Glue is in everything – from furniture to clothes. The first known use of an adhesive dates to 200,000 years ago in Italy, where it was used by humans to bind stones together using the bark of the birch tree. There have been many developments since these early glues. Here are some fascinating facts about glue.
Glue was mentioned in ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics showed that Tutankhamun’s casket was bound together by a compound of animal origin. The ancient Romans were using glue and its use was widespread in Mediaeval and Renaissance eras. Recipes of cheese, hide and fish glues were written down and copied numerous times because of their usefulness.
There are five basic types of glue: solvent, water based, two-part glues, animal based and Cyanoacrylate, also known as super glues. Glues are natural in origin, whereas synthetic glues are known as adhesives. They are in liquid form, which allows them to fill up the space between the two objects being bonded before hardening.
A growing industry
Adhesives are a fast-growing industry, going from strength to strength. It is estimated that the industry will be worth around $50 billion by 2020. With growth comes new technology, with new adhesives being developed all the time. It is thought that up to 18.2kg of glue per year is used for the average person, whether it’s a metal bonding adhesive such as http://www.ct1ltd.com/product-applications/metal-to-metal-adhesive/, or the glue used to make the bed you sleep on.
Superglue was invented by accident by Harry Coover in 1942. He started selling it commercially in 1958. It is thought that one square inch of superglue can hold one tonne. This type of glue works best with no residual water present. It can be used underwater, with wood and in medicine, where it has been used to close wounds. It is even used in forensics to lift fingerprints off surfaces.
Glues of natural origin have led to amazing technological advances. Rubber glues led to the creation of the rubber tyre. Rubber glue has also been developed into rubber cement.
The first patent for glue was issued in 1750 in Britain. Since then, there have been many developments, most rapidly in the first half of the twentieth century, when synthetic adhesives with many applications were developed.