What about lyocell ?

What about lyocell ?
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Lyocell fabrics are excellent for sensitive skin. Environmentally friendly. Lyocell is a biodegradable product. Lyocell materials keeps the skin dry and the smooth surface of the fibres is soft and supple to the touch.

Most people assume that there are two broad categories of fibres: natural fibres like cotton, wool, hemp, ramie and silk; and artificial fibres synthesised out of petrochemicals like nylon and polyester.

Lyocell falls somewhere in-between. The raw material for lyocell is cellulose from wood pulp which is broken down chemically in a soupy sludge that is squirted out a showerhead spinneret and reformed as fibres. Lyocell is more accurately described as a recovered or regenerated fibre, although the folks at Lenzing Fibres make a distinction between regenerated fibres and lyocell which they describe as a "solvent spun fibre" that keeps the cellulose structure closer to that found in nature.

As with conventionally manufactured cotton fabric, there are many steps and processes involved in taking lyocell from fibre to fabric.  The major steps are:

  1. Creating a solvent solution from wood pulp
  2. Spinning lyocell fibre from the solvent solution
  3. Washing lyocell fibre to remove solvents
  4. Dyeing fibre and producing yarns
  5. Finishing to produce lyocell fabric

The Material Safety Data Sheet for lyocell rates the amine oxide solvent used to digest the wood pulp as being non-toxic and about 99% is recovered and recycled during the manufacturing process.  Waste products in the air and water from the manufacturing process are minimal and considered harmless. Lyocell fibre is eco-friendly since products made from it can be recycled and lyocell is biodegradable because it is a cellulosic fibre.  Products made from lyocell can be recycled, incinerated, or digested in sewage. The fibre will usually degrade completely in just eight days in waste treatment plants.

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