PlastyShack - The Science of Plastics

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Science of Plastics

What is Cellophane?

Cellophane was discovered by Dr. Jacques Edwin Brandenberger, a Swiss textile engineer, who came upon the idea for a clear, protective, packaging layer in 1900. Brandenberger was seated at a restaurant when he noticed a customer spill a bottle of wine onto the tablecloth. The waiter removed the cloth replacing it with another and disposed of the soiled one. Brandenberger swore that he would discover some way to apply a clear flexible film to cloth, which would keep it safe from such accidents and allow it to be easily cleaned with the swipe of a clean towel. He worked on resolving this problem by utilizing different materials until he hit paydirt in 1913 by adding Viscose (now known as Rayon).

Brandenberger added viscose to cloth but the end result was a brittle material that was too stiff to be of any use. Yet Brandenberger saw another potential for the viscose material. He developed a new machine that could produce viscose sheets, which he marketed as Cellophane. With a few more improvements, Cellophane allowed for a clear layer of packaging for any product - the first fully flexible, water-proof wrap.

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