Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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cellulose chain ( cellulose molecule )

A term used to describe the cellulose molecule, which appears to be built up of between 150 and 1.500 very simple units, in the form of a long, thin structure, not unlike a chain. Each link of the chain consists of a slightly modified form of the common sugar, glucose; the strength of paper depends to a large extent on the continuity of these linkages. Destructive agents, which can weaken and open the individual links of the chain, cause it to break into smaller lengths, resulting in what is generally considered to be BRITTLENESS in the paper. The mechanical strength of any aggregate of cellulose fibers, such as paper, decreases in response to the reduction in chain length, the process continuing ultimately to the point where only glucose remains. (198 )




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