A polymer made of cellulose with an ether structure. Each glucose ring in the cellulose macromolecule contains three hydroxyl groups, the primary hydroxyl group on the sixth carbon atom, the secondary hydroxyl group on the second and third carbon atoms, and the hydrogen in the hydroxyl group is replaced by the hydrocarbon group to form cellulose ether derivatives. It is the product of substitution of hydroxyl hydrogen by hydrocarbon group in cellulose macromolecule. Cellulose is a kind of polymer compound which is neither soluble nor molten. Cellulose can dissolve in water, dilute alkali solution and organic solvent after etherification, and has thermoplasticity.
The solubility of cellulose after etherification changes significantly, it can be dissolved in water, dilute acid, dilute base or organic solvent, solubility mainly depends on three factors :(1) the characteristics of the group introduced in the etherification process, the larger the group introduced, the lower the solubility, the stronger the polarity of the group introduced, the more easily soluble in water cellulose ether; (2) the distribution of substituents and etherified groups in macromolecules. Most cellulose ether can only be dissolved in water under a certain degree of substitution, which is between 0 and 3. (3) the degree of polymerization of cellulose ether, the higher the degree of polymerization, the less soluble; The lower the degree of polymerization, the wider the range of water soluble substitutions. Cellulose ether is widely used in construction, cement, petroleum, food, textile, detergent, coating, medicine, paper and electronic components.