Super glue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, is a powerful and fast-acting adhesive used to bond a wide range of materials. The manufacturing process of super glue involves the selection of raw materials, chemical synthesis, formulation, and packaging. Here’s an overview of how super glue is typically made, the materials involved, the manufacturing process, and a brief history.
1. Cyanoacrylate Monomers: The primary component of super glue is cyanoacrylate monomers, such as ethyl cyanoacrylate or methyl cyanoacrylate. These monomers are liquid and highly reactive, allowing for fast bonding when exposed to moisture.
1. Chemical Synthesis: The cyanoacrylate monomers used in super glue are synthesized through a process called esterification. This involves reacting cyanoacrylic acid with an alcohol, such as ethanol or methanol, in the presence of a catalyst. This reaction forms the cyanoacrylate monomer, which is a liquid with strong adhesive properties.
2. Formulation: The cyanoacrylate monomer is formulated by adding stabilizers, thickeners, and other additives to improve the adhesive properties and shelf life of the product. Stabilizers help prevent premature polymerization of the monomer, while thickeners give the glue a gel-like consistency for easy application.
3. Packaging: The formulated super glue is then packaged in small tubes or bottles with precision applicators. The packaging is designed to prevent exposure to moisture and air, which can cause premature curing of the glue.
The development of super glue dates back to the 1940s when cyanoacrylate was first discovered by researchers working on transparent plastics for gun sights during World War II. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the adhesive properties of cyanoacrylate were recognized.
In 1951, Dr. Harry Coover, a chemist at Eastman Kodak, rediscovered cyanoacrylate’s adhesive properties while working on a heat-resistant material. Coover recognized its potential as an adhesive but initially faced challenges in controlling the polymerization process, as the glue would bond almost instantly upon exposure to moisture.
After refining the formulation and finding ways to control the curing process, Coover and his team introduced cyanoacrylate adhesive to the market in the late 1950s under the brand name “Eastman 910.” The adhesive gained popularity for its fast bonding capabilities and strong adhesion to various materials.
Since then, super glue has become widely used in various applications, including household repairs, crafts, industrial assembly, and medical applications. It provides quick and reliable bonding for a wide range of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and more.
It’s important to note that super glue should be used with caution, as it can bond skin and other unintended surfaces together. Proper safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and avoiding contact with eyes or mouth, should be followed when working with super glue.