The compound that acted as a savior of the movie industry: Cellulose acetate

15-May-2017 | Zion Market Research

Long back, the photographic film was deemed to be a risky medium. The core substance that carried the pictures, the actual ‘film’ itself, was celluloid, derived from nitrocellulose or cellulose nitrate, also called as guncotton. This is severely flammable compounds that can impulsively burn if stored under the inappropriate circumstances. And then cellulose acetate, early natural plastic, emerged as the savior of the movie industry.

Cellulose is a natural polymer, polysaccharide fabricated from glucose molecules. It is present in the cell walls of green plants. Around, in 1865, the Paul Schützenberger, French chemist, learned that acetic anhydride can interact with cellulose obtained from the wood pulp, to make a new composite, cellulose acetate. Later, nearly after 15 years from its discovery, Henri and Camille Dreyfus, made the compound much more significant.

Let’s have a glimpse of few general properties and applications of this compound.

General Properties

The granules of this compound are a high-performance thermoplastic with a distinctive blend of characteristics that make it the substance of choice for several purposes, which include:

  • High influence and mechanical strength;
  • Compatibility with human skin;
  • High visual appeal and transparency;
  • Elevated dielectric constant;
  • Good resistance to several chemicals;
  • Excellent machineability;
  • Ability to be presented in a limitless array of colors.

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Chemical resistance

Has good chemical resistance to:

  • Paraffinic hydrocarbons;
  • Diluted aqueous solutions with acidic base and inorganic salts;
  • Solutions with fatty matter;
  • Superior alcohols.

Is chemically affected by

  • Soluble in esters, acetone, strong mineral bases, acids;
  • Alcohols, solvents, or aromatic hydrocarbons with nitrobenzene, chlorine, or analogous aromatic solvents. It will enlarge and lose plastification after coming in contact with them;
  • Chemically degenerates with oxidizing salts.


  • Wound dressings;
  • Textiles and fibers;
  • Tools;
  • Film media;
  • Personal hygiene items;
  • Spectacle frames;
  • Absorbent wipes and cloths;
  • Specialty papers;
  • Filter media, consisting of cigarette filters. Such stuffs are regularly designated to as “tow.”

With so many properties, the growth of the cellulose acetate market is expected to uplift around the globe.

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