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1116512.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:09 pm Reply with quote

I was asked by a secondary school pupil recently "Sir, why are glue sticks cylindrical?"

Any thoughts?

sally carr
1116521.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:41 pm Reply with quote

What other shape could they be?

1116523.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:44 pm Reply with quote

I think that is exactly the debate they were trying to start. They pointed out it would be more efficient to pack and transport multiple gluesticks if they were cuboid and suggested this form would not impede the usage.

1116636.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:56 am Reply with quote

I suspect rectangular sticks might be easier to pack, but cylindrical ones are easier and cheaper to manufacture.

As small, shopliftable items, they're usually packed onto backing cards anyway, so the shape doesn't make much difference.

I have a book of recipes for various household chemicals you can make at home. Small sticks -- lip balm, furniture scratch repair, etc. -- they suggest moulding in matchboxes, since this is easier at home than trying to find small cylinders, and it doesn't make any difference to the use of the product.

1116637.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:00 am Reply with quote

I'd have thought that the corners would come off easily in a big(ish) lump and leave a mess when you're glueing. This might be less likely with a cylinder.

1116639.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:05 am Reply with quote

Just of the top of my head:

A circular column is less likely to jam and will have the lowest friction (best surface area to volume ratio). It also lends itself to continuous-casting or extrusion, although I don't know if either process is used here. The container will be the most damage-resistant, having no corners to act as stress-concentrators. Fittings like the cap, decorative bands and the screwcap on the base have much lower manufacturing tollerence requirements for circular cross-sections than for other shapes. And it's much easier to roll-on or roll-paint decorative elements like decals and paint trim.


1116742.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:23 pm Reply with quote

According to Pritt:

Pritt wrote:
In 1969 Henkel invented the world's first glue stick after studying the "twist-up ease" and convenience of lipstick applicators.

1116754.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:43 pm Reply with quote

Wow, I'm impressed at the quantity and quality of the responses. Thanks to you all. I have enough here to keep them quiet for some time.

Another point about teaching and adhesives...

We ordered some gluesticks once and they were blue in colour but dried clear. Even more strange was the smell. It caused much disruption in the lessons... I am sure it was almonds. Pupils said it smelt like marzipan, Dr Pepper and other things.

1116757.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:54 pm Reply with quote

Also, in the manufacturing process, it may be that the glue is poured or extruded into the container. The glue is more likely to correctly fill all of a cylindrical container, whereas it may have trouble flowing into the corners of a rectanguler one.

Spud McLaren
1116797.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:42 pm Reply with quote

milorambaldi wrote:
We ordered some gluesticks once and they were blue in colour but dried clear.
I bought some brilliant white emulsion paint that was pink when applied, but dried white. The rationale was that often you're using it over an already-white surface, so having a different colour when wet allows you to see where you've applied and where you've missed a bit.

1116798.  Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:45 pm Reply with quote

Very clever. Can't see the use in exercise books sadly so feel it was an inconvenient gimmick by the manufacturer. Was as bad as thunder storms or snow for classroom focus!

1116921.  Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:40 am Reply with quote

I had some liquid roll-on glue once that went on pinkish-purple and dried clear. Sold particularly as paper-crafting glue. It was very useful for seeing where you'd applied it.


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