How Glue Works

Glue by phot0matt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

“Glue” by phot0matt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

By: Desmond Kraft, Journalist

In this article I will talk about some of the ways that glue works, as well as some examples.

There are 2 main forces that make glue work: adhesive and cohesive forces. Cohesive forces stick the glue to itself. cohesive forces are also responsible for things like surface tension in water.  Adhesive forces stick the glue to the object you are gluing. Adhesive forces are responsible for things like gum sticking to the road or your shoe.

There are 3 main types of glue: ones that have both good adhesive and cohesive forces, like spray glue. Spray glue works by staying stuck to the thing you are gluing but also not coming apart from itself. Glues that have good cohesive forces and are meant for porous things like wood. They seep into the thing they are gluing and then dry by having a non sticky part dry. This is how the glue does not stick to itself.  Another method that glue makers use is to make 2 separate substances that on their own are not sticky, but when you mix them they become sticky. The result is that there is a a part of the material that is reinforced by a hard block of glue, this is called mechanical adhesion. Lastly, there are ones that actually chemically alter the thing they are gluing, bonding the atoms to each other in new ways.

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Use this article to know what glue to buy for your next project.

Also read the labels on the bottles.