Natural or Synthetic
  • Cellulose is a natural polymer.

Structural Formula

  • C6H10O5

Structural Characteristics
Cellulose is a straight chain polymer. Beta linkage occurs and produces polysaccarides out of glucose molecules.
  • Main component in cotton and wood (including paper)
  • It is a main component of the cell wall in plants
  • Extremely polar, meaning that it is hard to break apart and for our bodies to digest them. Cellulose that cannot be digested are called dietary fibers.
  • Some animals have certain enzymes that lack in others so they are able to digest the food. Cows and sheep have this enzyme so they are able to eat and gain nutrients from the grass. Termites are able to eat wood because of it.
  • Made up of only glucose units; isomers.
  • Infusible and insoluble in water and most organic materials, but at times it will convert to derivatives to increase solubility, which also increase adhesion in the matrix.
  • Cellulose is a biodegradable polymer. This process will eventually leave water and carbon dioxide (CO2) behind. An example of this is wood burning.
Method of Linking Monomers
  • Saccharides produced by linking glucose through beta linkage.

Cross Linkage
  • Cross linkage does not occur in cellulose.

Natural and Practical Roles
  • Cellulose is a biodegradable polymer. The process will leave behind water and carbon dioxide (CO2) An example of the biodegradable process of cellulose is burning wood.

Physical and Chemical Characteristics

  • Cellulose has no taste or odor. It is infusible and insoluble in water and most organic materials. At times, cellulose will convert to derivative to increase solubility, which also increases adhesion in the matrix.
  • Cellulose can be broken down into it's glucose units by treating it with acids at a high temperature, which is found in some animals' stomachs.
  • The properties usually depend on the chain length.
Cellulose Diagrams
external image 800px-Cellulose-2D-skeletal.svg.png


external image glucose.gif

Cell Wall
external image zpq0350633090001.jpeg

1. Biodegradable Polymers: Past, Present and Future. October 3-4, 2003 and RRV03-0007. University of Sasktchewan: Department o Agricultural an Bioresource Engineering. May 15, 2008 <http://averousl.free.fr/fichiers/Biodegradable%20Polymers%20Past,%20Present,%20and%20Future%20(Eng).pdfhttp://averousl.free.fr/fichiers/Biodegradable%20Polymers%20Past,%20Present,%20and%20Future%20(Eng).pdf>
2. Back to Nature. 2001. The Chemical Heritage Foundation. May 15, 2008 <http://www.chemheritage.org/EducationalServices/FACES/poly/readings/nat.htm>
3. Cellulose. 2005. Polymer Science Learning Center, Department of Polymer Science, The University of Southern Mississippi. May 13, 2008. <http://pslc.ws/mactest/cell.htm>
4. What is cellulose?. 1997-2005. General Chemistry Online!. May 13, 2008. <http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/consumer/faq/what-is-cellulose.shtml>
5. Cellulose. Peter v. Sengbusch. 07/31/2003. May 13, 2008. <http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/e26/26a.htm>
6. May 13, 2008. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Cellulose-2D-skeletal.svg/800px-Cellulose-2D-skeletal.svg.png>
7. May 13, 2008. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Cellulose-2D-skeletal.svg/800px-Cellulose-2D-skeletal.svg.png>
8. May 16, 2008. <http://www.pnas.org/content/vol103/issue40/images/large/zpq0350633090001.jpeg>
- Lemay , H. Eugene , and Karen M. Robblee . Chemistry: Connectgions to Our Changing World. Needham: Prentice Hall, 1996.