What is an adhesive accelerator?
An adhesive accelerator is a liquid chemical that comes in a spray bottle or aerosol can so as to speed up the time of curing for all types of cyanoacrylates. It should always be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary otherwise the instant adhesive will harden instantly. There are two common types of adhesive accelerator – the flammable and non-flammable. If you check the label on the bottle or can and it says flammable, wait for 60 seconds after application before you join the parts together or before you apply the adhesive accelerator into the glued surface. Spraying the accelerator may turn the instant adhesive white. With the non-flammable accelerator, waiting time is not necessary. One side of the joint can be wiped with water, alcohol or baking soda to speed up the cure but the results will be a substantially weaker bond with the glue also turning white.
How the adhesive accelerator helps in instant bonding
As previously stated, cyanoacrylates vary in formulations and in order to bond easily, adhesive accelerator has to be sprayed on the parts being joined.
- Plain cyanoacrylate – this water-thin instant glue is most used for initial assembly and tack gluing. If it is used on a joint without a gap, it will cure within seconds of the application but when gluing plywood or hardwood, a mist of adhesive accelerator must be used to help the instant adhesive work.
- Medium or gap filling cyanoacrylate – is generally used for surface gluing, filling small gaps between poorly matched parts and for other general purposes. Curing time is slower than plain cyanoacrylate which allows you more time to apply a bead on two or three parts before assembly. Because of the slower curing time, it penetrates wood to achieve a stronger bond. Without an adhesive accelerator, curing time is usually from 20 to 30 seconds.
- Thick cynanoacrylate – is used when extra positioning time is required. It is a gap-filler and also used to make fillets when a little extra strength is required. Curing time is approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
Cyanoacrylates are not carcinogenic and not particularly harmful like everyone assumes. However, it is important to wear disposable gloves and goggles to keep off the glue from your hands and eyes. It’s fumes can be irritating. All kinds of cyanoacrylates will bond immediately to your skin and it is worth having a bottle of acetone on your side to dissolve the instant adhesive.