a general title for a number of explosive nitric ethers of cellulose, obtained by steeping cotton in nitric and sulphuric acids. Though there are created substances containing nitric acid radicals, yet the results precisely resemble ordinary cotton fiber in appearance. It burns off without ash, with explosion if confined, but quietly and harmlessly if no-cost and available, plus tiny volume. Specifically, the lower nitrates of cellulose that are insoluble in ether and alcoholic beverages in difference through the highest (pyroxylin) that is dissolvable. See Pyroxylin, and cf. Xyloidin. The firearm cottons are used for blasting and notably in gunnery: in making celluloid whenever compounded with camphor; and soluble variety (pyroxylin) for making collodion. See Celluloid, and Collodion. Gun cotton is frequenty but improperly called nitrocellulose. It is not a nitro ingredient, but an ester of nitric acid.
a broad name the nitrates of cellulose, prepared by digesting cotton or other form of cellulose in nitric acid, or preferably in a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids.
a nitric acid ester; used in lacquers and explosives