Who Invented Super Glue?

What is Superglue? Who invented it? Was it an accident?
Who invented Super Glue 2

Did you break your plastic toy? Just get super glue and fix it. All of us have used super glue at one point or the other to stick two or more things together. Hence, it will be interesting to know its history like who invented super glue in 1951 or was it in 1942. Let’s find out!

1. What is Super Glue?

Super glue is an adhesive that is used to bond two or more objects together with each other. It is a chemical that is also known as cyanoacrylate. Super glue uses the method of polymerization, which includes the bonding of elements. It is used in various places for numerous applications. Many different kinds of adhesives and super glues are available in the market for individuals and industries. A fun fact about super glue is that it was invented twice. (See Who Invented the Zipper?)

2. Does Usual Glue work on Liquid Evaporation?

Evaporation and polymerization are enormously different in many ways. A normal glue uses the process of evaporation of liquid. This means when we apply the liquified glue onto a surface, we have to wait for the liquid to evaporate or warm-up for the glue to work. Because of this, we not only have to wait until the liquid evaporates, but also need to keep the surface steady to not spill it. The glue becomes stickier if it comes in contact with the skin as our body is a good conductor of heat and warmblood helps in drying it quickly.

Many times, this situation turned into a mess where people found it impossible to remove the glue. Consequently, the true adhesiveness in glue was lowered down to prevent such disasters from happening.

3. Does Super Glue use Polymerization?

As the glue turned out to be dangerous and less adhesive, super glue was formed utilizing polymerization which is a process when monomers come together to form a polymer. Consider monomers as a chemically reactive ball with the natural and physical properties of an atom that you can’t see with a naked eye.  If there are two such balls, they are known as dimers. If there are three balls, then trimers and so on. A group of these is known as a polymer in which these monomers bond together and become stronger. 

This technique was applied to the super glue formula. And as much as you apply, the more adhesiveness it will produce. Although there still can be skin peel, it will be very minor. Read further to know who invented super glue.

4. Who invented Super Glue in 1942?

The period of 1942 is infamous for World War II when America became the symbol of violence and weaponization. During this time, Doctor Harry Coover was trying to make a plastic clear scope that would be easy to detach from the guns to be given to Allied Soldiers. These attempts were made so that the soldiers can spot the enemies from a distance. Although, he could not make the ideal plastic for gun sight instead, made an adhesive that quickly bonded things together.

However, he abandoned the project without realizing its true potential as they were short on time. Still, he kept this discovery and stored it in his bookshelf rather than burning or tearing up the work as was common during those days to protect projects. (See Who Discovered Electricity?)

5. Who invented Super Glue in 1951?

Nine years later Doctor Harry Coover who was now a part of Eastman Kodak was assigned with the task to make an acrylic polymer for jet canopies. His protégée, Fred Joyner who was also working on the same project, found this formula in his bookshelf and tested the adhesive with a refractive prism. It worked like a charm and the two prisms were held together by the strong inward adhesive force.

Doctor Coover endorsed the product this time, which skyrocketed everywhere. He got recognized, thanks to this discovery, and rose to fame. However, he never patented super glue and was formerly, known as its creators along with the others at Eastman Kodak.

6. What are the Misconceptions about Super Glue?

There is a common misconception regarding the super glue history. People believe that rather than it being invented by Doctor Coover, it was first discovered by the soldiers of World War II who used super glue to heal wounds as a quick form of measure. Although the conception turned out to be untrue, people protested against Doctor Harry Coover for not utilizing the glue at that time to save soldiers’ lives. Later, super glue was used in the Vietnam wars to heal soldiers’ wounds. (See How War Affects Economy?)

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