The Differences between Epoxy and Cyanoacrylate Super Glue: Are you aware of them?

Epoxy and Cyanoacrylate Super Glue

Adhesives play a very important role in human life.There are many situations when we looking for a glue in a home to fix something broken or industry applications. People always confuse between epoxy and cyanoacrylate super glue and tend to use them interchangeably. So, we are discussing the difference between them in this article.

Difference in Chemical Composition

Epoxy is basically a thermosetting polymer created by the chemical reaction between a resin that containing epoxide group and a hardener that containing active amine hydrogen. It comes in a two parts and requires mixing at a particular ratio before use. They are also available in one-component but require heat, UV light or moisture for curing reaction to take place. On the other hand, super glue is made of cyanoacrylate. Super glue can be used directly from the tube and no mixing involved.

Difference in Hardening TIme

Epoxy hardener sets the adhesive in a particular time from a few minutes to several hours depends on the chemical composition of the hardener while super glue is activated by moisture in the air and set quickly in seconds to few minutes.

Difference in Usage & Purpose

Epoxy is designed for specific purpose including general purpose, fast setting, chemical resistance, heat resistance, high shear strength, mechanical and electrical insulating properties depending on the performance requirement. However, super glue cure more brittle and has lower shear strength than epoxy. Hence, they are meant for bonding and can be used to bond almost anything such as rubber, wood, metal and plastic but not recommended to use on glass.

Epoxy is more commonly used for filling large gaps and porous material. However, super glue is ideal for bonding very small gaps and non-porous materials for small repair works that are not subject to much stress or movement.

Difference in Shelf Life

Super glue has a short shelf life, about one year unopened but only last for one month once opened due to the humidity in the air will trigger the curing reaction. On the other hand, epoxy is not sensitive to the moisture in the air so it has a longer shelf life of at least one year, but actual shelf life is typically far longer.

Summary

To sum up, depend on your application purpose, in term or mechanical properties epoxy is higher at tensile strength and impact resistance compared to cyanoacrylate super glue. Epoxy is more versatile, it can be used for coating, encapsulation, lamination, sealing and bonding across many industries due to it excellent adhesion and tolerance to various substrate. As for cyanoacrylate super glue, the usage is limited to be use for bonding purpose on non-porous substrate only. So, please choose your glue wisely!

Category Epoxy Super Glue
Chemistry Contain Epoxide group and active amine hydrogen Made of Cyanoacrylate
Requirement for Mixing Yes No
Range of time required to harden Few minutes to several hours Seconds to few minutes
Usage Meant for applications that require fast setting, chemical resistance, heat resistance, high shear strength, mechanical and electrical insulating properties Meant for bonding for rubber, wood, metal, plastic etc (not recommended for glass)
Gap Filling For filling large gaps and porous material For bonding very small gaps and non-porous materials for small repair works that are not subject to much stress or movement
Shelf Life At least one year One month after open shelf

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