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Cyanoacrylate accelerators? Answered

I just read about these substances that are usually sold in mini spray bottles or aerosol cans.  They are supposed to be very useful when you apply a cyanoacrylate (CA) glue (aka superglue, etc.) over a somewhat large, flat surface, as they enhance the alkaline conditions to speed up the polymerization of the CA.
    Given this information, does anybody know if a CA accelerator can be made from scratch by regular high pH household materials, like ammonia or sodium hydroxide?  If so, what concentration do you think would work?

9 Replies

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Burf (author)2012-08-27

Baking soda. Pour it gently over the uncured glue and it will practically flash dry.

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chrisjlionel (author)Burf2015-12-01

Is it water dissolved baking soda?

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jrh065 (author)Burf2012-08-27

Or, maybe dust one part with baking soda, and coat the other with glue before sticking them together?

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Re-design (author)jrh0652012-08-28

The baking soda should go on top otherwise it will interfere with the bonding.

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thematthatter (author)Burf2012-08-28

i knew someone who used baking soda and superglue to repair plastic radiator overfill bottles.

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ronald.johnson.7399786 (author)2015-03-15

I'm not sure if dipping it in water 'compromises' it. What I've found in my own studies is that it either beads, or 'feathers'. If it is submerged it beads. Basically it dries around a spherical surface, and encapsulates uncured CA within. If you pull it out and crush it, it bursts and unfinished CA comes out. If it 'feathers' (best analogy I've got) it somewhat floats and cures on the surface instantly. As it does this, the remaining bulk CA on top continues to level out and touches new water. Sort of forming a 'sheet.' This feathered material can be durable if removed and twisted into a thread or chord. Baking Soda is very effective at curing CA in dry form. It also remains very strong, but of course embeds white 'Soda' in its structure. The resulting plastic is finish-able. Drilled, sanded, filed.

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tylervitale (author)2012-09-04

Re-design's got the right idea.
Cyanoacrylate glues do not "dry". They react. The way they work is through a chemical reaction between the cyanoacrylate and water vapor in the air.
So, if you provide more water for the glue to react with, it will set faster.

A word of advice: this doesn't mean you can submerge the glue in water to set it. I found that this compromises the structure. Instead, you could try 3 things:
1. Using your breath to blow on it to provide extra water vapor helps (just be careful of the fumes)
2. water spray, like Re-design said. Just be sure to use a gentle spray.
3. For bigger blobs of glue, you could try steam. Just be careful not to burn yourself, and also don't use a strong jet of steam.

Also, this will not completely set the glue immediately. You still have to wait a while for it to set. But it does allow you to make a secure bond so that you don't have to keep holding the pieces in place while it hardens.

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thematthatter (author)2012-08-28

have you tried your fingers? lol

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Re-design (author)2012-08-27

When I was building RC planes I used a water spray.

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