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How do they work?

Cyanoacrylate adhesives are normally made from a base ester or chemical compound, which in its pure state will react and polymerize when in contact with water or moisture. As there is moisture and water in the air we need to control this reaction by making the ester only react when we want it to. We do this by adding a weak acid which stabilizes and prevents polymerization. However, when the adhesive comes into contact with a surface, any moisture or water present on the surface will neutralize the acidic stabilizer. Once the stabilizer is neutralized the cyanoacrylate ester is free to polymerize and curing begins.