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Enhance your Glue knowledge

Everything you need to know about super glues

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Super glue is one of the most useful household items. Inevitably, accidents happen – plates fall off the dish rack, mugs get pushed off the table, and vases fall from shelves. But don’t worry – with the right super glue, you can fix them in just a few minutes.

What makes super glue super?

Super glue is super because of its main ingredient, the acrylic resin cyanoacrylate, which forms its strongest bond almost instantly. All it needs in order to set is the hydroxyl ions in water, and since virtually every object you might wish to glue has at least some water on its surface, it can bond to almost any surface in seconds. Super glues are ideal for jobs that need a glue that can withstand high temperatures and moisture. These glues are most commonly used with stone, metal, wood, most plastics, leather, ceramics, paper and many other materials.

A light green vase on a table, broken at the top.
Super glue is the ideal solution for fixing damaged household items.

Where did super glue come from?

Dr. Harry Coover invented super glue in 1942. Coover was part of a team of scientists at Eastman Kodak who were trying to design gun sights for the military. Super glue was discovered by accident after they found that some of their failed attempts had other useful properties. Super glue even saved lives during the Vietnam War, as it was also used to fix open wounds.

How strong is super glue?

Loctite produces the strongest super glue. One square inch bond of super glue can hold weight of over a ton! Loctite’s cyanoacrylate super glue even broke the Guinness World Record for lifting a lorry weighing more than 8 tonnes with just 9 drops.

Super glue is so strong because its main ingredient cyanoacrylate goes through a process of anionic polymerisation when it forms its bonds. Cyanoacrylate is triggered to start bonding by water on the material’s surface. The molecules then start to link and form chains, creating a super-strong plastic mesh. They only stop when the glue hardens, and the molecular chains can no longer move. This process makes the bond unbreakable!

Super glue dry time

Loctite super glues all dry in a matter of seconds. If you only have a minute, then we recommend Loctite’s 60 Second All-Purpose Glue, as it dries in just 60 seconds and can be used to repair leather, rubber, wood, metal, porcelain, paper and plastic. However, for the best possible results, you should leave the glued parts for at least 10 minutes, or 24 hours if you want to be certain.

As super glue dries so fast, finger-sticking can happen. If you tend to get your fingers stuck together or need more time to reposition parts, then use Loctite’s Super Glue Pure Gel. This gel gives you twice the amount of time the standard super glue needs to dry.

The difference between liquid super glue and gel super glue

Generally, super glues come in a formula of either liquids or gels. Loctite offers super glues in both liquids and gels, which you can use for a wide variety of jobs. Liquid super glues like Loctite’s Super Glue Liquid can be applied really easily and are great at getting into cracks. They normally dry faster than gels, but can drip and spill. Some gels, like Loctite’s Super Glue Power Gel, create more flexible bonds than liquids. An additional advantage of the gels is that they don’t drip. This makes gels perfect for any tasks that involve applying glue to vertical surfaces, such as bookcases, shelves or flat-pack furniture.

Using super glue on metal

Super glue is great for gluing most metals. Before applying the glue, though, just make sure to clean all the surfaces with a damp cloth and use a clamp or elastic bands to keep the two surfaces firmly in place while the glue sets.

To fix small metal parts we recommend Loctite’s Super Glue Liquid. This super glue is fast and strong and comes with a range of applicators designed to help you apply it as easily and efficiently as possible. Thanks to its new formula it’s also resistant to shock, water, dishwashers and extreme temperatures from -50°C up to 120°C.

A hand applies Loctite Super Glue from a tube to a broken ceramic candlestick.
Ceramic, plastic, wood or metal – super glue repairs them all.

Using super glue on plastic

Have you broken some plastic furniture, or your child’s favourite toy? Don’t worry – with super glue you can fix it in no time. Loctite’s Super Glue All Plastics is a great choice because it’s a dual-action adhesive specially designed to work on all plastics, including the most difficult ones such as polyethylene and polypropylene. It also forms resilient, invisible bonds in seconds, so no one will ever know that the object was broken in the first place.

It can be difficult to find the best super glue for plastics, but Loctite’s Super Glue All Plastics can bond them all.

Using super glue on glass

Glass can be notoriously tricky to repair, but with Loctite’s Super Glue Glass you can fix glass vases, plates, light fixtures, and even glass items that you want to put into the dishwasher! This super glue forms instant crystal bonds in seconds and is perfect for smaller repair jobs that involve bonding glass to glass and/or glass to metal.

Products used

  • Loctite SuperGlue Glass Packshot

    LOCTITE Glass Bond: Perfect for glass repairs! Bonds glass to glass, metal, stained, and tinted glass. Dries transparent for invisible, strong bonds.

  • Loctite SuperGlue Original 3g tube Packshot

    LOCTITE Superglue: The extremely strong superglue by the Henkel-brand LOCTITE is ideal for smaller repairs in the house or crafting jobs.

  • Loctite SuperGlue PowerGel Tube Packshot

    LOCTITE SuperGlue PowerGel: Versatile adhesive for wood, rubber, and more. Easy application for strong bonds on materials. (Not suitable for PE, PP)

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