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Was Super Glue Invented as a War Weapon?

Discover the War Origins of Super Glue and its Innovative Legacy. Keep Reading!

Was Super Glue Invented as a War Weapon?

Super Glue: Invented for War

What is Super Glue?

Super glue is a type of adhesive that is known for its fast-setting and high-strength properties. This product was first created during World War II and has been a popular choice among individuals, businesses, and industries ever since. Made from a chemical compound called cyanoacrylate, super glue has the ability to rapidly harden when exposed to moisture.

Origins of Super Glue

Super glue was invented in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover Jr. and his team at Eastman Kodak. During that time, they were searching for a clear plastic that could be used as gun sights on the battlefield. However, during their research, they stumbled upon cyanoacrylate, which displayed unique adhesive properties.

Initially, the team dismissed it due to its inability to form a strong bond. It wasn’t until later that Harry Coover Jr. realized its potential as a super glue. In 1951, he patented the formula and took it to market. Since then, super glue has become a household name and is used widely for various purposes including fixing broken items or bonding different surfaces.

Super Glue in War

During World War II, super glue was put to a different use than what it was invented for. Initially, the military used it to close wounds on the battlefield. Given its fast-setting properties, it could seal wounds instantly, preventing blood loss and keeping the patient stable until he/she could be brought for proper medical care. Furthermore, it was also used to fix broken equipment such as weapons, vehicles, and communication devices.

The versatility of super glue came into focus during the war, especially when it was used to seal holes in the fuselage of airplanes. These small holes could prove to be disastrous in aerial combat. However, by applying a small amount of super glue on them, the holes could be sealed instantly, increasing the safety of the pilot and those onboard.

It is safe to say that the invention of super glue had served both military and civilian purposes. Its ability to bond surfaces quickly and securely have made it a trusted and reliable adhesive for various purposes henceforth.

In conclusion, the invention of super glue during World War II has come a long way. From being used to seal wounds and other battlefield applications, this adhesive has become a part of our day-to-day activities. Whether it's bonding plastic, metal, or wood, super glue has become a household name in the field of adhesives.

Super Glue Goes Mainstream

Introduction to the Public

Super glue was originally developed for military use during World War II as a means to quickly treat combat wounds in the field. However, it wasn't until the 1950s that super glue was introduced to the general public as a commercial product called "Eastman 910." This revolutionary adhesive was developed by Dr. Harry Coover and his team of researchers at Eastman Kodak Company. Dr. Coover had initially set out to create a clear plastic gun sight for the military, but he accidentally discovered the strong adhesive properties of cyanoacrylates, a family of compounds known for their bonding ability. In fact, the glue was so strong that it could bond skin together almost instantly, earning it the nickname "liquid stitches."

Popularity and Demand

After its introduction, super glue quickly gained popularity due to its ability to bond almost anything. It became a household staple for quick repairs and DIY projects. Its ability to bond with almost any material, including wood, glass, ceramics, and plastics, made it a valuable tool in the manufacturing industry. Its water-resistant properties also made it an ideal adhesive for outdoor use. The demand for super glue only increased with time, and it soon became apparent that people were finding new and creative uses for the adhesive beyond its original purpose as a quick fix for broken items. For instance, people began using it in arts and crafts projects, as well as for jewelry-making and model-building.

Modern Day Super Glue

Today, super glue is widely available and comes in various forms, including liquid, gel, and spray. It is used in a variety of industries, including automotive, construction, and medical. In the medical field, super glue is used as a substitute for traditional sutures to close small wounds. It is also used to attach electrodes to the skin during medical testing procedures. The automotive industry uses super glue in assembly and repair processes, particularly in bonding rubber and plastic components. Meanwhile, the construction industry uses super glue for a wide range of applications, including bonding materials, sealing leaks, and filling gaps. In addition to its use in industry, super glue has also found its way into the art world. Artists use it to create sculptures, collages, and mixed-media pieces, taking advantage of its ability to bond almost any material. Overall, super glue has come a long way since its inception as a wartime adhesive. Its versatility and strength have made it a valuable tool in a wide range of industries, as well as in our everyday lives.

The Science Behind Super Glue

Super glue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, was invented in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover. He was working for the US army at the time and trying to create a clear plastic gun sight. However, his experiment failed, but he did discover the strong adhesive properties of cyanoacrylate.

Super glue's chemical makeup is a type of acrylic resin. It is a one-part industrial adhesive that polymerizes when it comes into contact with moisture. The polymerization process involves a chemical reaction between the super glue and water molecules, which forms strong and enduring bonds between surfaces. This makes it a perfect adhesive for many industrial and household applications.

How Super Glue Works

As mentioned earlier, super glue bonds with surfaces by reacting with moisture. When the surface is dry, the super glue remains in its liquid form and doesn't bond to anything. However, when super glue comes into contact with any moisture, be it water, sweat or even the gases present in the atmosphere, it starts to polymerize and form a strong bond.

The reaction creates heat, which is why the bonding process occurs so quickly. The heat produced by the reaction causes the surrounding water to vaporize, which can create white smoke. The heat also enhances the strength of the bond by causing the adhesive to melt slightly and penetrate the surface of the material.

The Advantages of Super Glue

Super glue is a versatile adhesive that has many advantages over other types of adhesives.

  • Quick-setting - Super glue sets in seconds, making it ideal for situations where you need to secure something quickly.
  • High-strength - The bonding strength of super glue is incredibly strong and unmatched by any other adhesive.
  • Works on almost any material - Super glue can bond almost any material, including plastics, metals, wood, and ceramics.
  • Heat-resistant - Super glue can withstand high temperatures without losing its bonding ability.
  • Chemical-resistant - Super glue can resist most chemicals, making it an ideal adhesive for industrial applications.
  • Waterproof - Super glue holds up well in water and can be used to repair water-resistant items.

