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Can Nitrocellulose Ignite Spontaneously?

06, May. 2020

As a Nitrocellulose Solution Exporter, share with you.

Nitrocellulose is a compound produced by the action of nitric acid and cellulose (mainly cotton or wood pulp), the nitro group replaces the hydrogen on the hydroxyl group of the cellulose molecule, commonly known as nitrocellulose.

Nitrocellulose Solution

Nitrocellulose Solution

In 1838, T.J.Peluz first discovered that cotton could explode after being soaked in nitric acid. This was the first time in the world that the existence of cellulose ester derivatives was discovered; in 1845, German chemist CF Schonbein dipped cotton In the mixed solution of nitric acid and sulfuric acid, and then wash off the excess acid, thereby inventing nitrocellulose, the industry generally believes that this is the successful preparation of nitrocellulose.

Nitrocellulose is a substance that can slowly decompose by itself at room temperature. This continuous decomposition will gradually deteriorate it, and may even cause spontaneous combustion explosion. Nitrocellulose can decompose on its own to cause spontaneous combustion explosions, it sounds scary.

In fact, under stable storage conditions, the decomposition rate of nitrocellulose is very slow and difficult to detect. It has good stability and will not decompose spontaneously for long-term storage.

You can feel the power of nitrocellulose burning, how can you not spontaneously ignite? Let me talk about it below.

First, nitrocellulose needs to be stabilized. Because nitrocellulose is accompanied by unstable impurities (such as residual acid, cellulose sulfate, nitrosulfur mixed ester, and various nitrated sugars) during the manufacturing process, these unstable impurities are easily decomposed, and the decomposition products catalyze and nitrocellulose The autocatalytic decomposition of the element itself accelerates the decomposition rate of nitrocellulose. Nitrocellulose can only be stable for long-term storage if the nitrocellulose is treated with a stabilizer (wetting agent) to completely remove unstable impurities and the catalytic effect of nitrocellulose itself is slow. Whether nitrocellulose is used in paints, inks, celluloid products, nitrolacquer industry or military gunpowder, its stable treatment is essential. This stabilization process is a process that the manufacturer must deal with before the product leaves the factory, and users need not worry about its stability.

Secondly, contact with acid is strictly prohibited. If the finished nitrocellulose contains a small amount or a large amount of acid, it will cause the local acid concentration to be too large, causing denitrification and hydrolysis, and the hydrolysate will further decompose the nitrocellulose. This automatic catalytic process is repeated, which will eventually lead to the burning of nitrocellulose explosion.

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