A Guide to Glues

Everyone has a glue in their house of some type. Elmers or white glue for school use or super glue, that stick all messy stuff that gets more on everything else but what you want it to.

With the new technologies of modern chemistry and the advances in compounds there is a whole new crop of glues out there. For each use there is a glue that is perfect for the job. Understanding about glues and what they do can be a help when trying to glue something together and you are not sure of what type to use.

Glue is a substance that bonds two or more things together. It does this by a couple of different ways. One of the easiest to understand is like super glue and white glue.

Super glue uses the almost invisible water droplets that are present on almost everything to create a chemical process that changes the chemical composition of the glue. The glue links to itself when it is in the presence of water and forms a plastic polymer after it dries.

On the other, hand white glue is full of water and when the water in it evaporates, the glue forms a flexible bond by getting into the crevices and tiny bumps that are present on most everything at some level and holding to the pieces you are gluing. The rougher a surface the better here.

This is an example of two forms of glue and how the two processes can be the opposite of each other to do the same thing. Super glue will adhere to most anything because it changes its chemical structure and links to very tiny crevices of the surface to be glued. These surfaces do not have to be rough to the touch to have these crevices. They are very small even on smooth surfaces such as glass but they are there just the same.

White glue is not as good for things like glass because the glue does not grip to the surface on such a small level as super glue. That is why super glue will bond things better than white glue. If you have bonded something that you don’t want with super glue don’t panic, use acetone finger nail polish remover to dissolve the superglue.

There is a variety of new glues coming out on the market that people are wanting for different uses. Glues can be in many forms and for many uses. A good place to find out what can bond what to what is here:


It is called This To That and will help you be able to find a glue that will stick to two different materials and what the best ones to use for each type of application.

Glues have been getting more high tech and it is a very good thing. We now have things such as acid resistant glues for photo albums and scrapbooks so that our precious memories and keepsakes do not get ruined over time from the glue we use on their backs.

In our daily lives we take for granted all the places that glues have been changing. That caulk around the tub when you jump in the shower now has stuff in it, a biocide, to kill mildew and mold before it can degrade the caulk or sealant and turn it that funky color we don’t like to see. The car you drive to work has all kinds of glues and sealants that work much better than they used to.

The sealant around the parts of your engine used to be a rubber or cork gasket put in one place to seal two pieces so that fluids didn’t leak out. Now there are heat resistant and chemical resistant sealants that last so much longer due to their properties.

If you want to bond things that are not going to be permanent, such as a foot on a chair that rests on the floor all the time or something to be glued to a smooth surface, a good glue to use would be household goop or even a hot glue gun.

The household goop is a silicone sealant that uses a caulk type chemical to dry between the two parts and adheres them together. The glue does not stick permanently to smoother surfaces but it comes off in one piece usually, this allows you to use it in temporary situations and take it off easily from smooth surfaces.

The hot glue gun is much the same as the goop, it comes off usually in one piece and does not bond well to smooth surfaces. Hot glues guns are very inexpensive now a days, and you can get all kinds of different types of glue sticks for them.

Many of the companies that make glue gins now have glue sticks for things like wood, underwater applications and in different colors for a variety of crafting needs. There are three types of glue guns, high temp, low temp and a combination of both. The high or low temp means the temperature used to melt the glue.

For things like Styrofoam that would melt at higher temperatures they came out with the low temp glue guns and sticks. They also have high and low temp glue guns that use the appropriate temperature for whatever type of glue stick you use. Glue guns come in a variety of designs, there are even cordless ones that you can use with out it being plugged into the base for a minute or so.

If you are trying to glue something that will get oil, grease or gasoline products on it, there is a great sealant glue for just such applications. Sealing tanks or cans for gas, small holes in boats or holes in engine covers can be sealed with a glue called Seal-All. It uses a chemical process of drying and changing the chemical composition to bond and seal.

Many glues stink because of the ingredients they use. One of these common in glues is methyl ethyl ketone. This chemical is used in many glues because it evaporates very quickly to create a faster drying glue and does not break down or dissolve in chemicals like gasoline or oil.

Some glues such as the one used for plastic models melt the two pieces you are joining to create one whole piece. If you are sure of what type of material the two things you are gluing, you can use glues especially for them. Models use these types of glues to melt the two pieces together, they even have some that are in two parts that you can add at different times.

You would wipe the two surfaces with the first part of the glue and put the pieces together, then spray on the second part and it will start the chemical process and melt the pieces together. This is handy for models so that you can put the pieces together and position them correctly and then with the parts sitting hands free, spray on the accelerator and allow them to dry.

Some glues are especially for things like Styrofoam. Styrofoam like the blue and pink insulation boards that go on buildings is a plastic that is whipped up to add air into the molecules and make it lighter and add more volume.

This type of glue needs to be solvent free so it does not create toxic fumes when working with it. Glues for Styrofoam only bond the pieces together just like white glue. Only they use better types of glue that are stronger. Contact adhesives and glues are used for these applications.

For building materials and construction, you would want to use something called liquid nails, it is a high strength glue used for things like gluing paneling and wood to other things.

Epoxy glues are usually two part glues that work well as they dry very hard, using a chemical heating process to dry the glue. They are used where a permanent hold is required that will be very hard.
Many applications that you are not sure of can be found by using the link I have mentioned earlier. Glues should be used with care and read the instructions before you use a glue you have never used before.

Some types of glues need to be used with adequate ventilation and air. You need to make sure you don’t get any type of glue on things like your skin or in your eyes, take care when handling glue that you don’t touch yourself with glue on your fingers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eight × = 24