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Negative effects[edit]

The negative effects of the nitrocellulose in the environment and positiveand also the overview.

That sentence no verb. scot 14:05, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with the statement that Kodak marked its NITRATE film in Red print Between the Perfs. In over 35 years of working with the material I have Always seen the word Nitrate printed in Black ink on the Base side of the film Between the line of perforations and the edge of the film. Another way Kodak identified Nitrate were the Splicing tics (small dashes every 4 perfs) if the tics are paralell with the film it is safety film if the tics are at a right angle to the legnth of the film it is Nitrate. Another thing to keep in mind is that you will often see the markings in clear on a black background, if that is the case especially on positive films it is the effect of printing thru the black ink markings of the negative.


No 16mm or colour negative nitrate motion picture film was manufactured[edit]

The sentence 'Color negative film was never manufactured with a nitrate base, nor were 8 mm or 16 mm motion picture film stocks.' is certainly incorrect on one count, and probably on two. The Soviets and Chinese manufactured 16mm nitrate, at least to a limited extent. I have personally handled a 16mm nitrate print of 'The Green River Flows East' (China, 1949). For anecdotal evidence of Russian 16mm nitrate, see Roger Smither & Catherine Surowiec (eds.), This Film is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film (Brussels, 2004), p. 197 (footnote). There were a number of single-strip lenticular and chromogenic (dye coupler) colour systems which predated the commercial introduction of cellulose triacetate in 1950-52, e.g. Agfacolor and Dufaycolor. While I have no proof that the negative stock was manufactured on nitrate base, I see no reason why it would have been on one of the pre-triacetate safety bases that existed, but were only used on a very limited scale for motion picture film, pre-1950 (e.g. diacetate, propionate). Two- and three-strip Technicolor negatives, though not strictly 'colour' in themselves (as the emulsion on each was monochrome), were certainly nitrate.

C6H8(NO2)2O5 ?[edit]

Aren't there only 7 hydrogens in nitrocellulose? Cellulose has 10, and 3 hydroxyl groups are nitrated, yes? I'm not quite positive, but I'll make the change in a few days if nobody objects. 19:34, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Wait, shouldn't there also be 3 nitrate groups instead of 2? 19:38, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Rocket Fuel[edit]

Was nitrocellulose not also used as rocket fuel (rocket propellant)? See the entry on Wikipedia for katyusa rockets.

--Skb8721 00:50, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Another use for flash paper[edit]

I understand flash paper used(?) to be used by bookies because it could be instantly destroyed in case of a raid -- particularly easy in the days when everyone smoked. Or maybe that was just on TV... --Wfaxon 22:17, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

How to make[edit]

Hi there how do you make gun cotton or where can i get flash paper and is it possable to make flash paper??

the reason for this is for a film me and some friends want to make however we cant find flash paper (not even in magicians stores)

Also how does one go around making that Fireball from flash paper? you know the one that looks like its a supernatural power comming from the persons hand? in anyways thanks in advance !!! One more thing whats the safest distance to be at when making a fireball from your hand? (in the term of the other object)

Maverick423 17:26, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Nitric acid and paper. (talk) 03:57, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

First of all, cool down some concentrated sulphuric acid (98% H2SO4) and some concentrated
nitric acid (70% HNO3) to about 0 degrees Celsius.
Add two volumes H2SO4 to 1 volume HNO3 in a glass beaker and stir with a glass rod.
Put some cotton paper in the mixture and wait for about 30 minutes
Remove the paper from the acids and wash it with water. Then, submerge the paper in a
solution of sodium bicarbonate to neutralize any remaining acid.
Let the paper dry at a cool spot (do NOT heat it to dry it. Nitrocellulose has a low point
of inition).
Your flash paper is ready.

K Koutoulis 07:55, 29 February 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by K Koutoulis (talkcontribs)

Viscosity of nitrocellulose solution

Let me know whether , viscosity of nirtocellulose solution changes for diffrent conc. of nitrocellulose ?

There are many literatures available for viscosity of nitrocellulose in solution for a given conc. of nitrocellulose in diffrent solvent or mixture of solvent. Eg. 10 % solution of nitrocellulose in acetone , cellosolve , esters etc. is different for diffrent solvents.

But I want to know whether viscosity of nitrocellulose changes for diffrent conc. of nitrocellulose in the same solvent ?

for eg. using a solvent mixture of 66% N - Propanol and 34 % cellsolve. Now will the viscosity of solution be different for 6% solution of nitrocellulose and 8 % solution of nitrocellulose. Will the viscosity increase if conc. of same grade of nitrocellulose is increased. i.e ( 6% , 8 % , 10 % , 12 % ). Or will the the viscosity remain same , no matter what the % solid content of nitrocellulose is .


"It was then slowly dried at a temperature below 100°C." Is this accurate? 100 degrees celcius is the boiling point of water and generally not something you get naturally. Its not like "store out of direct sunlight" or something. Anyone know if this is the actual case, or if maybe it was farenheit? WookMuff 08:40, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

If you've ever tried to dry something in an oven, you will realize that 120°F will take forever. 180°F to 210°F ("<100°C") is reasonable even for an explosive. (talk) 02:48, 2 April 2013 (UTC)


flash paper is commonly used in pro wrestling to create a 'fire ball' that one wrestler will throw at an opponent, creating the illusion of a dangerous attack

Navy Training Film[edit]

"The US Navy shot a training film for projectionists that included footage of a controlled ignition of a reel of nitrate film, which continued to burn even when fully submerged in water."

