People used to make film rolls from nitrocellulose (also known as nitrate film) by applying a thin layer of light-sensitive material.
Nitrocellulose is the result of a chemical reaction between cellulose, nitric acid and alcohol (nitration). Nitrocellulose has an unstable molecular structure, which makes it easy to work with, but also highly flammable.
Just how much of a fire hazard nitrate films are is illustrated in the film ‘Inglourious Basterds’, in which a woman uses her film archive as an explosive to kill a Nazi delegation. Very useful of course, but in ‘real life’ old film reels must be handled with utmost care. Nitrocellulose is still used today in varnishes, explosives and fireworks.
|Last modified:||12 April 2021 1.23 p.m.|