Sustainability is more and more the word of the day and the cellulose fiber is becoming an important element of textile production worldwide.
The technology for manufacturing cellulose fiber fabrics is not new, but recent developments in new sustainable technologies have resulted in a kind of resurgence. The demand for fabrics is always increasing, but the cultivation of cotton – which represents the most widely used raw material in textiles – demands a lot from the ecosystem.
The Cellulose Fiber History
The first regenerated fiber made from wood pulp was rayon, and it was developed by a French chemist, George Audemars, in 1855. But it was only in 1905 that the first commercial-scale production of this fiber began, with the development of two distinct types of chemically manipulated products: viscose rayon and cupramoniacal rayon.
However, rayon has never been a sustainable fabric since the chemicals used in its manufacturing process are toxic and dangerous to human health. In this sense, over the years, other far more environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions have appeared, such as Modal and Lyocell.
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Lyocell is, therefore, a cellulose fiber from wood (usually eucalyptus) grown in certified forest areas that are not suitable for agriculture. This tree grows easily and fast, it does not need much water or pesticides or fertilizers during planting. It also requires 10 to 20 times less water than cotton. Also, 99.7% of the solvents used in its production process are recycled.
A fabric made from cellulose fiber has unique properties when it comes to moisture absorption since it releases it out. This prevents the development of bacteria, especially in comparison to synthetic fabrics, such as polyester. It is also a hypoallergenic material, which is why it has started to be used as medical clothing and in cosmetics.
The benefits of the fiber
In addition to being an environmentally friendly and highly technological fiber, cellulose fiber-based clothing has a different touch. It is possible to notice that they are softer and smoother.
The moisture absorption capacity is also much higher than that of traditional cotton, so the fabric is ideal for garments that are used every day.
The nanofiber structure avoids the sensation of humidity. This also helps to inhibit the bacterial formation responsible for the bad odor in regions such as the armpit. In other words, besides regulating the humidity, the fabric ends up presenting antibacterial properties.
Cellulose fiber on various products
In a society where fast fashion is predominant, producing durable clothing is a differential. There is an increasing interest in producing articles that have high quality and additional functionalities and, at this point, performance fabrics are a reference, because they end up being more durable and easier to maintain.
Among cellulosic fibers, lyocell has the highest tenacity, being ideal for uniforms and work clothes. The garments have a longer lifetime without losing quality.
Due to their technology, their absorption capacity and ventilation, lyocell-based fabrics are ideal for underwear and pyjamas, as they help regulate body temperature, absorb sweat more quickly, and are also antibacterial, which helps prevent the proliferation of bacteria that cause bad odor.
The production of wood fibers and other agricultural waste for fabrics has become a new area of interest for cellulose manufacturers. Cellulose is a substance that is found in about half of all solid materials in the vegetable world. It is abundant, renewable and an almost inexhaustible source of raw material. Cellulose is, therefore, a potential substitute for many of the finite resources used today.
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