World’s Most Powerful Glue
Glues, or adhesives, have always been based on such natural products as horse hoofs and plant dextrans, (gums). These glues left much to be desired and in many cases were replaced by purely chemical materials like epoxies. These, however, require the use of two components, mixing etc. and are in many ways messy and inconvenient.
Eastman Chemical Company some years ago synthesized a simple chemical called Methyl-alpha-Cyanoacrylate. This colorless liquid belongs to a class of organic chemicals called acrylate or acrylic monomers.
Workers with this material were expecting to convert it into a polymer (like fiberglass) by reacting it with a catalyst. They were surprised to find, however, that it was very reactive and polymerized very readily in the presence of a little oxygen.
This polymer proved to be an extremely effective adhesive, so powerful that it could bind together almost any two materials (such as wood, leather, glass, metal etc.) The adhesive could be stored in tubes as the monomer and drops could be placed anywhere to polymerize and leave a very tough bond.
Because the final adhesive is a polymer, the bond formed is extremely though. Single drops of the monomer have been able to support the weight of elephants. The glue is so powerful that care has to be taken to avoid getting any between the fingers, as it is almost impossible to get them apart. This material comes under many tradenames, including Eastman 410.