Epoxy vs Super Glue: What’s the Difference?


Whether you’re doing a home project or working on an aircraft, choosing the right type of adhesive is important. Adhesives, of course, are products that cause objects to stick together. They offer a simple and effective way to join two or more products. There are different types of adhesive, however, such as epoxy and super glue.

What Is Super Glue?

Super glue is a type of transparent, fast-drying adhesive consisting of cyanoacrylate. It’s known for creating super-strong bonds in very little time. To join two or more objects, you can apply a small amount of super glue on the surface of the objects. After pressing the objects together, you just need to wait for it to dry.

Super glue will polymerize when exposed to moisture, which allows it to harden. The surface or surfaces on which you apply super glue will likely contain moisture. Even small amounts of moisture will trigger a chemical reaction known as polymerization that causes the molecules in super glue to form long chains.

What Is Epoxy?

Epoxy is a type of resin-based adhesive that leverages a curing agent. Also known as a hardener, the curing agent is designed to stimulate and polymerize the resins in epoxy.

The curing agent or hardener typically comes in a separate bottle or package. To use epoxy, you’ll need to mix the resin and hardener together. You can then apply the mixture to the surface or surfaces that you wish to join. Mixing the resin and hardener will trigger the polymerization process, meaning it will begin to harden.

Differences Between Super Glue and Epoxy

While they are used in similar applications, super glue and epoxy aren’t the same. They are two different types of adhesives. Most super glue products consist of a single main ingredient: cyanoacrylate. Epoxy products, on the other hand, typically consist of two main ingredients: a resin and a hardener.

Super glue hardens faster than epoxy. It may take just minutes for super glue to harden, whereas epoxy can take 24 hours or longer. With that said, there are fast-curing epoxy products available. They are designed specifically to cure quicky when mixed with the included hardening agent.

Epoxy is more versatile than super glue. You can use it on wood, metal, vinyl and plastic. Super glue is more restrictive regarding the materials with which it can be used. You can use it on wood, vinyl and plastic, but it’s not very effective when used on metal.

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