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What Secret Military Experiment Led to the Invention of Super Glue?

Discover the Surprising Connection Between Military Experiments and the Invention of Super Glue


How Was Super Glue Invented

Super Glue is a popular adhesive that is used in households, hospitals, industries, and laboratories. It is known for its strong adhesive properties and quick-drying ability. But, have you ever wondered how this invention came into existence? Here's a brief history of how super glue was invented.

Accidental Discovery

The story of super glue goes back to 1942 when Harry Coover was working on developing a clear plastic gun sight for soldiers during World War II. While working on this project, Coover and his team produced a substance named cyanoacrylate, which had strong adhesive properties. However, they initially rejected it because of its stickiness and difficulty in working with it.

Later, in 1951, Coover and his team rediscovered cyanoacrylate by accident while experimenting with acrylate polymers. One of the researchers noticed that the substance stuck to everything it touched and even glued his fingers together. Through this discovery, Coover's team realized the potential for its use in a fast-drying, strong adhesive.

Initial Rejection

After rediscovering cyanoacrylate, the team started developing it as an adhesive. They faced several challenges, one of which was that the adhesive stuck to everything instantly, making it difficult to handle. Another problem was the toxicity of the substance in its liquid form.

As a result, Coover and his team abandoned their experimentation and research, and super glue was not used for industrial or commercial purposes until several years later.

Industrial Use

It was in the late 1950s that super glue started to get re-evaluated by Coover and his team. They recognized the adhesive properties and started developing a formulation with a slower curing time that allowed it to stick without instantly bonding to skin and other materials. In 1958, Coover and his team finally introduced cyanoacrylate to the market under the name "Eastman 910".

Super Glue's adhesive strength and quick-drying nature soon made it a popular choice among industrial manufacturers. It was used in various industries, such as the electronic industry for assembling components, and the automotive industry for securing parts.

Later, the general public started using it as an adhesive, and it became a household name. Nowadays, super glue is used for everything, including repairing broken items, adding grip to surfaces, and even gluing wounds in the medical field.

In conclusion, the story of super glue's invention is an excellent example of accidental discovery. Coover and his team initially rejected the product but later realized its potential in the market. Today, super glue is a beloved household item and an essential tool for industrial and medical professionals alike.

Composition of Super Glue

Super Glue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, is a fast-acting adhesive that can bond almost any surface in seconds. It was first invented in the 1940s and gained popularity in the 1960s due to its effectiveness and ease of use. Super Glue is composed of cyanoacrylate along with other additional compounds that provide stability and longevity.


The main component of Super Glue is the synthetic polymer known as cyanoacrylate. This compound was first discovered during World War II, when scientists were looking for materials that could be used for clear plastic gunsights. In 1942, cyanoacrylate was found to have extraordinary adhesive properties when it was accidentally discovered by Dr Harry Coover, a chemist working for Kodak.

Initially, Coover and his team rejected the adhesive due to its sticky nature, but later realized its potential as an adhesive. However, they faced difficulties in finding a practical way to manufacture it and bring it to market. It wasn't until the 1950s that cyanoacrylate was finally produced and sold commercially.

Super Glue works by reacting with the moisture present on the surface it touches. It forms a strong, permanent bond quickly, which makes it a popular choice among hobbyists, craftsmen, and DIY enthusiasts.

Activators and Stabilizers

Additional compounds are added to cyanoacrylate to create different variations of super glue. These compounds include activators and stabilizers, which enhance its performance and shelf life. Activators speed up the curing time and are used in applications that require an instant bond, whereas stabilizers prevent premature polymerization or hardening of the glue by controlling the amount of moisture that comes in contact with it.

Super glue may also contain additives such as dyes, thickeners, or plasticizers to modify its properties according to different requirements. For instance, plasticizers are added to create flexible super glue that can withstand vibrations and movements, while thickeners are added to create a gap-filling super glue that can fill voids and gaps in materials.


Over the years, several variations of super glue have been developed to cater to different needs. Some variations are designed to have stronger bonding capabilities, while others are created to work on specific materials like metal, plastic, or wood. There are also variations that offer greater resistance to heat, water, and UV light, which makes them suitable for use in different environments.

One notable example of super glue variation is the gel formula, which is more viscous than regular super glue and stays in place instead of running. This is helpful when using the glue on vertical surfaces or when bonding porous materials like wood or fabric. Another common variation is the brush-on applicator, which allows users to easily apply the glue without having to squeeze it out from a tube.

Super Glue has come a long way since its discovery in the 1940s. Today, it continues to be a go-to adhesive for various applications, both at home and in industrial settings. With advancements in chemistry and technology, we can expect to see even more innovative variations of super glue in the future.

