Cellulose Acetate is derived from cellulose using acetylation process - by deconstructing high purity dissolving wood pulp with acetic acid and acetic acid anhydride in the presence of a catalyst -sulfuric acid. Acetylation converts hydroxyl groups in cellulose to acetyl groups, which renders the cellulose polymer much more soluble in organic solvents. It is then put through a controlled, partial hydrolysis to remove the sulfate and to split sufficient number of acetyl groups in order to give the product the desired properties. The newly formed Cellulose acetate is then extensively washed, further stabilized and dried. The flakes are stored temporarily in large silos for further internal or external processing.
Cellulose acetate and Cellulose triacetate are similar fiber although their chemical compositions and formulae differ. Triacetate is known as a generic description or primary acetate containing no hydroxyl group. Acetate fiber is known as modified or secondary acetate having an acetyl group on approximately two of every three hydroxyl groups.