What the Heck is an Acetate?

It is entirely possible that you have already used acetate in products that contain sodium acetate, ethyl acetate, ammonium acetate, methyl acetate, and polyvinyl acetate.  So, what the heck is an acetate, anyway? Acetate is a salt, ester, or anion compound formed from acetic acid.

  • Salt: It is a salt that produces a Na+CH3COO formula. Once the positive proton is donated, it creates acetic acid. Once it reaches a 5.5 pH, it becomes acetate.
  • Ester: It is a CH3CO2R formula that is popular in marketplace products.
  • Anion: It is a CH3COO formula. It is an atom that contains a negative charge.

Acetate is an ingredient used in many products like cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and textiles. Companies also use it in food that is canned, processed, pre-packaged, fermented, or condensed. Condiments like mustard also use acetate because of the anti-caking properties of the sodium acetate.

Many industries use ethyl acetate as a coating to create products that use acrylics, epoxies, vinyl, urethanes, and cellulosic which is used mainly in the furniture, construction, automobile, mining, and agriculture industries.

Acetate Used In The Printing Process

Acetate is a general term that defines any plastic film or sheets which comes from a material called cellulose acetate. It is produced from natural sources like cotton or wood chips. Because acetate as a source of polymer, it is often used to create printing materials like plastic film, medical supplies, optic frames, and industrial tools.

Cellulose acetate is clear and shiny on both sides of the sheet. It is used to produce overlays, graphic arts, and prints. It is biodegradable and has been used in the printing industry for decades because of its stable performance process. Matte acetate is one-sided which allows for prints that contains ink, pen, or pencil.

Acetate is also used in the printing industry to produce acetate film which is a transparent, plastic strip used to create negatives, graphics, and laminates.  Ethyl acetate (EAC) is an ester compound commonly used as a solvent in the printing industry that is composed of a C4H8O2 formula. Ethyl acetate is also used as a solvent in inks to produce rotogravure and flexographic printing materials.

  • Rotogravure: This method is an intaglio printing process that uses a cylinder etching to transfer ink on plastic or paper materials within a rotary press. Products differ from engravings, newspapers, magazines, rigid material, and postcards.
  • Flexographic: This printing process is used on underlying layers of paper, plastic, or metallic films. Companies often use the flexographic method for printing on food packages and labels.

The fundamental use of ethyl acetate for both rotogravure and flexographic printing processes is to act as a solvent that dissolves the resin, maintains the ink drying rate, and manages adhesiveness. Because of its widely used popularity, businesses often utilize ethyl acetate in products made in the United States, Europe, China, and South-East Asia.

For best results, you should order black and white prints on standard acetate and color prints on paper-backed acetate sheets. Products that use acetate, however, are expensive for home printers. PostcardsRus, however, produces affordable, quality printed materials using the acetate process.

Tags: Print, Printing, Design, Acetate Google