AbstractHomogeneous esterification of cellulose with octanoyl chloride (a long-chain fatty acid) was investigated in lithium chloride/N,N-dimethyl acetamide (LiCl/DMAc) medium. Cellulose was readily esterified by the octanoyl chloride, as shown by 1H NMR analysis. The effects of the ratio of octanoyl chloride to cellulose hydroxyl groups, the reaction temperature, and the reaction time on the yield and degrees of substitution (DS) of cellulose esters (CEs) were investigated. CEs with high DS (2.2) were achieved after 8 h at 100 °C with a 1.6 to 1.8 of molar ratio of octanoyl chloride to cellulose hydroxyl groups. Furthermore, hydrophobic, fully transparent CE films and aerogels were prepared using CE tetrahydrofuran (THF) solutions. The CE aerogels exhibited high porosity and were formed with evenly distributed porosity, as revealed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).