The main component in cotton is cellulose. Cellulose makes up 90% of cotton and is also a major component of plant cell walls. It is a polymer of Glucose. Cellulose is a polysaccharide, which means that it can support things, usually plant cells.

The cellulose molecule is shaped like a long chain. When the chains are packed against each other it forms a strong, rigid, insoluble fiber. Their structure also allows it to be flexible like in the clothing that we wear. An odd use for cellulose, besides clothing, is to make an explosive material. In the 1830’s it was found that if you combined cellulose with nitric acid that it forms a highly flammable, explosive white power. Eventually this powder became known as Guncotton for its explosive and cotton bases. Sadly, Guncotton was found to be highly unstable, this is not a good thing to have when you are dealing with explosives. Guncotton did have some good uses though; chemists used this material in the making of the first photographic films. So just think, with out this little molecule you might never have movies or TV.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Cellulose

  1. laurelap17

    Ian, I liked that you highlighted the major points of the chapter without boring me with unneeded information. It was very concise and simple to understand. I do wish you had written more about your personal opinions of the chapter.

  2. sammi107

    I liked that you were able to sum up the chapter so well and all the scientific points you made were very true. It, generally, is not a good sign if explosive matter is unstable so I’m glad they stopped using it.

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