Man's physical universe



All pyroxylin plastics suffer from the disadvantage of being extremely


It has been found that acetic acid can replace

nitric acid in its action on cellulose and that the cellulose acetate thus

produced is much less inflammable.

Fig. 290. Two identical sheets of

"Louverglas" placed at different

angles. Abov-e it appears as transparent

sheeting; below it appears

translucent. (Courtesy of the E. I.

du Pont de Nemours Company.)

Cellulose acetate is marketed extensively

as dress fabrics known

generally as "acetates." The socalled

"safety" motion-picture

films are made from cellulose

acetate. Many difficulties in the

preparation of cellulose acetate

products had to be overcome, but

they are now rapidly replacing

pyroxylin lacquers and plastics.

The E. I. du Pont de Nemours and

Company's "Plastacele" cellulose

acetate plastic is an example.

used in

It is

such materials as airplane

cowlings, decorative jewelry, musical

instruments, lamp shades, watch

crystals, steering wheels, combs,

bottle caps, and safety glass.

"Tenite" is a plastic material made from cellulose acetate and

cellulose acetate butyrate by the Tennessee Eastman Company.

4. Ethers. The Dow Chemical Company manufactures ethyl

cellulose under the trade name of "Ethocel." This product is an

ethyl ether of cellulose resulting from the

interaction of ethyl chloride and alkali

cellulose. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless,

stable to heat and chemicals, slow-burning,

flexible, and tough. These and other desirable

properties make it one of the most

versatile of cellulose derivatives for the

manufacture of coating compositions, films,

and plastics.

5. Decomposition Products. The production

of charcoal by heating wood in

an absence of air is an old industry. The

by-products of this decomposition are acetic

Fig. 291. Telephone

equipment made from Tenite.

(Courtesy of the Tennessee

Eastman Corporation.)

acid and wood alcohol (methanol). The synthesis of acetic acid

from acetylene and the synthesis of wood alcohol (methyl alcohol)

from carbon monoxide and hydrogen reduced the value of these

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