“Silicon Peaks” - Credit: BEN MYERS, Staff, NU’s Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center
My wife has a pair of earrings that she likes a great deal. Unfortunately one of them came apart. I was able to repair it with a dab of silicon glue, which was all I had on hand at the time. Eventually the silicon failed and the earring fell apart. Since silicon had worked pretty well the last time, I went ahead and applied the same fix, and once again it lasted for a while.
Last week it came apart again and I decided I needed something other than silicon glue. I have some epoxy, but this is a very small part and there was a good chance I would get some epoxy on the outside, the visible side, of the earring and then I would have to clean it off, which would be a real pain.
So I decided to use Superglue, which entailed a trip to the store, but that's okay. We're going to fix it good this time. I sit down and scrape all the old silicon off with my thumbnail, apply a drop of Superglue and press down for a bit. It doesn't hold. It doesn't even pretend to hold. There's nothing wrong with the glue, it sticks to my fingers just fine.
Maybe it's grease from my fingers interfering with the glue. I get a bottle of rubbing alcohol and clean both surfaces with a Q-tip. Try gluing again. Still no stick. This is getting stinky. I consider taking my problem to the local Hobby Shop and asking for their assistance and./or advice, but then I remember I have a bottle of something called quik-set (or something similar) and I decide to try using it as a cleaning fluid. I give both pieces a little squirt, wipe them off with a Q-tip and give the Superglue another try. This time it works. Geez.
After going through all this rigamarole, I'm thinking a couple of scanning electron micrographs might go a long way towards explaining why I had such a hard time getting these parts to stick together, so I go looking for pictures. Lots of micrographs, but I couldn't find any of glue. The picture above isn't glue, but it is a micrograph of some sort of silicon. And it's colorized, which is kind of cool.