Nitrocellulose Motion Picture Film Decomposition

Chemistry, Technology
[caption id="attachment_13904" align="alignright" width="440"] Film Decomposition - Library of Congress[/caption] If you’re like me, you enjoy not only some of the more modern offerings of the motion picture industry, but many of the gems from the golden era. Sadly, some excellent productions are either damaged or lost due to nitrocellulose motion picture film decomposition. Nitrocellulose Motion Picture Film Motion picture films incorporate an emulsion atop a “plastic” substrate. Historically, this substrate has been made from three basic materials. The oldest of film varieties was cellulose nitrate, a.k.a. nitrocellulose. Films produced using this material were, and are, the most susceptible to loss through deterioration. It’s a matter of chemistry. Chemical Structures Notice the structure of cellulose, a major component of plant fiber. Then examine the largely similar structure of nitrocellulose. Take…
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