The development of instant adhesives or cyanoacrylates
The original cyanoacrylates (the scientific name for instant adhesives in the industrial world or super glue in the consumer market) was discovered in 1942 when a group of scientists headed by Harry Coover Jr. stumbled upon this formulation that stuck to everything that it came in contact with. It was rejected for application but was rediscovered by Eastman Kodak researchers and its true commercial value was recognized. In 1960, Eastman Kodak sold cyanoacrylate to Loctite that quickly gained a market share for the instant adhesive. Other manufacturers of cyanoacrylate joined Loctite in producing approximately 75% of the demand of the industrial instant adhesives market.
In general, cyanoacrylate is an acrylic resin that exists in a tube as a single molecule in liquid form. However, when these instant adhesives come into contact with water the molecules react with the hydroxide ions to form long polymer chains that can set into a very hard solid. Since there is a thin layer of moisture covering most surfaces, cyanoacrylate can bond them effectively. Because it is activated by water, the instant adhesive is great at sticking at slightly moist surfaces including skin. While cyanoacrylate glue contained in cans was used to close the wounds of soldiers during the Vietnam War to prevent blood loss, never attempt to try it on a cut if you cannot find a plaster.
How to remove super glue
From your skin
Cyanoacrylate glue is impervious to water but it can be dissolved using an organic solvent like acetone. Nail polish removers contain acetone but make sure to read the labels since there are acetone-free products and these won’t work. Be mindful where you apply acetone as it cannot be applied on the eyes and lips. Acetone is a flammable and toxic substance which cannot be ingested or inhaled.
From your clothes
Instant adhesives can be removed from your clothes using acetone but it can discolor the material and affect its texture. You have to use a gloved finger or a toothbrush in applying acetone. It will dissolve the adhesive quickly but you have to rinse the cloth immediately even if acetone has evaporated.
From a glass surface
You only need to scrape off the glue since it does not adhere to glass. It will help if you will soak the affected area in water so that the glue will be loosened.