General instructions for viscose processing

Viscose offers a cheaper alternative to cotton but also provides alternative challenges to textile processors. Its different properties & qualities need to be handled a little differently aiming at desired results. Some necessary steps to be followed to ensure expected qualities.

Impurities & general performance criteria:
Generally, viscose needs a comparatively softer & milder pretreatment than cotton goods as product is manmade & does not have degree of variation that a cotton fibre would have. It also does not have need to burst seed, nor waxes & pectins that cotton contains. However, viscose contains impurities that must be removed in order to obtain a successful processing. Impurities as below can lead to difficulties with viscose: ⇒ Excess spinning oils : Is sometimes water soluble/sometimes difficult to emulsify. ⇒ Sulfur residues : Can lead to reduction of dyestuffs. ⇒ Yellowness : Varies from manufacturers to manufacturers. Sometimes it is extreme. Removing above impurities in preparation stage reduce effects they have at different processing stage.

Factors affecting fabric performance:
Viscose has two important physical properties on which fabric performance differentiated: a) Has high wet modulus. b) High lustrous.

Excess spinning oils:
Spinning oils are necessary in fibre & yarn manufacturing but manufacturers are not aware of problem that spinners are often not in any way connected with factories that have to process it in wet processing. This means their use & choice of oils required for spinning is often made based on performance in spinning & price, rather than in ease of removal. Different oils require different conditions to emulsify them. To ensure emulsification temperature is achieved as taking a fabric sample & placing it in cold water –then heating water slowly, whilst checking temperature. At a certain temperature (at which oils emulsify) water becomes cloudy then bulk process should be geared accordingly. Some will emulsify cold! Some hot!

Sulfur is contained within viscose fibres as a bi-product. Sulfur, in wet processing get converted into Sulfides which act as reducing agents which can lead to poor dye-yield, poor brightness & of course, poor reproducibility. Sulphur residues in viscose causes reduction of sensitive disperse dyes when dyeing polyester/viscose at 130oC. They also likely to affect sensitive reactive dyes at lower temperatures. Elimination of these residues from fibre in standard peroxide bleach is needed & where bleaching is not required, scouring needs to contain a strong anti-reduction product to neutralize reducing agents. Applied in a standard scour, it requires a thorough rinse in hot water afterwards to be sure of presence of oxidizing agent in dye-bath. Presence of metal sulfides is checked with HCl + filter paper moistened with indicator (lead acetate or silver nitrate). Presence is shown up as black! There are other tests also available.
Note: Tencel does not use Sulfurs in its manufacturing process, so the problems associated with sulfur in Viscose do not carry through to Tencel.

Temperature & long processing times in boiling liquor can cause delustring & yellowing on viscose. Cellulosic chain in viscose is not as high as it is in cotton so its durability to these conditions is not as high. Natural lustre & wet strength of viscose are benefits too & should not be lost in processing. Controlling times & temperatures, & also reducing reprocessing help reducing tendency of fibres to yellow.
Viscose processing Compiled by: M. Rezaul Karim Tutul Page 1 of 1

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