Editorial Feature

Properties and Applications of Cellulose Propionate (CP)


Image Credit: Flegere/Shutterstock.com

Cellulose propionate (CP) is derived from cellulose when it is reacted with propanoic acid (the reagent). CP is an organic ester with the following R group: H or -(C=O)CH2CH3. It is a thermoplastic type polymer.


  • Relatively lower plasticizer migration than cellulose acetate or cellulose acetate butyrate
  • Stiffer than cellulose acetate or cellulose acetate butyrate
  • Transparent and glossy with better low-temperature impact properties than cellulose acetate or cellulose acetate butyrate


  • Lower weathering resistance than cellulose acetate or cellulose acetate butyrate
  • More expensive than cellulose acetate or cellulose acetate butyrate
  • Attacked by acids and alkalis
  • Woolen by chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols and ketones

Typical Properties

Property Value
Density 1.22
Surface Hardness RR94
Tensile Strength (MPa) 35
Flexural Modulus (GPa) 1.76
Notched Izod (kJ/M) 0.13
Linear Expansion (/°C x 10-5) 12
Elongation at Break (%) 60
Strain at Yield (%) 4
Maximum Operating Temperature (°C) 60
Water Absorption (%) 1.8
Oxygen Index (%) 17
Flammability UL94 HB
Volume Resistivity (log ohm.cm) 12
Dielectric Strength (MV/m) 11
Dissipation Factor 1kHz 0.03
Dielectric Constant 1kHz 4
HDT @ 0.45 MPa (°C) 96
HDT @ 1.80 MPa (°C) 82
Material Drying hrs @ (°C) 2 @ 70
Melting Temperature Range (°C) 180 - 250
Mould Shrinkage 0.5
Mould Temperature Range (°C) 40 - 50



  • Spectacle frames - injected around the hinges of the frame. Used for its low weight and superior optical properties compared to other commonly used polymers.
  • Goggles - dual-layers in visors with other polymers. Used due to its excellent optical properties.
  • Tool handles. As it is lightweight, it can help to reduce the weight of the tool.
  • Covers for television screens. It gives the screen suitable protection from impact.
  • Cutlery handles. It has high chemical resistance for contact with acidic food products.

​​​​​​​This article was updated on 29th January, 2020.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.