Viscose versus Lyocell – Wood Pulp Fibres

Posted By: Heide Baumann In: Behind the scenes

Here, we have another, slightly technical, article about Viscose and Lyocell raw material.

Viscose versus Lyocell – Wood Pulp Fibres

If you follow us on social media, you know that, at Aatise, we privilege natural materials and therefore  environmentally friendly fabrics. And since it can sometimes seem complicated to navigate through all these classifications with barbaric names, let's take advantage of this series of technical articles to discover the characteristics of the materials you wear on a daily basis.

What am I wearing ? Session 2

After sharing with you our passion for linen in a previous post, it is time to talk about the disputed but exciting match  between Viscose and Lyocell.

Let’s get started!

Viscose

Very present in today’s textile production, viscose is an artificially made fibre from a natural material. In fact, it consists of cellulose from wood or bamboo, which is chemically generated from wood pulp.

This process underwent a major expansion until 1950 before being competed with by the arrival of synthetic fibres based on petroleum products, such as polyester which is not bio-degradable.

The production of viscose fibres is the result of the use of carbon disulphide (CS2): a toxic, flammable and polluting product that cannot be recovered after use. For this reason, this material is not considered as 'Organic' and is subject to controversy in the news..

The properties of viscose: High absorbency, biodegradability and low elasticity, little wrinkling, very good washability.

Lyocell

Lyocell is the generic name of the material, but you may know it by the brand-specific names of TENCEL® or Lenzing Modal®: from Lenzing in Austria for example!

The environmental problems caused by the viscose production process have prompted researchers to develop a new, more natural manufacturing process. This is how Lyocell, a 100% cellulose fibre, was born.

Produced in a quasi-closed circuit, it is a much more environmentally friendly fibre than viscose because the solvent (NMMO), used to dissolve cellulose, is more than 97%recoverable and production requires very little water.

Entirely natural and ecological, Lyocell has earned its title as an "organic" eco fiber..

Ecological advantages of Lyocell:

*Made in Europe (from wood, sustainably managed forests),

*Minimal carbon footprint,

*Biodegradable, uses a biological production process.

The properties of Lyocell: The list is long!

*Wrinkle-free (no need for energy to iron),

*Wash and dry stability stability (hardly shrinks),

*Good moisture absorption (which limits the formation of bacteria),

*And finally the material is easy to wash.

And to top it all off: a silky touch close to that of silk!

For all of these reasons, we prefer Lyocell (Modal or Tencel) as much as possible in the manufacture of the pieces in our collections. Even if the material is more expensive and it’s more difficult to obtain supplies, our wish is to replace in the very short term our viscose products with this 100% natural fibre.

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