This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The following recipes are claimed to resist both fire and water: A preparation for protecting wood against the action of fire and of moisture, and also for producing on the surface of wood and metal a coat, insulating with reference to electricity and preservative from corrosion, has been introduced in France by Louis Bethisy and Myrthil Rose. The bases or fundamental raw materials quite distinct from those hitherto employed for the same purpose, are 100 parts, by weight, of nitro-cellulose and 30 parts, by weight, of chloride of lime, dissolved in SO per cent alcohol.
The cellulose (of wood, paper, cotton, linen, ramie, or hemp) is put in contact with two-thirds part of sulphuric acid of 66° Be. and one-third part of nitric acid of 42° Be. for some 20 or 30 minutes, washed with plenty of water, and kept for 24 hours in a tank of water supplied with an energetic current.
The nitro-cellulose thus obtained is bleached for this purpose; a double hypochlorite of aluminum and magnesium is employed. This is obtained by grinding together 100 parts of chloride of lime, 60 parts of aluminum sulphate, 23 parts of magnesium sulphate, with 200 parts of water.
When the nitro-cellulose is bleached and rewashed, it is reduced to powder and dried as thoroughly as possible. It is then placed in a vat hermetically closed and put in contact with the indicated proportion of calcium chloride dissolved in alcohol. This solution of calcium chloride should be prepared at least 24 hours in advance and filtered.
This has the following constituents: Bases (nitro-cellulose and solution of calcium chloride), 1 part; amyl acetate (solvent of the bases), 5 parts, by weight; sulphuric ether of 65°, 1.650 parts, by weight; alcohol, 0.850 parts, by weight; one of these powders, alum, talc, asbestos, or mica, 0.100 parts. Other solvents may be employed instead of amyl acetate; for example, acetone, acetic acid, ether alcohol, or methylic alcohol. The ether alcohol furnishes a product drying very quickly. If a very pliant coating is desired, the amyl acetate is employed preferably, with addition of vaseline oil, 0.20 parts, and lavender oil, 0.010 parts.
The sulphuric acid is mixed with the alcohol, and left for an hour in contact, shaking from time to time. Afterwards the amyl acetate is added, and left in contact for another hour under similar agitation. In case of the employment of vaseline oil and lavender oil, these two are mingled in ether alcohol. The base is introduced and left in contact for 24 hours, with frequent agitation. The fluidity of the product is augmented by increasing the quantity of the solvent.
Wood covered with this coating is fireproof, non-hygrometric, and refractory to the electric current. It also resists the action of acids and alkalies. Metals covered with it are sheltered from oxidation, and effectually insulated on their surface from the electric current. The coating is liquid in form, and applied like collodions, either by the brush or by immersion or other suitable method.