Viscose Rayon: A Regenerated Cellulosic Fiber

Last Updated on 28/09/2021

Viscose Rayon: A Regenerated Cellulosic Fiber

Md. Noor Hossain
B.Sc Engg. (Textile): BUTex, MBA: DU
Merchandiser: Epyllion Group


Viscose Rayon:
Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. Viscose rayon is the modern form of one of the earliest types of artificial silk. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic or artificial fiber. Rayon is known by the names “Viscose rayon” and “artificial silk” in the textile industry. It usually has a high luster quality giving it a bright sheen. It is the most versatile and the most widely used manmade fiber. It is the cheapest because it is made from cellulose extracted from wood pulp, a cheap and widely available raw material produced in areas unsuitable for food production.

Viscose Rayon fiber
Fig: Viscose rayon fiber

Rayon fiber was the first manufactured fiber. The term rayon was officially adopted by the textile industry. Unlike most man made fibers rayon is not synthetic. It is made from wood pulp, a naturally – occurring, cellulose based material. As a result rayon properties are most similar to those of natural cellulosic fibers. Such as cotton or linen, than those of thermoplastic, petroleum based synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester. Viscose rayon is weak, with high elongation at break and a low modulus. It loses 30 to 50% of its strength when wet, and needs careful laundering. It also shrinks appreciably from washing. Viscose rayon is one of the most absorbent of all textiles. It is more absorbent than cotton or linen and is exceeded in absorbency only by wool and silk. A variation of rayon is classified as high wet modulus (HWM) rayon or polynosic rayon. This type of rayon is launderable.

Production of viscose rayon:
Generally Eucalyptus trees is used as a raw material for manufacturing of viscose rayon. Flowchart of viscose rayon manufacturing is given below:

Flow chart of viscose rayon fiber manufacturing
Fig: Flow chart of viscose rayon fiber manufacturing

Here I want to clear some perplexing point regarding viscose rayon fiber:

  1. Rayon is the generic name of this Regenerated Cellulose fiber.
  2. The U. S. Trade Commission defines rayon as “manmade textile fibers and filaments composed of regenerated cellulose”.
  3. Viscose is just one of the manufacturing process of preparing rayon & rayon produced form viscose process is called viscose rayon.
  4. The process of making viscose rayon (viscose process) was discovered by English chemist Charles Frederick Cross and his collaborators Edward John Bevan and Clayton beadle in 1891. In 1904 the British rights of the viscose process were purchased by Courtaulds Ltd. who developed it into the most successful method of rayon in the world. Courtaulds Ltd. produced the first commercial viscose rayon in 1905.

Uses of Viscose Rayon:
Viscose rayon is used in different applications:

Embroidery thread, chenille, cord, novelty yarns.

Crepe, gabardine, suiting, lace, outerwear fabrics and lining for fur coats & outerwear.

Blouses, dresses, saris, jackets, lingerie, linings, milinerey (hats), slacks, sport shirts, sportswear, suits, ties, work clothes.

Dress of Viscose Rayon
Fig: Dress of Viscose Rayon

Domestic textiles
Bedspreads, blankets, curtains, draperies, sheets, slip covers, tablecloths, upholstery.

Industrial textiles
High tenacity rayon is used as reinforcement to mechanical rubber goods (tires, conveyor belts, hoses), applications within the aerospace, agricultural and textile industries, braided cord, tape. Nonwoven viscose rayon also used to make disposable products.

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