What Is Cellulose Acetate Butyrate? Everything You Need To Know

Posted on December 29, 2020

Easier Way to Say, “Cellulose Acetate Butyrate”?

When we see long chemical names like cellulose acetate butyrate, most of us immediately wonder what the abbreviation is. CAB is the right one, in this case.

Most of you will at least have a passing familiarity with the most common types of plastics, such as PET, PVC, HDPE, and LDPE, polyethylene, and polystyrene. But few of you would have heard of CAB or have any idea what it’s used for and what advantages it brings to the world of plastics. Just what is cellulose acetate butyrate?

Our overview of this packaging material hopes to shed some non-UV light on the matter. Read on to find out more.

Transparent plastic tubesWhat is Cellulose Acetate Butyrate?

Cellulose acetate butyrate is an amorphous, transparent cellulosic thermoplastic. It is similar to cellulose acetate but more resistant to weathering and has low moisture absorption. These two properties make it tougher.

Common brand names include Cellidor B and Tenite™ Butyrate. Informally, people call it butyrate. We have already mentioned that it is tough, but it is also known for its clarity, surface gloss, and greater rigidity.

Its higher plasticizer content (10%) means that it has a higher impact strength.

Range of Applications

Because it has a soft, rubbery feel, CAB is a great choice for many applications. It can be found in products such as ballpoint pens, tool handles, and touchpoints on products such as small appliances designed for non-food contact, and even as jewelry.

Its resistance to ultraviolet (UV) rays and weathering make it the preferred choice for items such as exterior door handles and patio furniture.

Other areas where cellulose acetate butyrate is a useful material include:

  • bathroom fittings
  • steering wheels and other vehicle parts and accessories
  • building materials
  • housings for residential devices (alarms, electrical switch boxes)
  • coil coatings and general industrial coatings
  • panels for illuminated signs
  • bubble wrap packaging

CAB Extrusion

As a basic raw material (and much like HDPE and LDPE), cellulose acetate butyrate comes in granular or pellet form. CAB is an excellent thermoplastic for extrusion, one of the manufacturing methods for the processing of plastics (the other being injection molding).

This means that Petro Packing Company Inc can manufacture custom plastic tubes (round, oval, rectangular, or square) to your specific requirements. Designs are often made to order for things like medical components, storage tubes for spare component parts, and retail packaging and mailing tubes. We also receive a surprising number of requests for tubes for use in soil sampling.

We routinely engineer custom designs for these special applications.

Other Cool Things You Can Do with CAB

Not all plastics are good as a surface on which to apply paint. CAB is one of the few exceptions. This is because of its good general chemical resistance.

CAB can be bonded with plastic adhesives such as methyl methacrylate. Caution must be taken, though, because CAB can be damaged if it comes into contact with alcohol, alkalis, paint removers, and acetones.

Possibilities in the Automotive Industry

Aside from custom tubing extrusions, Petro Packaging produces a range of stock items used in the building industry for slat wall components. These are normally manufactured from PETG Copolymer, but it would be possible to make those same components with CAB. The simple fact is that CAB is becoming more popular and it becomes more widely known.

Packaging – Mailing and Shipping

The basic reason for packaging is to protect the item in transit or protect the item you’re selling. Packaging also helps to make the product look appealing and therefore increase its sales potential.

Clear plastic mailing tubes are often used for shipping documents.

Clear plastic mailing tubes are often used for shipping documents. Some companies use cellulose acetate butyrate creatively in their advertising and direct mail campaigns. They also use it as packaging protection when mailing product samples.

Petro Packaging’s CAB clear mailing tubes are a USPS-approved package. They have proven their superior performance over paper tubes and cartons. That’s mainly because they are weatherproof, and the caps at either end (called closures in the business) fit snugly, obviating the necessity for extra adhesive tape.

Why use cellulose acetate butyrate clear plastic mailing tubes?

  • They are often opened first since they are normally put on top of the mail pile.
  • You can send them via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.
  • The USPS standards consider them a standard package and therefore they attract no additional shipping costs.
  • They are lightweight, and therefore qualify for USPS First Class Package Service

You can also use Petro Packaging’s industrial “mailing tubes” (a standard inventory item) as shipping packaging for:

  • Items up to 70 lbs in weight such as fishing rods, golf clubs, telescopes, and billiard cues
  • International shipments

Although most mailing tubes are made of clear CAB, you can order tubes in opaque colors if you prefer your shipments to be less visible, or protected from the light. Their durability remains the same.

Mailing Tube Sizes

The most common sizes of mailing tubes purchased are as follows:

Again, custom tubes can be made to order, including tubes with one sealed end, with a vinyl cap for the open end.

POP Marketing

Point of Purchase displays have not lost their popularity in stores, despite the rise in volumes on online sales. You can use our CAB tubing both in the construction of the display itself, and to show off products to best effect.

Petro’s clear tubes are excellent for point of purchase displays and are used extensively in the confectionery and candy industries for the products themselves.  They help to make products visually appealing.

All POP display tubes are custom-sized in line with the product being featured. The Retail packaging industry has come to love our tubes for their strength, clarity, and versatility.

Effective Sales

Petro Packaging has a very friendly Sales team. They know quite a bit about plastics too and can help you decide what is cellulose acetate butyrate’s best fit for what you need to achieve, either with your shipping requirements or for your marketing plans. Contact us, and have a chat about it!

You might want to take advantage of our free initial consultation and sign up for our promotional newsletter too.