together immediately and hold them in place until the bond sets. Do not reposition parts when using super glue. Clean excess adhesive with tissue paper and replace the cap so it seals off the bottle.
Clean-up. After you clean up the adhesive, wet any tissue used for wiping off glue with water and dispose of it. To clean up larger quantities of uncured adhesive, apply water, let it cure, and then carefully scrape up the water and the adhesive. You can also remove it with acetone or boiling water. Since acetone may damage some materials and is flammable, test it before using it on your project. Wash your hands when you are finished.