The Difference Between Cyanoacrylate and Super Glue

Adhesives play a crucial role in the life of human beings. There are many kinds of adhesives depending on the intended application. Generally, adhesives can be weak, mild or strong. Adhesives that are not adequately strong to adhere for a significant length of time are referred to as weak adhesives e.g. paper glue. There are also adhesives that are very strong such as super glues and epoxies.


Difference Between Super Glue and Cyanoacrylate

Super glue, cyanoacrylate, instant glue and CA glue are different names that refer to the cyanoacrylate adhesive. Despite the fact that CA glue and cyanoacrylate glue are all names for cyanoacrylate adhesive, various user groups adopt different names for them. For instance, model-builders, serious hobbyists and skilled crafting professionals utilize terms like instant glue or CA glue.

Industrial users are accustomed to calling the glue by the technical name i.e. cyanoacrylate. On the other hand, individuals who purchase CA glue from drug stores or home improvement stores for occasional use at home call it super glue.

There are significant differences in adhesive performance among the various cyanoacrylate products. However, they all refer to the same kind of adhesive.

Super glues bond through reaction with moisture both on the material surfaces they are bonding to and moisture present in the air.


Cyanoacrylate adhesives are associated with a number of benefits, these include:

Fast bonding – Super glues bond extremely fast compared to other types of glue. The speed of bonding is usually measured in seconds and this depends on the working materials and the environment. The bond tends to be faster in environments that are warmer and have higher humidity.

Bond strength - Cyanoacrylate adhesives form very strong bonds. This varies slightly depending on environment, materials and grade but is still high.

Material compatibility – Super glues are quite versatile thus will work with several materials. This means that they easily bond with glass, ceramics, wood and common metals as well certain kinds of plastics and rubber.

Economy – CA glues are cost effective to use. This is because a single drop can cover an area of up to 25mm². This is why it is not advisable to use too much as it can decrease final bond strength.

Mixing – Super glues are never mixed with anything during the manufacturing process, this is beneficial because of not having to achieve precise combinations.


The following are some insightful tips on how to use CA glue:

Surface preparation – It is important to always work with rough surfaces because it significantly increases the available surface area. This allows the adhesive to easily bond with the material. In addition, the surface should be dry and very clean.

Gloves – It is good practice to wear gloves when working with super glues because they bond to almost anything and the human skin is no exception.

Masking – When working with complex bonding surfaces, it is better to mask all the surfaces that surround the bonding area prior to applying the super glue. The use of masking tape minimizes the risk of problems occurring during application.

Bottle shape – It is important to work with the ideal bottle shape for super glues particularly if you are dealing with objects that require a precise fit. As a rule of thumb, small squeeze tubes apply in all cases.

Storage – If you want to properly store cyanoacrylate so that it lasts for a long time, try to clean up excess adhesive that is present at the opening. It is also good to squeeze out any excess air and to tightly close the lid. The main reason for ensuring that the lid is tight is to prevent contact between air and superglue that might result in an adhesive reaction.

Clean up – Cured super glue can be extracted from a surface using one of two means i.e. chemical removal or mechanical removal. Mechanical means is generally grinding it or scraping it off with a tool. On the other hand, chemical removal involves solvents that dissolve it via a chemical reaction to leave the surface completely clean.


Super glues are used in almost all industries including high pressure seal repair, electronics, model making etc.


The above insightful information clearly shows that there is no difference between super glue and cyanoacrylate, they are one and the same thing. Use the right product for the right application as there are different grades.