Super glue accelerators are an effective tool for making super glue applications more convenient and simpler with predictable and repeatable performance results. The primary function of an accelerator (also referred to as cyanoacrylate setters, kicker, boost, blast) is to facilitate extremely fast setting (curing) and bond times, however, it can be utilized to “build” or “mound” a surface to fill gaps and create a “fillet”, improve bonding on porous surfaces like wood, ceramic or foam rubber and used to help mitigate blooming or frosting on your finished assembled item.
Super glue adhesives are acid stabilized which keeps them shelf-stable, but they rely on moisture to catalyze the monomer (liquid glue) to a solidified cured resin (polymer). A weak base and moisture are required to make this occur, meaning excessively dry (low humidity) climates and environments or acidic substrates can lead to problems such as slow cure speeds and weak bond strength. Also, excessive application of any super glue will lead to bond line squeeze out which can cause very slow cure speed and potentially a phenomenon known as blooming or chlorosis causing a white frosting (haze) to cover your materials.
There are many types of super glues available, from wicking liquids to heavy viscosity gels, and some require longer setting times than others due to the thickeners blended into the formulas. Using an accelerator helps quicken this curing process, especially if you follow the product instructions correctly and take proper precautions. Here, our experts at Aron Alpha discuss the proper use of super glue accelerators.
Proper Use & Application Methods of Super Glue Accelerator Chemistry
Super glue's bonding reaction is caused by condensed water vapors (think humidity) and weak base chemistry on the bonding surface (think materials you are bonding together). This means that the more latent moisture a substrate has, the more quickly the glue will cure. Super glue curing begins at surface level and slowly develops from the outside to the inside, causing thick applications to harden (polymerize) slowly or not at all. Using accelerators in your bonding processes ensures solid bonds, even in challenging environments.
Super glue accelerators rely on an evaporating agent, such as acetone, heptane, or another solvent, to act as a carrier for the active accelerator ingredient. After application, the evaporating agent dissipates, leaving the accelerator chemistry on the bonding surface. Before you begin any bonding, make sure that the components you're working with are clean and dry so that the glue and accelerator can perform optimally.
Choose Your Technique to Apply the Accelerator
Pre- Apply: Apply the accelerator directly onto one side of the two bonding surfaces by spray, brush or wipe with an accelerator-soaked cotton swab or towel. Apply super glue to the non-activated (accelerator) substrate. Mate the two surfaces together to initiate rapid cure and provide intimate contact between mating surfaces.
Post-Apply: Apply super glue to the bonding surface, mate materials to be joined and add pressure to help initiate cure and minimize gaps, apply accelerator by spraying over parting line (glue line) of mating surfaces.
Basic Methods of Using Super Glue Accelerators
Pump spray or Aerosol method
- Remove the top: It's important to only remove the top of your accelerator when you're ready to spray because the material evaporates easily. If at any point during the application process you need to take a break or stop spraying, you should close the bottle again right away.
- Ensure the bottle is positioned right side up: The bottle will only be able to spray when it's oriented in the correct direction, so make sure you're holding it correctly and safely. Positioning the bottle correctly will ensure you achieve the best results possible.
- Spray about 6 in. away from the targeted surface: This step is the most critical. If the bottle is too far away from your target surface, an inadequate amount of accelerator will be applied. On the other hand, if you're too close, you will get an application that is too thick and concentrated. This will lead to product wastage and can also cause a blooming effect which turns the surface white.
Brush on or swab/dauber on method
- Remove the top: It's important to only remove the top of your accelerator bottle when you're ready to apply because the material evaporates easily. If at any point during the application process you need to take a break or stop applying, you should close the bottle again right away.
- Applying with Brush, Cotton Swab, or Dauber: Dip your brush/swab/dauber into the opened bottle of accelerator or pour off into a wide mouth/open dish. Make sure your brush or swab is not dripping with accelerator - you may want to tap onto the dish edge or bottle neck to allow excess accelerator to drip into the container. Apply the accelerator onto one of the bonding surfaces and the adhesive to the mating surface.
After you've applied the accelerator to one of your bonding surfaces, you can apply super glue to the opposing side and press the substrates together. A firm bond will quickly form. It's important to note that adding too much accelerator will reduce the adhesive's tensile strength, so you should always follow product guidelines closely to ensure you're applying the correct amount.
When working with super glue accelerators, it's always a good idea to work in a well-ventilated environment to avoid product inhalation. You should also wear protective gear and avoid contacting the accelerator directly. To achieve the best results, test your accelerator on all bonding surfaces in advance to make sure they're compatible.
Choose Super Glue Accelerators at Aron Alpha
Super glue accelerators create super-strong bonds quickly and in challenging environments. Getting the best results from your accelerator requires testing your substrates in advance and applying even coats of appropriate thickness. Aron Alpha has over 50 years of experience producing the most trusted instant adhesives and accelerators on the market.
You can learn more about our selection of cyanoacrylate accelerators by visiting our product page. If you have questions about which products are right for your application, contact us or request a quote and our experts will help you find a solution.