A Starter’s Guide to Automobile Super Glue

Though you may not be familiar with the term cyanoacrylate adhesive, you’re probably familiar with the product itself. Commonly called super glue, instant glue, power glue, or by the brand names such as Krazy Glue, cyanoacrylate adhesive is critical to the assembly of goods for a variety of applications across industries. These glues are heat resistant, dry quickly, and will bond almost any material with another, making them ideal for a wide range of applications. 

This blog will discuss cyanoacrylate adhesives and how they are used in automotive applications.

How Cyanoacrylates (AKA Instant Adhesives) Work

Cyanoacrylates need moisture to create a bond, and typically the humidity in the air and on the substrate surface provides all the water they need to do their job. The molecules in cyanoacrylate adhesives react instantly with atmospheric moisture to form long polymeric chains between the material surfaces. For the best connection, it’s important to press the surfaces together for about a minute without shifting or other disturbances. The bond will grow stronger after about 10 minutes and fully solidify within 24 hours.

It doesn’t take much cyanoacrylate adhesive to adhere two surfaces. One drop will cover about one square inch, though you might need to use more glue if the surface is porous. In other cases, using more won’t provide a stronger hold. Instead, it will only waste product and potentially leak or squeeze out from between the substrates, requiring additional finishing.

If your bond needs to be strong and dry instantly, you can use an cyanoacrylate accelerator. Simply apply the glue to one surface and the accelerator to the other. When pressed together, the surfaces will have an instant bond. This is an important step when time is of the essence or there is a risk of the bond being disturbed in some way before it fully sets. 

Alternatively, you can spray an accelerator over the seam. This is an ideal solution in especially dry environments or when working with oily or acidic substrates. Meanwhile, a cyanoacrylate primer can improve bonding conditions on polypropylene and other engineering plastics with low surface energy. 

Key Advantages of Cyanoacrylates for Automotive Applications

Cyanoacrylates are used extensively in the automotive industry, in large part because of their bond strength.  They can also withstand extreme conditions, facilitating use in temperatures ranging from -40° to 250° F. Cyanoacrylates may be used in other cases where other glues or fasteners are not an option, as well. Many of these circumstances are present when working on automobiles: 

  • When joining dissimilar materials
  • When clamping the materials isn’t possible or ideal
  • When doing maintenance or repair
  • When bonding rubber or engineering plastic
  • When aesthetics matter
  • When speed matters
  • When the adhesive must be resistant to chemicals, water, and heat 

It’s helpful to note that although cyanoacrylate adhesives create a permanent bond, it is possible to intentionally break the bond with extremely high heat (more than 350° F) and a debonding solvent like acetone.

Typical Applications of CA Glues in the Automotive Industry

There is a push in the automotive industry to make cars as lightweight and efficient as possible without sacrificing safety. 

automotive window

Mechanical fasteners add unnecessary weight, may take up too much space, or might simply be aesthetically displeasing. Additionally, it’s often not possible to weld lightweight composite materials. These factors make cyanoacrylate adhesives a popular choice for auto manufacturers. These adhesives are used both inside and outside the vehicle:

  • Interior: transmission hose assembly, wire harness, hand brake covers, anti-vibration motor mount and more
  • Exterior: door weather stripping, sunroof seals, body side moldings, and more

CA Glues at Aron Alpha

Given their strength and versatility, cyanoacrylate adhesives will have their place in the automotive and other industries for years to come. As one of the original producers of cyanoacrylate adhesives, many manufacturers turn to us for their adhesive needs. For more than 50 years, Aron Alpha has been serving a variety of manufacturing sectors throughout Japan, Europe, South America, and North America, including automotive, general assembly, and electronics.

We have adhesives, primers, accelerators, and applicators to suit almost any application. If we can’t find a standard product for your needs, we’re happy to develop custom formulations targeted to the unique needs of your application. 

To learn more about automotive cyanoacrylate adhesives or about our products and capabilities, reach out to us today.


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