Cyanoacrylate adhesives (CAs), also known as superglues, are unique in that they are the only fast curing adhesive that is single component and can cure in ambient conditions with no external energy source. Their unusual properties and quirks mean there are several myths around their use, which may prevent them from being considered in certain industrial and technical applications.
Cyanoacrylate adhesives are a popular choice for both industrial and commercial applications. They cure quickly, offer good throughput, and are suitable for bonding a range of substrates, including metals, plastics, elastomers, ceramics, and porous materials. At the molecular level, they are composed of acrylic monomers stabilised by an acidic stabiliser. Cure is initiated when the stabiliser is neutralised by a weak base, typically surface moisture, resulting in polymerisation into a long chain polymer. CAs may be based on various monomers, but are most commonly formed from ethyl cyanoacrylate (ECA) or methoxyethyl cyanoacrylate (MECA) monomers.
Some of the myths dispelled in the guide include that CAs are brittle, they have a maximum operating temperature of 80˚C, they have poor moisture and solvent resistance, they always cause blooming, they aren’t gap filling, and they have an unpleasant odour. The guide also covers myths related to the dispensing of CAs, such as that they must be dispensed manually.
“While it is possible to walk into your local DIY store and purchase a consumer CA, these are not indicative of the capabilities and performances of all CA materials,” said Ben Swanson, sales manager at Intertronics. “Though CAs have typically come with several compromises, there has been innovation in cyanoacrylate chemistry that means many of these no longer apply.
“There are materials available for everything from medical device assembly to structural aluminium bonding. We hope this guide will give manufacturers who might not typically consider a CA the information they need to consider trialling them in alternative applications,” added Swanson.
For more information on incorporating cyanoacrylate adhesives into your manufacturing operation, read the guide: https://www.intertronics.co.uk/10CAmyths.