cellulose nitrate


: any of several nitric-acid esters of cellulose used especially for making plastics and explosives : nitrocellulose
Cellulose nitrate film was introduced in 1887 and was used until about 1950. It is inherently unstable and highly flammable.Sally A. Buchanan et al.

Examples of cellulose nitrate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But recent infrared spectrometer analysis by scientists affiliated with the Art Institute of Chicago revealed that the polymer was actually cellulose nitrate, one of the plastics that can release harmful gaseous acids. Sarah Everts, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2016 Kodak kept its technical leadership by introducing the first safety film (made of cellulose acetate, rather than of highly flammable cellulose nitrate) in 1908. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Aug. 2018 Researchers in Italy and Austria took five da Vinci drawings from the Royal Library of Turin and two from the Corsinian Library in Rome, including his famous self-portrait the Man in Red Chalk, and carefully dabbed each of the surfaces with sterile membranes made of cellulose nitrate. Matt Simon, Wired, 25 Nov. 2020 Unfortunately, cellulose nitrate is highly flammable. Rebecca Coffey, Discover Magazine, 25 Sep. 2012 Eventually Hyatt began playing around with cellulose nitrate—cotton treated with nitric and sulfuric acids—at his own peril, given that the compound was extremely flammable. Matt Simon, WIRED, 27 Oct. 2022 The warehouse is owned by the national film institute, Cinemateca, and houses South America's largest collection of films, some made of cellulose nitrate, a highly flammable material. DÉbora Álvares, Star Tribune, 29 July 2021 Because the drawings are extremely delicate, the team carefully dabbed their surfaces with sterile membranes made of cellulose nitrate and used gentle suction tubes to remove microbes without damaging the paper. Nora McGreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Nov. 2020 But almost all cellulose nitrate film has self-destructed in the last 100 years. Lily Rothman, Time, 18 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cellulose nitrate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cellulose nitrate was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near cellulose nitrate

Cite this Entry

“Cellulose nitrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cellulose%20nitrate. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

cellulose nitrate

: any of several esters of nitric acid formed by the action of nitric acid on cellulose (as paper, linen, or cotton) and used for making explosives, plastics, and varnishes

called also nitrocellulose

see guncotton, pyroxylin

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