cellulose acetate

n. a plastic comprised of hydrolyzed cellulose that is commonly found as a base of photographic film and other audiovisual media and which releases acetic acid as it degrades


Variant forms of cellulose acetate include cellulose diacetate and cellulose triacetate. Cellulose diacetate was commonly used as the base of photographic and motion picture films beginning in the early twentieth century. It was replaced by cellulose triacetate in the mid-twentieth century. Use of cellulose triacetate as a film base was largely, but not entirely, superseded by polyester beginning in the 1950s. Clear sheets of cellulose triacetate are used as protective sleeves for photographs. Deterioration of cellulose acetate films often results in a condition called vinegar syndrome.