The Super Glue trademark engenders an image of a miraculous liquid, a deceptively powerful fluid that can join any material to any other material. Fast to harden and capable of retaining that hold when heavy forces come into play, super glue and its many equally proficient cousins boasts a repertoire of hundreds of applications. Here’s a sample of those applications, of what super glue and adhesives can do when they’re pushed into service.
Adhering Fine-Edged Surfaces
Even the finest fastener in the world is next to useless when irregularly shaped edges are the subject of a fixative experiment. Imagine a broken coffee cup or a porcelain miniature, a once whole figurine that’s fallen to its doom on a hard floor. Strong adhesives can be purchased in very small tubes and pressed lightly to release a thin stream of liquid glue. The two edges of the cup or figurine are carefully coated and then joined until the liquid cures.
Invisible Fabric Design Champions
A needle and thread secure one panel of fabric to the next when you wear a suit or a pair of trousers, but special adhesives have a role in the fashion world. Pasty adhesives fix the soles of shoes in place. They repair leather belts and piece broken spectacles back together.
Metal assemblies use adhesive-bonded joints and adhesive-reinforced plates to strengthen flight-worthy parts without adding the accumulative weight of hundreds of rivets or screws. Meanwhile, wood-based adhesives fasten wooden beams to concrete on a next-generation civil engineering project. They fill uneven gaps in masonry, bonding bricks to metal or concrete to mounting panels. The seal provided is entirely weatherproof and quite capable of bonding non-porous surfaces.
Exotic Adhesive Applications
A search of the internet reveals common applications for super glue and adhesives, but there are practical uses, places that would simply never occur to a structural engineer or an automotive designer. Adhesives are used in the dental field to fix composite crowns in place. They’re the backbone of new medical breakthroughs, biological technologies that use innovative bone-setting super glues to shorten the healing period that typically results from a nasty leg break. The cyanoacrylate formula that forms super glue has even wormed its way into forensics as a fingerprint taking aid thanks to its quick curing capacity.
The fluid versatility of super glue and adhesives easily matches the consistency of the substance, leaving us to wonder what applications wouldn’t benefit from a coating of a substance that’s as strong as any fastener.