The Importance of Glue Invention Essay Example

When a child’s project breaks, how does their mother fix it? She glues it back together. There is not a person in this world who has not used some sort of glue. It helps people in all areas of life. It has always seemed so magical, and I have always wondered how it is possible for something that is broken to be put back together by a little white liquid. Who came up with this idea? What is glue made of? How does glue work? How does it cause materials to stick together?

Researching a topic such as glue is difficult. First, I had to log into the database and sift through hundreds of irrelevant articles. Then I had to sort the information and make sure I had all the necessary pieces. Then I searched for newspaper articles, which were easier to use. The most useful material were the articles from newspapers. Instead of pulling out the necessary information from a paper that was talking about something else, the peer newspaper articles give the desired information. The most frustrating part of the research was finding peer reviewed sources. While I found all the information I needed on unaccredited sites, I needed to search around for an accredited source. The most satisfying part was when I put all my sources together and found saw that I had enough peer- reviewed sources.

The use of adhesives goes back to ancient history. Many different materials were used to create adhesives until the development of today’s modern glue. Archaeologists have found stone tools and spears made with primitive adhesives. These spears are dated back 70,000 years. The adhesives used to hold the spear together was made of plant gum-resin. This glue has to be strong in order to handle the thrusts of the spear (Lyn Wadley). Prehistoric caves in France were found with friezes decorating the walls. These pictures were found to contain adhesives which allowed the friezes to remain on the walls until today. These cave paintings are dated at 12,000 years ago (Mckie). The next known use of adhesives was discovered in burial sites that date back to 4,000 BC. Clay pots discovered in the burial sites had been repaired with glue made from tree sap (Bellis). In Egypt, 3,000 BC glue was used in the creation of furniture. (Britannica). The ancient Greeks used adhesives in carpentry. They created glue recipes with many different bases. They made glue from egg whites, blood, milk, cheese, vegetables, and grains. The Romans later developed glues made from tar and beeswax. Throughout the dark ages, not much is known about the adhesives they used. Modern glue appears in 1750, with the issuing of the first glue patent. This glue was made from fish. After this, there is a rapid increase in glue patents, using materials such as; natural rubber, animal bones, fish, starch, milk protein, and casein (Bellis). Today many glues are made of synthetic materials. However, natural sources are cheaper, and therefore are more commonly used (K.L. Mittal 10).

With all the different materials possible, how does the glue stick two materials together? Regular glue, such as Elmer’s glue, is made of PVA, polyvinyl acetate, and water (Brunning 25). This glue must be wet and spreadable. The glue goes into the pores of the two materials it is binding together. When the water evaporates the glue hardens. The two materials are now stuck together (J.W. McBain 188). PVA is a polymer, a string of the same molecule. Therefore, it has strong intermolecular forces. These forces lead the polymer to stay together while holding other items to it (Murray 242). Most regular glues work in this way. They use a spreadable material which enters into the pores of the two materials the glue is supposed to bond together. As the wetness evaporates, the glue hardens, effectively sticking the two materials together (J.W. McBain).

New glues and adhesives are constantly being invented. It is a growing scientific field that can change the world. One such groundbreaking invention, is surgical glue. Surgical glue has applications in both simple wounds and in surgery. Glue is often used instead of stitches on small wounds because of its advantages. Glue heals faster and is less painful. Additionally, it dissolves, eliminating the need to return to the hospital to have the sutures removed. Doctors began to attempt to use glue in surgical procedures. A study was done, comparing the effectiveness of glue versus the effectiveness of sutures. Forty men requiring a hernia repair were divided into two groups. One group received sutures, the other glue. The people who received glue healed faster, experienced less pain, and had fewer post-op complications. The doctors concluded that the glue was a more effective surgical method (Mohammed Salah-Eldin Shehata). Additionally, scientists have developed specialized glues that can fix holes in infants’ hearts. Infants who are born with congenital heart defects have a difficult time. Often they need closure devices, which later result in many operations. Sutures are difficult to perform correctly on such a small heart. Staples can have a lasting damage on the heart. Many of the stronger surgical glues are toxic, which could be potentially harmful to small children. Biomedical engineers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a strong glue that is not toxic and can save the lives of many children (Khan). Surgical glue is a growing field that could potentially save many lives.

In conclusion, glue is more important than most people realize. While doing this essay I gained a new appreciation for glue. It is such a simple thing in my life that I never stopped to appreciate it. I now understand its deep history, its makeup, and its potential to change the world. So now, next time I glue something together, I will have a deeper appreciation and understanding of what is involved in getting things to stick.

Before this paragraph, I did not have a full understanding of what it took to do research. I did not believe it was possible to find all this information in the seemingly elusive databases. I have now learnt how to find peer reviewed sources and dissect them in an accurate way. This has definitely developed me as a researcher.


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