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    With rising pressure on VOC emission control along with fast-growing construction market, it has become even more challenging for formulators to find the balance between meeting quality standards and complying with legislature restrictions. It is now difficult for traditional ingredients such as Nitrocellulose to meet the regulatory requirements without compromising quality. Eastman Cellulose Esters are engineered solutions to ensure that quality will never be compromised. Stay ahead of the competition and bring innovation to your formulations.

Eastman Cellulose Esters, a family of polymers, offers performance-enhancing properties for coatings. They are supplied as free-flowing powders that can be dissolved in various solvents.

Why should you formulate away from Nitrocellulose?

Nitrocellulose is a commonly used cellulose derivative in wood coatings for its good compatibility. However, the chemistry is facing challenges for its hazardous profile and performance limitations.
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    Nitrocellulose's high flammability caused some of the worst industrial accidents in history. It also exhibits high solvent demand, especially in wood coatings. The high solvent demand translates to a high VOC level putting your products subject to rising restrictions on VOC emission.

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    Nitrocellulose in wood coatings exhibits a high tendency to yellowing and weathering issues, especially in outdoor applications. Nitrocellulose lacquers have limited viscosity control and poor ability to form thinner film thickness. The chemistry also allows plasticizer migration.
Wood coatings manufacturers are currently working on developing their formulations to avoid such concerns. Cellulose Esters from Eastman can help you achieve the market demanded quality while complying with rising regulations.

Cellulose Esters Vs. Nitrocellulose Comparison


    Properties Cellulose Esters & Solus™ Nitrocellulose

    Product form

    White Powder

    Flakes (damped)

    Hazard rating


    Highly flammable 

    Solvent demand



    Film former



    Coating clarity



    UV resistance


    Poor - strong yellowing 

    Pigment dispersion




    No restrictions

    Not allowed in Canadian coatings 

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How can Cellulose Esters improve your wood coatings?

    Problem/Difficulty Benefit of using cellulose esters

    Yellowing lacquers

    Non-yellowing under influence of UV light, Improved weatherability resistance

    Poor adhesion

    High butyryl CABs can be used to improve intercoat adhesion in UV systems

    High drying time

    Faster hardness development, improve dry-to-touch time allowing early stacking and processing of coated products, increase production speed and packaging time

    Low viscosity control

    Help to achieve the optimum viscosity and solids content balance which allows excellent wetting and definition. Enables thinner film formulations

    Finishing defects

    Excellent flow and leveling properties resulting in finishing defects reduction, consistent gloss, and excellent quality appearance

Eastman Solutions

Eastman Cellulose Esters functions as a main film former in lacquers. They can also be used as an additive to improve certain properties or enhance the quality of wood coatings.

Eastman Cellulose Acetate Butyrate (CABs) are highly efficient resins widely used in high-quality 2K acrylic urethanes, thermoplastics, acid curable coatings, and radiation curable systems. A variety of grades are available from Eastman. They are specifically engineered to provide or improve key attributes of the formulation. Three main variables in CAB determine the best grade for a given application: Butyryl content - Hydroxyl content - Viscosity.
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    Key Attribute Grade Selection Grade Examples


    Higher butyryl content

    CAB 551-0.2, 553-0.4


    High butyryl or hydroxyl content

    CAB 551-0.2, 553-0.4


    Higher hydroxyl content

    CAB 553-0.4


    Higher viscosity

    CAB 381-0.5, 553-0.4


    Lower butyryl or hydroxyl content

    CAB 381-0.5, 553-0.4

    Chemical resistance

    Lower butyryl content

    CAB 381-0.5, 381-0.1

    Moisture resistance

    Lower hydroxyl content

    CAB 550-5, 551-0.2


    Higher butyryl and hydroxyl content

    CAB 553-0.4

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    Eastman Solus™ performance additives are the newest Cellulose Esters designed for high-solids solvent-borne systems to meet lower VOC levels with lower solvent demand. Eastman Solus™ grades are engineered with improved compatibility towards alkyd resins commonly used in wood coating formulations. They outperform nitrocellulose in providing excellent yellowing and weathering resistance under UV light. They also provide excellent gloss, hardness development and significantly improved dry-to touch time.

Eastman Solus™ 2100 is designed with significantly lower solvent demand than nitrocellulose formulations. Nitrocellulose binders also undergoes excessive yellowing under UV light even higher than alkyd oils and isocyanates co-binders. Eastman Solus™ 2100 provides improved compatibility to alkyd resins where yellowing resistance is required. It provides faster drying time, improved gloss and excellent chemical resistance then Nitrocellulose binders.

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