What is Cellophane?
Cellophane is a thin and transparent film made of
regenerated cellulose which is 100% biodegradable. "Viscose" is a
solution made by dissolving cellulose fibers from wood, cotton, celery
or hemp in alkali and carbon disulfide. In the manufacturing process of
cellophane, viscose is extruded through a slit into an acid bath which
forms a thin film of cellulose. When this cellulose undergoes further
treatments such as washing, bleaching etc, it yields cellophane.
Cellophane was invented by Jacques E. Brandenberger, a Swiss textile
engineer. It was an incident at a restaurant that led to the invention
of cellophane. Brandenberger saw a table cloth being stained by wine
spilt on it. This made him think about a method to make cloth
waterproof. He conducted many experiments and finally came up with the
idea of applying liquid viscose to cloth to give it a waterproof coating..
But this made the cloth too stiff to be of use. But he found the clear
film being easily separated from the cloth. He abandoned the original
idea and experimented with the new material of clear film.
The following years saw the thriving of cellophane industry. The efforts
of William Hale Charch to make cellophane perfectly moisture proof
became successful and this gave an impetus to the production and sale of
cellophane. Since then, Cellophane has been manufactured continuously
and is still in use.
Cellophane is used as a packaging material for a variety of food items.
Cellophane is low permeable to air, grease and bacteria and it is this
quality of cellophane which makes it useful as packaging material for
food items. Cellophane has also various industrial applications such as
a releasing agent in the manufacturing process of rubber products and
fiber glass or a base for self-adhesive tapes or a semi-permeable
membrane in batteries. It is also used in gift baskets and flower
The word 'cellophane' has been generalized and is often used to refer to
a wide variety of plastic film products which are not even made of