The fiber is thermoplastic, and thus can be formed into a desired shape by applying heat and pressure. They are primarily used for apparels and commercial furnishings.
Cotton linters or wood chips are converted into sheets of pure cellulose. The cellulose is then put into a glacial acetic acid and aged for come time under controlled temperature conditions. After the process of aging is complete, it is mixed with acetic anhydride.
A small amount of sulfuric acid is also added, which acts as catalyst. The reaction produces a thick, clear liquid solution of cellulose acetate. The dope, so formed, is mixed with water, causing the formation of white flakes, which are then dried, dissolved in acetone. Thee process then leads to the formation of acetate.
Acetate has a number of uses. Some of them are:
- Industrial fabrics
- Home and commercial furnishings