There are lots of things that we keep in and around our homes that can be serious fire hazards, including some things that we might not think of at first.
Whether they serve as ready fuel for an accidental fire, or whether they might start the fire themselves, you’ve got to brush up on your fire hazard know-how if you want to keep your house or any other property from burning down.
To help you do that, we’ll be looking at a lot of common goods and other supplies. Like super glue! Is it super glue flammable?
Yes, super glue is highly flammable, with a flashpoint between 175°F and 200°F. It will readily catch fire in its liquid form, and can burn after curing. Super glue also creates an exothermic reaction when exposed to moisture which can ignite flammable materials in rare instances.
Super glue is a hardcore adhesive, and one that is highly flammable.
What most people don’t know is that super glue also generates a considerable amount of heat as it cures when exposed to moisture, and it careless use or improper cleanup with fabrics and other materials might result in an accidental fire a little while after.
Even, perhaps, when you are not around to stop it! This stuff can be tricky, and there’s a lot more that you’ll want to know especially if you are storing a large quantity on hand.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you more…
Is Super Glue Combustible?
Yes, superglue is combustible according to the standards of the AFSA (American Fire Safety Association).
Does Super Glue Ignite at Any Temperature?
Yes, it does. Super glue will readily ignite if exposed to open flames, continuous sparks, or any other very hot surface for a few seconds.
It also notably has a fairly low flash point, averaging anywhere from 175° F to 200° F depending on the manufacturer and ambient conditions. In elevated temperatures, this can make superglue a significant combustion hazard if it has not cured.
And that’s the other tricky part about super glue: it has different properties concerning flammability when it is still in a liquid state versus when it has cured to a hard polymer.
Generally speaking, uncured super glue is what you are worried about concerning a fire hazard.
Cured super glue is much harder and although it is still flammable and will burn, it takes a lot more effort to ignite it but in any case it is no longer nearly as difficult to deal with.
Does Super Glue React with High Temperature?
Yes. High temperatures will lead superglue to produce fumes which will more readily ignite, as described above, and also potentially generate significant inhalation hazards in the form of toxic gasses. These gasses are released in abundance when super glue is burned.
Accordingly, you should never store super glue in any area of extreme high temperature. Keep it protected if it is in a hot area like a workshop or shed, and never, ever keep super glue in your car.
Warning: Super Glue Generates Considerable Heat When Exposed to Moisture!
One lesser known fact about super glue that is especially important concerning our conversation today is its exothermic properties. Folks that use it regularly, along with model builders, know that super glue cures very rapidly when exposed to moisture.
What most don’t know is that super glue generates heat as it cures, and it generates heat proportionally with its exposure to moisture.
When super glue is applied to damp materials, and very humid conditions or when it is flooded with water it will cure very quickly and heat up significantly.
This is a major concern if you have it cleaned up super glue with a cloth or paper. It is not out of the question that the super glue might heat up enough to ignite flammable materials, and the lightweight, fuzzy materials like cotton balls, gauze and so forth are regular culprits.
Also, some things you that wouldn’t expect, like steel wool, can actually self-ignite if you get super glue on them! In fact, getting a large drop of super glue on your skin might give you a blister from heat!
Accordingly, you’ll always want to clean up superglue safely and stay alert until it is fully cured. Always dispose of any materials used to clean up super glue in a flame-proof container that has a safety closure mechanism.
Note that any super glue that has fully cured, meaning turned totally hard, can be disposed of with common trash.
Can Super Glue Burn When Wet?
Yes, it can. Uncured super glue, in any form, can readily burn if intense heat is applied.
Can Super Glue Burn When Cured?
Yes, dried, cured super glue can still burn, but it takes considerably more heat to do so and it typically does not burn as hot or as seriously as uncured super glue.
You still be cautious if you are accumulating trash that has a large amount of cured super glue in it, however, because it can feed a fire!
Is Super Glue Gel Flammable, Too?
Yes, gel formula super glues are typically just as flammable as the more typical liquid stuff.
Caution: Super Glue Fumes are Dangerous and Contact with Skin is Hazardous
Something else to know about super glue is that the fumes are a significant inhalation hazard, especially in areas with poor ventilation.
Likewise, for obvious reasons, contact with your skin is also hazardous not only because it will bond instantaneously but because it can potentially burn you and cause significant irritation.
Also, considering that super glue creates an exothermic reaction as it cures, one that is greatly intensified in the presence of moisture as detailed above, it is not out of the question that getting super glue on your skin or clothing could potentially set you on fire!
A rare occurrence to be sure, but not out of the question!
Will Super Glue Make a Fire Worse?
Yes, it absolutely will. Super glue burns readily and can fuel a fire, and if ignited can easily spread or start secondary fires. It is also a highly particular hazard because, if ignited, it will stick immediately to anything that it contacts in accordance with its usual behavior.
This poses a special threat if you are trying to clean up a spilled quantity of super glue or dealing with a fire that is started by or has reached super glue.
Is Super Glue Reactive with Other Substances?
Not really, assignment propensity to cure quickly and get hot when exposed to moisture and water in particular.
I should also mention that this exothermic reaction is exacerbated by other substances, too, particularly alcohol, alkalines and amines, too.
How Should You Deal with Super Glue Exposed to Fire?
If you have a typical ABC-rated fire extinguisher handy, lead with that. Likewise, any device that uses dry chemical agent, foam or carbon dioxide will put out a fire started by super glue or that is reaching super glue. What you definitely don’t want to do is use any high-pressure water.
Using a jet of water alone will splash flaming super glue around, and if it does not immediately put it out this will spread the fire.
If it sticks to a person, they’ve basically got flaming napalm on them. And, as mentioned above, remember that super glue heats up when exposed to water!
Likewise, you’ll need to be especially careful of inhalation hazards when dealing with a super glue fire because it produces considerable amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and various hydrocarbons which can suffocate you or cause other harm.
Once the primary fire is dealt with, or if there is no risk of igniting the surface that super glue is on, you can flood a large spilled quantity of it with water to rapidly cure it and then scrape it up.
Don’t try to mop it up with any sort of cloth or fabric because of the aforementioned ignition hazard described above.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.