Date of Award

Spring 1938

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Koch, John R.


The term "lacquer" originally meant a varnish consisting of shellac dissolved in alcohol and variously colored. Today shellac and alcohol are no longer the main ingredients, however, the principle is applied in using a resinous substance with its proper solvents. Prior to the World War, lacquers were manufactured on a rather small scale, the difficulty there, being the scarcity of solvents. The World War stimulated the production of solvents that were to be used to manufacture ammunition on a large commercial scale. New uses of the solvents had to be found at the end of the war, and these crept into the lacquer industry. Our knowledge of the lacquers is of comparatively recent date, although their formulation was known for some hundred years. It was used only to a very small extent and the true industry dates from the World War. The chemists were mostly concerned in making a proper formula to blend all these solvents, and finding new uses for their product. Even today new solvents and compounds creep into this industry and are claimed to be exceptional in the formulation. The latest development along this line is the use of mixed ketones as solvents for nitro-cellulose. This also applies to the ever increasing synthetic resins. For these reasons it is not difficult to understand why general knowledge should be scanty on the subject of analysis, in comparison with other industrial products, and why the literature of the subject is very limited. This work represents a survey of the ingredients that are formulated together to make a lacquer. A study is made of their chemical and physical properties, in order to be able to isolate them from the mixture and apply a suitable test for their identification. With this thought in mind, the experimental work is carried currently under every chapter.