Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT IX

SECTION 5

CELLULOSE IS THE RAW MATERIAL FOR MANY "BETTER

THINGS FOR BETTER LIVING"

Introduction.

The slogan of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (the largest

chemical company in the United States) is "Better Things for Better

Living through Chemistry."

In this Section there will be given a brief

survey of some of the entirely new and "better things" which have

been made from cellulose as a raw material. These new textiles, plastics,

and other materials represent an improvement over age-old substances,

making available hundreds of new products which are not

only more beautiful and more durable, but also much cheaper than the

natural products which they replace.

In many cases these new products

have found unique places for themselves which were never filled

by natural products.

Perhaps even more important than the new products are the new

jobs and higher standards of living which these synthetic materials

make possible. Through the aid of chemistry we have been able to

utilize waste products such as cotton linters to build an industry which

provided employment for more than fifty thousand workers in the

production of rayon alone in the United States in 1937.

The major portion of these developments have come since the World

War of 1914-1918, and it is generally agreed that they represent but

the merest sample of the achievements yet to be wrought by creative

chemistry in the utilization of cellulose as a raw material.

Many New Products Are Now Made from Cellulose.

Cellulose, as we have previously learned, is a complex carbohydrate

that makes up the framework of the woody and fibrous plants. Large

amounts of cellulose, in the form of waste wood, straw, etc., are still

burned annually to get rid of them; but it is predicted that it will not

be long before man will be raising plants just for their cellulose. The

industries using cellulose are divided into five main groups on the basis

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