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With the development of nitrocellulose paint in the early 1920s. The drying speed of new paint is even faster and can be sprayed with a spray gun. Best of all, an unlimited palette is opened. Nitrocellulose was quickly adopted in the automotive industry and was the ultimate choice until the late 1950s.
Furniture and musical instrument manufacturers have also switched to nitrocellulose lacquer, in most cases referred to as "lacquer". Until the mid-1960s, almost all collectible acoustic and electric guitars were manufactured with nitrocellulose lacquer.
What is it?
Cellulose is an organic compound composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is found in the cell walls of plants and algae and is the most abundant organic polymer on earth. The human body uses cellulose as dietary fiber. Since the middle of the 19th century, cellulose-derived products have been used in photography, clothing and explosives industries.
In 1862, Alexander Parkes treated cellulose with nitric acid and a solvent to produce the first man-made plastic-nitrocellulose. The process is actually the same as the production of trinitrotoluene (also known as TNT or explosives), which has nothing to do with the authorities' sensitivity to restrict its use in industry.
An employee of DuPont named Edmund Flaherty invented nitrocellulose lacquer in 1921. Nitrocellulose is dissolved in a solvent, which may contain naphtha, xylene, toluene, acetone, various ketones and plasticizers to enhance durability and flexibility. The resulting liquid can be sprayed and the extremely volatile diluent evaporates almost immediately, leaving a layer of nitrocellulose solid.
When applying subsequent coatings, the thinner will melt the surface of the previous coating, allowing the new coating to bond with it. In this sense, nitrocellulose paint is very similar to shellac, which is another natural polymer paint with a longer history. However, nitrocellulose paint is tougher and more resistant to scratches.
Nitrocellulose paint can also absorb pigments and dyes well, and can be polished and polished into mirror paint. Its long-lasting popularity on the surface of musical instruments is based on its beautiful depth and luster, its ability to protect wood without suppressing resonance, and the so-called "breathing" ability. It also enables you to drip repair the chip and wipe off surface scratches.
However, compared with modern finishes, the drying speed of nitrocellulose paint is slow, so it will take more time and energy to obtain high-quality results. In addition, the chemicals in the varnish are harmful to health and the environment, and-due to the high flammability-storing large amounts of nitrocellulose varnish is dangerous.
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