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Table 1 Applications of cellulose nitrate/cellulose acetate according to the nitrogen content/acetyl content and the degree of substitution (DS) [30, 34]

From: A diagnostic tool for assessing the conservation condition of cellulose nitrate and acetate in heritage collections: quantifying the degree of substitution by infrared spectroscopy

PolymerApplicationsNitrogen/acetyl content (%)aDegree of substitutionb
Cellulose nitrateExplosives12–13.52.26–2.76
Adhesives122.26
Film base122.26
Lacquers, coatings11.2–122.02–2.26
Plastics10.5–11.21.83–2.02
Cellulose acetateInjection molding52.1–54.32.2–2.3
Film54.3–56.42.3–2.4
Lacquers56.4–59.32.4–2.6
Film and fiber60.7–62.852.9–3.0
  1. aValues in italic were used for our case studies: cinematographic films and photographic negatives. In the case of the artworks from José Escada, the injection molding values were considered as the original DS
  2. bThe degree of substitution can be calculated from the nitrogen and acetyl contents (%) by the following equations [12, 35]: DS = \( \frac{{3.60 \times \left( {{\text{\% nitrogen }}} \right) }}{{31. 13 - \left( {\% nitrogen} \right)}} ; \) DS = \( 162 \times \left( {\frac{{3.86 \times \left( {{\text{\% acetyl}}} \right)}}{{102.4 - \left( { {\text{\% acetyl}}} \right)}}} \right) \)