If the film being referred to is This Film is Dangerous, then it was not shot by the US Navy, but commissioned by the (British) Royal Navy, in 1948. LDGE (talk) 17:44, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Other errors in nitrate film section[edit]

"Decades later storage at low temperatures was discovered as a means of delaying these reactions indefinitely." (my emphasis) Not strictly true. Research (mainly through Arrhenius testing) on the decomposition of cellulose esters by the Image Permanence Institute and others have established that if nitrate film is put into cold and dry storage before it has reached stage 2 in the FIAF decomposition scale, its decomposition can be inhibited (i.e. the process slowed down, not 'delayed', which implies that it is prevented from happening at all) for possibly up to several hundreds of years, depending on the level of acidity in the film base to start with (which varies quite a lot between manufacturers and time periods). But that is not 'indefinite', and best practice in film preservation includes regular inspection of all nitrate elements in passive conservation.

"The material was replaced by polyester or PET film, which is much more resistant to polymer degradation." It was initially replaced by cellulose triacetate (see C. Fordyce, 'Improved Safety Motion Picture Film Support', Journal of the SMPE, vol. 51 (1948), pp.331-50) for camera negatives, intermediate elements and release printing in the motion picture industry. Polyester was not used on any significant scale until the late '80s/early '90s, and even then only for release printing.

If no-one raises any objections I'll edit the section to incorporate these corrections in a few days. LDGE (talk) 07:03, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

exploding billiard balls[edit]

This section cites a page that cites wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:55, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Lethal dosis[edit]

The nitrocellulose it self is non toxic The toxicity depends of the damping agent ex. Ethanol, Di ethilic ehter, acetone, etc. Erroneous valour LD 56mg/Kg. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lacrthxx14 (talkcontribs) 00:45, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

So is it used or not?[edit]

I noticed that under pages like the Improved Military Rifle, and Smokeless Powder pages, nitrocellulose is mentioned as being one of the primary ingredients in forming modern smokeless powder. Yet on this page it sounds mostly like nitrocellulose is not used any more because it is too unstable and volatile. Which is it? -- (talk) 19:36, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

It is used; and, yes, nitrocellulose is inherently unstable. The manufacturing process for military-grade nitrocellulose contains processing stages to reduce the levels of impurities that can contribute to instability and Smokeless powders contain stabilisers to counteract these effects; and for military powders with a long intended "shelf life" that meant carrying out periodic stability testing. Pyrotec (talk) 14:50, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Article is fundamentally flawed[edit]

This article is fundamentally flawed in that it mixes up the different nitrated cellulose products. Pyroxylin (Greek "fire" + "wood"), a partially nitrated product, is mentioned only tangentially, although that was the product which was widely used and first plasticized with camphor. Early chemists were quite good at elemental analysis, and knew how much nitrogen had been introduced. Pyroxylin is characterized by being soluble in a low-cost mixture of ethyl ether and alcohol as well as other solvents; more highly nitrated guncotton is only soluble in more expensive esters or ketones such as amyl acetate or acetone. Collodion was made with pyroxylin. Only guncotton was in fact "insoluble nitrocellulose", intended to be as fully nitrated as practical when used as an explosive or ingredient. The issues of purity and shelf life apply to both.

The original sources need to be examined to determine what they were using. Does a more fully nitrated product make a better billiard ball (doubtful)? Or perhaps a clearer motion picture film (possible)? (talk) 03:26, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Article is also flawed in its narrative of how the material was "invented." If the supposed three independent researchers developed it in the same year of 1846, where is the justification for the claim of who first developed it? got it - was Schönbein.Wikibearwithme (talk) 05:51, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Schönbein & his exploding apron?[edit]

Many sources — including this article — claim that Christian Frederich Schönbein accidentally invented guncotton when he mopped up some spilled nitric acid with his wife's apron. However, no source provides an original source for this story (which is extremely suspicious). Indeed, Schönbein himself makes no mention of it in his own account of how guncotton was invented:

In his original announcement of his invention of guncotton, he does not mention any apron:

  • Schönbein (May 27, 1846) "Ueber Schiesswolle" (On guncotton) Bericht über die Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel, 7 : 27.

As late as 1901, in a German monograph that was devoted to him and his work, there's no mention of any apron:

  • Georg W. A. Kahlbaum, "Schiessbaumwolle und Kollodium. 1846-1853." (Guncotton and collodion. 1846-1853.) in: Monographieen aus der Geschichte der Chemie: Christian Friedrich Schönbein 1799-1868. (Leipzig, Germany: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1901), pp. 109-178.

Indeed, Schönbein provides only a slight hint about how he might have discovered guncotton. In —

Schönbein states on p. 104 that when he treated sugar with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids, the resulting compound would form a brownish red solution in warm potassium carbonate solution. "Diese, bis zur Trockniss abgedampft, lässt einen braunschwarzen Rückstand, der in der Hitze verpufft." (This, evaporated to dryness, leaves a brownish black residue, which detonates in heat.) Thus he knew that mixing sugar with nitric and sulfuric acids would form an explosive. Since Henri Braconnot had shown in 1819 that wood could be transformed into sugar by means of sulfuric acid —

it would not require a great leap of imagination to suspect that subjecting vegetable fibers (e.g., cotton) to a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids might also produce an explosive compound.

Meanwhile, I will continue to look for the earliest mention of the explosive apron story. Cwkmail (talk) 08:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

So far, the earliest mention of Mr. Schönbein and his exploding apron occurs in:

Stephen Fenichell, Plastic – The making of a synthetic century (New York, New York: Harperbusiness, 1996), page 27.

Cwkmail (talk) 07:33, 3 February 2014 (UTC)