Cyanoacrylate is the generic name for fast-acting adhesives such as methyl 2-cyanoacrylate, ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate (commonly sold under trade names like Super Glue and Krazy Glue), and n-butyl cyanoacrylate (used in veterinary and skin glues). The related compound 2-octyl cyanoacrylate is a medical grade glue; it was developed to be non-toxic and less irritating to skin tissue. Cyanoacrylate adhesives are sometimes known as instant glues. The abbreviation CA is commonly used for industrial grades as well as a common way to refer to hobby cyanoacrylates.
Developed in 1942 by Dr. Harry Coover and Fred Joyner of Kodak Laboratories during experiments to make a transparent plastic suitable for gun sights, cyanoacrylate is very effective on most materials, including wood, plastic and some kinds of foam. Foam-safe CA is also available and can be used on foam that melts when it comes in contact with regular CA. Cyanoacrylate is available in thin, medium, and thick for various applications. Thick CA takes longer to cure and gives more time to adjust parts to assure that they are correctly positioned before the glue sets. Thin CA sets very quickly and can soak into very small spaces that might otherwise be inaccessible. Kicker can also be used to accelerate the process.
CA can be quite brittle, compared to white glue or contact adhesives.
When gluing very small areas, put a drop of glue on a scrap of plastic and use a pin to transfer and place the exact amount required (to avoid it running into hinges or bearings)
CA can sometimes be released with heat, either by soaking in hot water or appling a soldering iron to a metal part. A chemical debonder compound may be used as well, but such chemicals will dissolve foam parts.
Leading hobby-grade CA and kicker manufacturers include Bob Smith Industries or BSI of Atascadero, California USA and Mercury Adhesives of Cumming, Georgia USA. Most CA and kickers labeled with the names of individual hobby shops are made by BSI.
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