Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Quality of Zyl between manufacturers?

  1. #1
    OptiBoard Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Other Eyecare-Related Field

    Quality of Zyl between manufacturers?

    Does the quality of the Zyl / acetate used in frames vary quite a bit between manufacturers?

    I've had cheap-o frames get brittle in the past. I was wondering if the higher-quality, designer frames would offer longer-lasting acetates? I am wondering about brands like Face a Face and Dolce and Gabbana, for instance, since i like their styles.

    Thanks :)

  2. #2
    Optimentor Diane's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Jackson, GA - Jonesboro, GA no more
    Dispensing Optician



    Yes, there is a difference in zyl between manufacturers. Zyl is the trade name which is short for zylonite. It is, in reality, cellulose acetate, and the best available is Italian Mazzucchelli acetate. Zyl originates from natural cotton fibers or flakes, and wood flakes. Mazzucchelli acetate begins as cellulose acetate granules, and even within this company, there are varying grades of the granules depending on the use.

    Here is a link that discusses the various grades of acetate granules from Mazzucchelli.

    If you are looking for the best zyl, I would suggest that you ensure that you are receiving Italian Mazzucchelli zyl. You will find that the higher end frame manufacturers use only this product, and then a lot of them make the frames by hand.

    Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

  3. #3
    OptiBoard Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Other Eyecare-Related Field
    Hi Diane

    Thanks so much for the explanation.
    So is drying out/becoming brittle not much of a problem for the higher-end designer frames? (assuming they are using the good zyl?) Out of curiosity, is there any estimate as to how much longer they are designed to last? (i.e. a decade as opposed to a few years?)

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments OptiBoard Gold Supporter
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Dorval, a suburb of Montreal in a park like environment on Lake St.Louis.
    Other Optical Manufacturer or Vendor

    Some History ............................

    Here is some history on the subject .....................................

    Although cellulose acetate was first prepared in 1865 by the French chemist Paul Schützenberger, it was not until 1894 that the first industrial process for its manufacture was patented in the UK by Charles Cross and Edward Bevan. At about the same time, Little in the US made cellulose acetate filaments experimentally, as did Bronnert in Germany. However, this material was essentially cellulose triacetate, a rather intractable polymer, not readily soluble in commonly available solvents. In 1904 George Miles, an American chemist, discovered that if the polymer was partially hydrolysed, it became soluble in acetone.
    The Swiss brothers Henri and Camille Dreyfus used this procedure for lacquer and film production at Basle in 1910, and at the outbreak of World War I set up a factory in Spondon, Derbyshire, England to make acetate 'dope' for waterproofing and stiffening fabric covered aeroplane wings. They set up a similar plant at Cumberland, Md., for the US army in 1917.
    After the war they concentrated their efforts in England, and in 1919 introduced the first acetate yarn Celanese.
    In 1924, they switched entirely to the US where acetone and acetic anhydride were cheaply available. In the same year, rayon became adopted as a generic term for all 'artificial silk'.
    Cellulose acetate (CA) in combination with plasticizers, such as diethyl and dimethyl phthalate, produces a plastics material which can be heat softened and forced under pressure into a cool mould. This injection moulding process was developed by Dr Arthur Eichengrün of Celonwerke to exploit the moulding properties of the plasticized CA moulding materials he had produced. His first injection moulding machine had a maximum shot weight of about 8 gm provided by a hand-operated plunger mechanism, a far cry from today's machines, some of which have a maximum moulding size in excess of 100 kg.
    CA plastics are tough with deep gloss and high transparency. They possess a 'feel' which is different to other plastics and which is often described as more 'natural'. This may explain why CA has retained its popularity for making items which are handled frequently such as spectacle frames and tool handles, many transparent tool handles are still made from cellulose acetate and its sister material cellulose butyrate. Other items made from CA included combs, fashion accessories, pen barrels and toys, but these are now more likely to be moulded from more modern thermoplastics.
    Early spectacle frames were cut from sheet material, mostly in imitation tortoiseshell which was often referred to as 'optical shell'. Reinforcing nickel wires for the side arms were forced into heat-softened strips of CA sheet. Nowadays, frames are generally moulded into shape - a more economic process. However, certain high-class frames are still made using the old process, especially to achieve special colour effects not possible using injection moulding.
    Despite being much less flammable than cellulose nitrate, acetate film did not become established for photographic use until after World War II because of the technical excellence of celluloid and the vested interests of film manufacturers. There was, however, a demand for transparent sheet material in laminated safety glass, especially car windscreens before toughened glass became available for this purpose.
    Ironically, cellulose triacetate which was unsuccessful initially, returned to favour when a suitable, relatively non-toxic solvent (dichloromethane ) became available in the 1940s. Since then photographic film has been almost entirely based on cellulose triacetate and Tricel cellulose triacetate fibres were introduced in 1954.
    Few plastics can boast such a long pedigree as cellulose acetate and, being made entirely from renewable resources, CA may yet have a long way to run.
    Chris Ryser

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-10-2002, 02:02 PM
  2. Vision-related Quality Of Life
    By Joann Raytar in forum Smart Lens Technology by Transitions Optical
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-21-2002, 09:48 AM
  3. Clinical Research Explores Vision-Related Quality Of Life
    By Newsroom in forum Optical Industry News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-14-2002, 04:46 PM
  4. Lens Quality
    By edKENdance in forum General Optics and Eyecare Discussion Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-12-2001, 02:48 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
OptiBoard is proudly sponsored by:
BC College of Optics, Younger Optics, Vision Equipment and Optitech USA