Cellulose acetate butyrate

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A thermoplastic polymer composed Cellulose esterified with both Acetic acid and Butyric acid. Cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) became a commercial product in 1938. It is similar for Cellulose diacetate except that it is tougher, more durable and has better dimensional stability. CAB is used for photographic film, varnishes and moldings. It is often found in sheets and has been sold under the name of motion picture safety film. CAB was used for x-ray films until 1947 when triacetates were added.

Synonyms and Related Terms

CAB; cellulose acetobutyrate; cellulose butyrate; butyrate resin; acetobutirato de celulosa (Esp.); acetobutirato de celulose (Port.)

Examples: Tenite; Urex; Hercose C; Ester EAB-171;

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Burns with difficulty to produce a dark yellow flame that smells of acetic acid (vinegar) and butyric acid (vomit).
  • Soluble in acetone, methylene chloride (depending on butyral content).
Density 1.15-1.25 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.47


General Characteristics of Polymers

Physical Properties for Selected Thermoplastic Resins

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 171
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • M.Kaufman, The First Century of Plastics, The Plastics and Rubber Institute, London, 1963

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