Cyanoacrylate (CA) Information
Cyanoacrylates (CAs) have become the adhesive of choice for most hobby and household applications. High-quality CA's, such as those offered by Slot Car Corner, when used properly, form bonds that in many cases are stronger than the material(s) being adhered. CA's are reactive monomers that chemically link (polymerize) when pressed into a thin film. The very thin layer of water moisture present on most surfaces acts as an alkali, or weak base, which is the catalyst that results in bonding. However, the presence of detectable amounts of water usually degrades the performance of CA's.
- Heat and moisture will decrease the shelf life of CA's. Unopened bottles can be stored in a freezer or refrigerator, but allow them to reach room temperature before using. The shelf-life for unopened bottles of CA, stored in accordance with the above recomendations, is 24 months.
- Always keep your CA bottle(s) in a cool place that won't be exposed to direct sunlight and store away from bottles of CA accelerator.
- For the initial opening of the top (cap), loosen and retighten the top first to relieve internal pressure. Hold (but do NOT squeeze) the bottle against a near vertical surface and cut off the top 1/32" from the end with a sharp knife.
- To prevent clogging and extend the life of CA once opened, do not let the tip of the nozzle touch any surface where CA accelerator has been applied. Before replacing the cap, set the bottle down hard to knock the remaining CA back into the bottle. While holding the bottle upright, squeeze the bottle GENTLY to blow air through the nozzle, then wipe the tip clean and apply the cap.
- With all CA's, the closer the fit of the mating surfaces, the stronger the bond. Any rough spots on the mating surfaces should be smoothed out. Whenever possible, hold the surfaces to be bonded together as tightly as possible.
- Although CA's will generally hold objects together in a matter of seconds, the full strength of the bond is not reached for several hours. Whenever possible, allow bonding surfaces to dry completely before subjecting the parts to stress.
- CA's are generally less brittle and have higher strength when allowed to cure on their own.
Is cyanoacrylate toxic, and does odorless CA just cover up what will still be toxic effects?
Cyanoacrylate is not toxic! The fumes from CA are a vaporized form of the cyanoacrylate monomer that irritate sensitive membranes in the eyes, nose and throat. They immediately are polymerized by the moisture in the membranes and become inert. They do not penetrate into human internal systems. In fact, CA that is used by doctors to suture wounds avert some of the infections that occur in stitched wounds. It also eliminates the need for stitch removal because it sloughs off along with the outer layer of skin after a couple of weeks. Cyanoacrylates have been successful in grafting skin, bone and cartilage; repairing eyes; closing dangerously ballooned blood vessels in the abdomen; and stopping spinal fluid leaks.
About 5% of the population can become sensitized to CA fumes after repeated exposure. Just a small exposure can result in flu-like symptoms. The most common misnomer about CA is that they contain cyanide and that the fumes will poison you. Not True! Period..