Viscose fabric is one of the world’s most popular textiles because it is both durable and soft to the touch. But what is viscose fabric exactly, and how is it made and used? Do you want to know all the details? So, here we are to let you know all the details about viscose fabric.
Fabric comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, weights, and weaves. It can be organic, synthetic, or man-made. In this article, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know to start with viscose fabric.
What Is Viscose?
Viscose is a type of semi-synthetic fabric that is also known as rayon when it is made into a fabric. The name of this substance comes from the manufacturing process. Rayon starts out as a viscous, honey-like liquid that settles into a solid. Wood pulp is the primary component of rayon. But it goes through a lengthy manufacturing process before becoming a wearable fabric. It’s difficult to tell whether rayon is a synthetic or natural fabric because of some characteristics. When the source material is organic, the process that this organic material goes through is so rigorous that the end result is essentially a synthetic substance.
Viscose is a rayon fiber. In the late 19th century, the term “rayon” was coined to replace the term “artificial silk.” The name “viscose” comes from the viscous organic liquid used to make rayon and cellophane, This is how this fiber is made. The term “viscose” refers to a cellulose-based regenerated manufactured fibre obtained through the viscose process.
It is neither truly natural (like cotton, wool, or silk) nor truly synthetic (like nylon or polyester). Because it is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fibre.
Chemically, viscose is similar to cotton, but depending on how it is made, it can have a variety of properties.
So, what exactly is this multi-faced fiber? To truly comprehend what viscose is, we must first comprehend how and from what it is made.
How Is Viscose Fabric Made?
Other rayon-like fabrics require lignin-free cellulose as a starting material, but this fabric can be made from wood pulp cellulose. This method of producing rayon is much less expensive than many alternatives and rayon made this way can be produced in large quantities.
What is cellulose?
If a fibre is made in a factory, it is made of either cellulose or protein. Cellulose is a carbohydrate that makes up the majority of plant walls. There is a distinction between synthetic and manufactured fibers that affects their long-term viability. Viscose, like cotton and linen, is a cellulosic fibre made from wood pulp. It’s frequently assumed that it’s only partially man-made.
Synthetic fibres are completely man made, whereas manufactured fibres are made from naturally occurring cellulose or protein. Why don’t they fall under the “natural fibre” category if they come from a natural source? Because they necessitate extensive processing to achieve the desired outcome. As a result, the term “regenerated cellulose” is frequently used to describe the category of manufactured fibers. Now go through the important steps below.
1. Cellulose extraction: The rayon manufacturing process starts with the creation of cellulose from wood pulp. The cellulose used in the production of high-quality fabric should be at least 90% pure.
2. Alkali cellulose conversion: After dissolving the cellulose in caustic soda, a chemical reaction occurs, converting cellulose to alkali cellulose. This procedure cleans the cellulose of impurities and prepares it for the next step in the manufacturing process.
3. Pressing: The excess liquid is squeezed out of the alkali cellulose by pressing it between two rollers. These pressed sheets are then shredded and crumbled into “white crumb,” a powdery substance.
4. Aging and xanthation: After being exposed to pure oxygen, the white crumb is aged. And then exposed to carbon disulphide to create a new substance known as “yellow crumb.”
5. Ripening: After that, the yellow crumb is dissolved and left to “ripen” for a few hours.
6. Filtering and extrusion: After the yellow crumb has ripened, it is filtered to remove any gas bubbles. It is then extruded through a spinneret, which is a showerhead-like device with many holes.
7. Acid bath and completion: The finished product is immersed in a sulfuric acid bath, resulting in rayon filaments. These filaments are then spun, drawn, and washed, resulting in a fabric that can be cut to any shape or size.
How Is This Fabric Used?
Rayon is frequently used as a cotton substitute. This fabric has many similarities to cotton, but it may be easier or less expensive to make in some cases. By touch, most people can’t tell the difference between cotton and rayon. And because rayon is made from organic materials, it’s sometimes considered superior to fully synthetic fabrics like polyester.
Cotton is used in a variety of applications, and this fabric is one of them. Rayon is used to make a wide variety of different articles of clothing, including dresses, shirts, and pants, as well as household items like towels, washcloths, and tablecloths.
Rayon is also used in industrial settings on occasion. Some business owners believe rayon is a more cost-effective and long-lasting alternative to cotton. For example, now use rayon instead of cotton fibers in many types of tires and automotive belts.
It’s also worth noting that rayon was originally created as a silk substitute. Consumers have come to accept that rayon lacks all of the benefits of silk over time, and rayon manufacturers now primarily produce rayon as a cotton substitute. However, some companies may still produce rayon as a silk substitute, and scarves, shawls, and nightgowns made of this light and soft fabric are fairly common.
Where Is This Fabric Produced?
Rayon is primarily manufactured in large-scale factories. The rayon manufacturing process is far too complicated for a small business to attempt. To make this fabric, dozens of different chemicals and textile manufacturing machines are required. The majority of rayon is produced in large factories that also produce other types of textiles.
While the United States and the United Kingdom used to produce the majority of the world’s rayon, the industry has largely moved overseas. The majority of rayon is now produced in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and China.
Some rayon manufacturers ship their raw product overseas to have it made into clothing, household textiles, or another type of product. In these developing countries, labor is cheap, and manufacturing regulations are non-existent or not enforced. These factors allow them to generate more profit without the high level of overhead.
Is viscose a sustainable fabric?
Viscose is the oldest manufactured fibre. It was produced in 1883 as a cheap alternative to silk. Because viscose is made from renewable plants, it is frequently cited as being environmentally friendly.
What are some characteristics of viscose?
Viscose is one of the most commonly used fibres in textiles. Many industries use it to create a wide range of products. Viscose has a myriad of qualities, which makes it a popular fibre to work with. Some of the more beneficial characteristics of viscose include strength, elasticity and resistance to chemical and harsh weather conditions.
- Versatile – it blends very well with other fibres
- Drapes well
- Excellent colour retention
- Highly absorbent
- Very smooth
- Does not trap body heat
- Relatively light
- Strong and robust
- Soft and comfortable
- No static build up
All of these advantages sound great, but viscose has a few disadvantages. None of these are particularly negative. These characteristics will be rendered obsolete with a little extra care while wearing and washing.
- It can shrink when washed
- Can wrinkle easily
- Deteriorates with exposure to light
- Susceptible to mildew
- Fibres can weaken when wet
Viscose: a misunderstood fabric?
Viscose is probably the most misunderstood of all fibres (man made or natural). It is not a natural fibre, and not even synthetic. As fabric technology advances, many manufacturers are making efforts to ensure viscose production is clean and eco-friendly.
Printing on Viscose
You can print your designs on viscose in just a few simple steps. First, upload your design, photos or pattern to Contrado’s design interface. Then choose your dimensions and place your order for a viscose print using our online ordering service.
So that was pretty much everything regarding viscose fabric. Hopefully we have given all the details that you need to know regarding viscose fabric.
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