The Invention of Super Glue

Super Glue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, was invented in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover, an American chemist working for Eastman Kodak. Dr. Coover was looking for materials to create clear plastic gun sights for the US Army during World War II when he discovered the adhesive properties of cyanoacrylates, a group of fast-reacting, strong adhesives. However, the potential of the chemical was not recognized until years later when Dr. Coover and his team rediscovered it while working on a new heat-resistant jet canopy that required strong adhesive bonds.

While developing the new jet canopy, Coover and his team tested different adhesives but found that cyanoacrylates were too sticky and difficult to handle, causing them to discard it. However, one of Coover's researchers later used the adhesive on his own glue-related accident. He noticed that the adhesive worked fast and produced a strong bond, which sparked Coover's curiosity and resulted in them testing it again.

They found that the adhesive was indeed powerful, bonding with a range of materials including metal, plastic, and wood, and had other unique properties such as being waterproof and resistant to extreme temperatures. In 1958, the first cyanoacrylate-based product was introduced under the name “Eastman 910,” but was not initially successful in the market due to its high price and difficulty in handling.

In the 1960s, Eastman Kodak company sold the rights to their cyanoacrylate patent to National Starch and Chemical Company, who rebranded it as “Super Glue,” calling it the “fastest-bonding adhesive known to man.” The product soon became a hit with the general public and has since been used in various industries and households worldwide.

Applications of Super Glue

Industrial Use

Super Glue has become a staple in various industries, including manufacturing, automotive, construction, and aerospace. It is used to bond materials together that are difficult to weld, screw, or nail, such as plastic, metal, and wood. The adhesive's strong and fast-setting properties have made it an ideal choice for bonding small components in electronic devices and appliances.

Household Use

Super Glue is also prevalent in households for its various applications. It is widely used for repairing broken items such as toys, ceramic, glass, jewelry, and even furniture. It is also useful for fixing minor wounds such as cuts and small fractures, thanks to its fast-drying properties.

Medical Use

Super Glue has many medical applications as well. It is used in emergency rooms and clinics to close wounds caused by trauma or surgery. The adhesive forms a barrier over the wound, stopping bleeding and preventing infection. It is also a temporary fix for dental crowns and bridges. In recent years, biodegradable super glue has been developed to enhance medical application, allowing use in internal surgical procedures.

In conclusion, Super Glue has come a long way since its invention in 1942. Its strong-bonding and fast-drying properties have made it a popular choice, not just in the manufacturing industry but also households and medical facilities. As technology continues to advance, we can only expect more innovative applications of Super Glue in the years to come.

The Invention of Super Glue

Super glue is a popular adhesive that is used to bond materials together quickly and easily. It was first discovered by accident in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover, a chemist working for Eastman Kodak. Super glue is a type of cyanoacrylate adhesive that is known for its instant bonding properties. Although it was invented over 70 years ago, it remains a popular adhesive to this day.

How Super Glue Was Invented

In 1942, Dr. Harry Coover was working for Eastman Kodak on a project to develop a clear plastic gun sight for the US military. During his experiments, he and his team accidentally created a substance that stuck to everything it came into contact with. Although it was not the solution that they were looking for, Dr. Coover became intrigued by the substance and decided to investigate further.

After studying the substance, Dr. Coover discovered that it was a type of cyanoacrylate adhesive. However, he also found that the adhesive was too strong for use in his project. It was not until 1951 that Dr. Coover revisited the idea of using cyanoacrylate adhesive as an industrial adhesive. Along with a team of chemists, he found a way to make the adhesive more user-friendly by creating a formulation that could be packed into a tube and marketed to consumers as a household adhesive.

The product was first marketed as "Eastman 910" and was only used by industrial manufacturers. It was not until the 1960s that the product became available to consumers under the name "Super Glue". Since then, it has become a household name and is now widely used by people all over the world.

Safety Precautions

Skin Contact

Super glue bonds skin instantly, so it is important to keep it away from eyes, mouth, and skin. In case of accidental skin contact, it is important to act quickly. The first step is to try to gently pry the skin apart to break the bond. If this is not possible, acetone can be used to dissolve the glue. Acetone can be found in nail polish remover or purchased at a hardware store. To use acetone, apply a small amount to the affected area and rub gently until the glue softens. This can take several minutes. Once the glue has softened, gently pry the skin apart to break the bond. Seek medical help if necessary.


Super glue should be stored in a cool, dry place and away from children and pets. The adhesive should be kept in a tightly sealed container to prevent it from drying out. It is important to avoid storing the glue near heat sources or direct sunlight, as this can cause the adhesive to break down and become less effective over time.

Proper Use

Proper use of super glue is important to prevent accidents and ensure that the adhesive is used effectively. It is important to always follow the instructions for use and to avoid using the product for applications involving consumption or heat. When using super glue, it is important to wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles, especially when working with large quantities of the adhesive.

Super glue is a powerful adhesive that should be used with caution. However, when used properly, it can be an effective household tool for bonding a variety of materials. Whether you are using it to fix a broken object or to complete a DIY project, it is important to follow the instructions for use and to take appropriate safety precautions.

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