Cellulose - (C6H10O5)n

What is Cellulose?

Cellulose is the most abundant organic compound on earth with a chemical formula (C6H10O5)n. It is a complex carbohydrate consisting of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. It is chiral, tasteless and has no odor. A French chemist by name Anselme Payen was the first to discover cellulose in the year 1838. This organic compound is water soluble and biodegradable. In the year 1890, it was used to produce the first thermoplastic called celluloid. Amount of cellulose present in cotton is 90%. The amount of cellulose present in the wood is 40-45% and dried hemp is 57% respectively.

Properties of Cellulose – (C6H10O5)n

Many Properties of cellulose depends upon the degree of polymerization or chain length and the number of glucose molecules constituting the polymer molecule. Cellulose is odorless and is insoluble in water and most organic solvents. It is biodegradable and chiral.



Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

162.1406 g/mol


1.5 g/cm³


White powder

Melting Point

260–270 °C

Structure Of Cellulose– (C6H10O5)n

Cellulose Structure

In high temperature, It can be broken down into glucose by treating with concentrated minerals acids. It is more crystalline when compared to starch. But starch goes from crystalline to amorphous transition in 60-70 degrees but cellulose, on the other hand, requires 320 degrees and a pressure of 25 Megapascal.

Uses Of Cellulose (C6H10O5)n

  • It is used in the diet as a fiber supplement
  • It is used to produce paperboard and paper products
  • It helps as an additive in various food items
  • It is used in the production of rayon
  • It is used as a preservative in cheese as it plays the role of an anti-clumping agent
  • It is used in making explosives
  • It is used in the manufacturing of nitrocellulose

Learn more about the structure and properties of (C6H10O5)n from the expert faculties at BYJU’S.

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