Cellulose is the most abundant renewable resource in nature, and billions of tons can be produced by photosynthesis annually. In recent years, as oil and coal reserves decline, the importance of this renewable resource—cellulose has been increasingly significant. Especially today, the environmental pollution problems have become increasingly prominent, forcing people to refocus on this renewable resource—cellulose with biological degradation and environmental coordination.
Cellulose esters can be divided into inorganic acid esters and organic acid esters of cellulose. There are cellulose esters, acetates, propionates, butyrates, acetate butyrates, higher fatty acid esters, aromatic esters and dicarboxylic acid esters, etc.
Cellulose ethers are the products with the natural cellulose as the basic raw material, after alkalization and etherification reactions. Of the cellulose ether products, carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), hydroxy ethyl cellulose (HEC), hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC), and hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) are the representatives, and their products have been commercialized.
Prospects and Outlook
Even today, studies of cellulose have yielded fruitful results. However, most cellulose resources at present fails to be effectively utilized. Therefore, the development direction of cellulose is depth study of the relationship between the structure and properties of cellulose to look for new sources of cellulose and further to efficiently isolate cellulose.