Editorial Feature

Properties and Applications of Cellulose Propionate (CP)


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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.

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