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nitric acid esterester,
any one of a group of organic compounds with general formula RCO2R′ (where R and R′ are alkyl groups or aryl groups) that are formed by the reaction between an alcohol and an acid.
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 of cellulosecellulose,
chief constituent of the cell walls of plants. Chemically, it is a carbohydrate that is a high molecular weight polysaccharide. Raw cotton is composed of 91% pure cellulose; other important natural sources are flax, hemp, jute, straw, and wood.
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 (a glucose polymer). It is usually formed by the action of a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids on purified cotton or wood pulp. The extent of nitration and degradation (breaking down) of the cellulose is carefully controlled in order to obtain the desired product. When cotton is treated so that nearly all of the hydroxyl groups of the cellulose molecule are esterified, but with little or no degradation of the molecular structure, the nitrocellulose formed is called guncotton. Guncotton resembles cotton in its appearance. Extremely flammable, it explodes when detonated and is used in the manufacture of explosives. Guncotton is insoluble in such common solvents as water, chloroform, ether, and ethanol. If the nitration is not carried to completion (the point at which about two thirds of the hydroxyl groups are esterified), the soluble cellulose nitrate pyroxylinpyroxylin
, partially nitrated cellulose (see nitrocellulose). It is used in lacquers, plastics, and artificial leathers. Pyroxylin lacquers are made by dissolving pyroxylin in a mixture of volatile solvents and adding a plasticizer and a pigment or dye.
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 is formed.
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(organic chemistry)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cellulose nitrate

A material formed by the reaction of cellulose fibers with nitric and sulfuric acids. Those with lower nitrogen content are used as binders in lacquers and are very inflammable. A high nitrogen content results in nitrocellulose, an explosive.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Using a smokeless powder charge to create compressed air in an underbarrel chamber, despite its name, it did not throw dynamite at the Spaniards, but a projectile loaded with a nitro-cellulose gelatin charge.
During the war, the .380 Mark 2z, loaded with nitro-cellulose powder instead of Cordite, was adopted.
According to secret MI5 files made public yesterday, the Nazi plotters had with them cans of "Prepared French Peas" containing nitro-cellulose. The trio were held in Dublin's Mountjoy jail where they told an informer they had been heading for England with a "definite plan to blow up Buckingham Palace".
During World War II, the .380 Mark 2z with nitro-cellulose powder replacing Cordite was approved for service.
380 Mark 2z (with nitro-cellulose powder replacing Cordite was adopted.
The later "Cartridge....380 Mark 2z" used nitro-cellulose powder instead of Cordite.