The Limitations of Super Glue

While super glue has many advantages, it also has some limitations that you need to be aware of.

  • Not suitable for all materials - Super glue may not be able to bond certain types of plastics or metals. It is essential to read the label and understand the intended use of the adhesive before use.
  • Difficult to remove - Once super glue has bonded to a surface, it can be difficult to remove. You need a specialized solvent or debonder to remove the adhesive without damaging the surface.
  • Can cause skin irritation - Super glue can cause skin irritation or even chemical burns. It is important to keep the adhesive away from the skin, or you can use gloves to protect your hands from the adhesive.
  • Can create a mess - Super glue is a runny liquid, which means if it drips, it can make a mess that is challenging to clean up.

In summary, super glue is a versatile and powerful adhesive that has changed the way we repair and build things. It works by bonding with moisture and can bond almost any material, making it an excellent choice for both industrial and household applications. However, it does have some limitations, such as its inability to bond certain materials and the difficulty of removing it once it has bonded.

Unconventional Uses of Super Glue

As a Medical Adhesive

In the medical field, time is of the essence, and super glue is a fast-acting adhesive that can quickly seal wounds. This makes it an ideal choice for doctors and surgeons who rely on a quick and easy way to close up incisions or injuries. Super glue is not only fast-acting, but it's also waterproof, which further enhances its value in surgical procedures where controlling blood and fluid loss is crucial.

Super glue is versatile in medical applications, and it can be a critical component of medical procedures beyond surgery. For instance, it can help hold together cracked teeth until a dental appointment is available. When a tooth has been chipped or broken, applying a small amount of super glue can help protect it from further damage until the patient can be seen by a dentist. Super glue has also been used to treat nail bed injuries, cuts inside the mouth, and even as an alternative to stitches in some cases.

For Crime Investigation

It might surprise you, but super glue can play an important role in solving crimes. One of its most unusual uses is in revealing fingerprints on non-porous surfaces. When super glue is heated, it releases fumes that can bond with amino acids found in fingerprints. Once the fumes bond with the print, investigators can use a powder to make the fingerprint visible, ultimately aiding in the gathering of forensic evidence.

Super glue has other crime-solving uses beyond fingerprints. Its adhesive properties make it an excellent medium to secure evidence, like hair or fibers, in place during laboratory analysis. It's also used to repair evidence that has been damaged during a crime, like reconstructing a broken piece of a window or a torn piece of fabric. Super glue is a valuable asset in the crime investigation process as it helps investigators gather and maintain evidence that can be used to build a case against a suspect.

As a Nail Polish Alternative

Some people like to express themselves through their nails, and one way to do that is through nail polish. While nail polish can be fun and colorful, it can also be smelly and messy. For those who prefer a simpler and less fussy approach, super glue can be an alternative to nail polish.

Super glue dries clear and hard, creating a glossy finish that mimics the look of polished nails. Unlike nail polish, which can easily chip or smudge, super glue is long-lasting and won't peel off quickly. Additionally, super glue can be used to add embellishments to nails, like rhinestones or glitter, making it a versatile option for anyone looking to add some sparkle or texture to their nail routine. However, it's essential to take care when using super glue on nails, as it needs to be applied in small amounts to avoid damaging the nail bed.

In Conclusion

Who would have thought that a product originally designed for war would find such diverse and unconventional uses in everyday life? Super glue has come a long way from its military roots and proves its worth as an essential tool in medicine, crime investigation, and even beauty. This fast-acting and versatile adhesive continues to amaze and demonstrate its ubiquitousness in modern society.

The Future of Super Glue

New Developments in Super Glue

Super glue has been a groundbreaking invention created for war purposes. But, it has found many relevant commercial applications, such as jewelry-making and wood-crafting, among others. Scientists are currently researching new formulas of super glue that can bond to even more materials than before. The new formulas have higher tensile strength, enabling them to bond better to glass, metals, and plastics. Moreover, they are working on developing super glue that can withstand high pressure and temperature. These improvements will enable the production of durable and long-lasting adhesives that can be used in extreme environments.As the current super glue formula is hazardous to the environment and people's health, scientists are also working on developing an eco-friendly super glue. This glue would not harm the environment, and its formula would be safe for use around humans. Many research projects are underway to make the super glue formula biodegradable and water-resistant, making it more useful in everyday life.

Potential Applications

One of the notable applications of super glue is in the aerospace industry. Aerospace engineers use super glue to bond metallic and plastic parts of spacecraft, making it a valuable asset in the industry. Super glue can also be used in the military to join vehicle parts and repair minor damages during operations effectively. The strength and durability of the super glue make it suitable for military applications.Moreover, super glue has a vast variety of potential applications in the medical industry. Medical professionals can use super glue to seal or bond skin in surgeries, fracture and bone fixation, and dentistry procedures. Super glue is especially useful in joining skin and tissues, preventing contamination and infections during surgery.The automotive industry also relies heavily on super glue for parts assembly and interior design. Super glue ensures that the materials used in vehicle manufacturing are held together securely, preventing rattling and ensuring noise control.


In conclusion, super glue has come a long way from its creation for war purposes. Its use has expanded to multiple industrial processes, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and scientific research. Its potential for bonding different materials to create strong and long-lasting adhesive joints remains unmatched. As scientists continue to research new and innovative super glue formulas, its applications are expected to increase further. Super glue has truly revolutionized the modern world and is a significant breakthrough in the history of adhesives.

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