Born Mar 6 1917 - Died Mar 26 2011
Alcohol-Catalyzed Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Compositions
Patent Number(s) 2,768,109
Harry Coover's discovery of cyanoacrylates, a class of chemicals with
powerful adhesive properties, opened the door to a wide range of industrial,
consumer, and medical applications, most notably as superglue. While
working as a research chemist at Eastman Kodak during world war II,
Coover worked with cyanocrylates in an effort to produce an optically
clear plastic to use for precision gunsights. These chemicals proved
to be unsuited to this particular task, but Coover recognized their
potential applications as an adhesive.
During the Vietnam war, field surgeons made dramatic use of cyanoacrylate
by spraying it on potentially fatal wounds to stop bleeding instantly,
thus allowing them to treat the wounds later in a conventional manner.
Cyanoacrylate adhesives are currently used for medical procedures such
as performing sutureless surgery to rejoin veins and arteries, sealing
punctures or lesions, and sealing bleeding ulcers.
Harry Coover was born in Newark, Delaware. He received his B.S. from
Hobart College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Coover,
who holds 460 patents, is also responsible for advances in the fields
of graft polymerization, organophosphorus chemistry, and olefin polymerization.