Acetate film

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A transparent, colorless plastic film composed of Cellulose acetate (CA), Cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) or Cellulose propionate (CP). Cellulose acetate was first used as a photographic film in 1908 (Eastman-Kodak) and by 1910 the acetate film produced by Dreyfus in France started to replace cellulose nitrate motion picture film. Sheets of cellulose acetate were marketed by 1927. Cellulose acetate butyrate became a commercial product in 1938 and after some initial production difficulties, cellulose propionate followed in 1955. All of these are classified as 'slow burning' by the Underwriters' Laboratories. Because of this property and their excellent dimensional stability, cellulose acetates have been used as motion picture safety film to minimize any fire hazard during projection. They have also been used for animation cells. Other uses include laminations, document preservation, pressure sensitive tape, sound recording tape, windows in paper envelopes and food packaging.

Synonyms and Related Terms

safety film; non-flam film; acetate base film; acetaat film (Ned.); film acétate (Fr.); Azetatfilm (Deut.); Sichersheitsfilm (Deut.); film d'acetato (It.); pellicola all'acetato di cellulosa (It.); pelicula de acetato (Esp.); película de acetato (Port.); cellulosaacetatfilm (Sven.); film in acetato (It.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Cellulose diacetate: soluble in acetone, insoluble in water. Cellulose triacetate: soluble in methylene chloride; insoluble in acetone, water. Cellulose acetate butyrate; insoluble in acetone or methylene chloride.

Resources and Citations

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976 Comment: CA film first made in 1909; CP film made in 1945
  • Website: - "in 1908 Eastman Kodak introduced a cellulose triacetate film 1910 the Dreyfus plant produced a true acetate film"
  • Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, R.E.Kirk, D.F.Othmer (eds.), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1984 Comment: CA film marketed 1929, CP film made 1945 then withdrawn and reissued in 1955.
  • John S. Mills, Raymond White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heineman, London, 2nd ed., 1994