New fibres for HOME TEXTILE

L
yocell is a fabric most know better by its brand name Lyocell owned by Lenzing Fibers of Austria. Lyocell heralds the beginning of a new age in fibre technology. Completely natural, Lyocell offers a unique combination of the most desirable properties of manmade and natural fibres: Soft as silk, strong as polyester, cool as linen, warm as wool and as absorbent as cotton. Basically, 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, a mix of hardwood trees like oak and birch, although Lyocell branded Lyocell is made from eucalyptus trees, which are 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 manufacturers 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.This makes it a natural fabric, and it is noted for its durability and strength, in addition to its eco-friendly manufacturing techniques.

Lyocell (Tencel )
method for creating rayon out of wood cellulose became popular, and rayon became one of the first manmade fibres, as a silk substitute, and an inspiration to later produce Lyocell. Success of rayon particularly in the latter 20th century fueled interest in making other products from wood pulp.

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History
The first fabrics made with wood pulp were made as far back as the mid 19th century. They were not universally accepted or very profitable. At the end of the 19th century, a

The solvent-spun cellulosic fibre Lyocell was first produced commercially in the US in 1992 by Courtaulds Fibers (now Acordis Cellulosic Fibers), an international supplier of rayon. The company used the brand name Lyocell. Lenzing AG had acquired patents and research on Lyocell from American Enka when it bought that company's rayon operation in 1992. In 1996, Lyocell became the first new generic fibre group in 30 years to be approved by the Federal Trade Commissionas the properties and production processes were unique to designate it as a separate fibre group. Since then, Lyocell has realised increasing visibility and acceptance in the home textile market, especially in designer and better priced segment. Its versatility and desirable properties provide many advantages, both functional and aesthetic. Federal Trade Commission Definition for Lyocell Fibre: A cellulose fibre obtained by an organic solvent spinning process where:

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1) “Organic solvent” means a mixture of organic chemicals and water, and 2) “Solvent spinning” means dissolving and spinning without the formation of a derivative Although it is given a separate generic name, the FTC classifies Lyocell as a sub-category under “Rayon.”

Dimensional stability • Low shrinkage • Good wash ability • Can be hand washable Bio-degradable • The fibre is economical in its use of energy and natural resources, and is fully bio-degradable Durability • Wrinkle resistant Since Loycell is a manufactured fibre, the diameter and length of fibres can be varied. Lyocell can be made into micro fibres (very fine fibres), offering depth and body to fabrics combined with luxurious drape. Short staple length fibres give a cotton-like look to fabrics. Long filament fibres are successful in silk-like end uses. Lyocell blends well with other fibres including wool, silk, rayon, cotton, linen, nylon, and polyester. It successfully takes many finishes, both functional and those designed to achieve different surface effects and dyes easily. Overall, Lyocell is a versatile fibre with many desirable properties.

Fibre properties
A manufactured fibre composed of regenerated cellulose. Lyocell has excellent properties of cellulose fibres. Lyocell fabric feels very cool, moisture permeability; texture can be changed to cotton wool, silk and all kinds of feelings. It is having similar hand and drape as rayon, but is stronger, more durable, and in many cases machine washable. It has a subtle luster and is rich in colour. Lyocell possesses low shrinkage characteristics, as well as good absorbency and wrinkle resistant qualities.

Lyocell fibre characteristics
Texture • Soft, simulates silk, suede, or leather touch • Great for sensitive skin • Loycell smooth fibre surface feels soft and supple against the skin and its incredible wicking abilities keep the skin dry Strength • High tensile strength • Excellent wet strength (2X rayon dry / 3X rayon wet) • Lyocell fibres dry strength close to the polyester fibre, wet strength decreased only 15 per cent Moisture absorbent • Highly absorbent • It has natural breathability and 50 per cent greater moisture absorption than cotton • Swells radially when wet • Due to its moisture management, it is also anti-bacterial Dyeing • Lyocell was created with colour in mind, because of the fibres' high absorbency • The fabrics can be dyed to high quality standards • Very versatile fabric dyeable to vibrant colours, with a variety of effects and textures • Easily dyeable to strong colour-fast shades Drape • Good drapability Temperature • Does not melt • Out performs cotton and rayon at high temperatures Fibrillation • This eco-fabric has controllable fibrillation (the very fine hairs found on the outer fibres), which can be manipulated into everything from suede-like softness to a silky smooth finish

Important features of Lyocell fibres
Moisture Unlike synthetic fibres Lyocell offers unique moisture transport, as a result of nano technology. The nano technology of Lyocell supports this natural fibre property, guaranteeing optimum conditions for the skin. Synthetic fibres are unable to absorb moisture into the inside of the fibre. Lyocell naturally absorbs moisture and quickly releases it again. This property guarantees a pleasantly dry sleeping climate. The illustration shows that in contrast to cotton and polyester fibres, Lyocell controls and regularly absorbs moisture. Also it absorbs 50 per cent more moisture than cotton. By contrast polyester does not absorb moisture.

Cotton

Lyocell

Polyester

The water is coloured in blue.

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In the bed environment, moisture transport is determined by the climate in the room. In accordance with climate conditions, Lyocell quickly absorbs and then releases moisture back into the environment. Compared to other filling materials for bed covers, it demonstrates the highest moisture absorption. Tests show that this fibre still has free range to transport moisture away from the body at humidity of 65 per cent. The extent of which bed items are electrostatically charged depends on the moisture content of the materials used and their electrical conductivity. The moisture content in Lyocell bedding prevents the build-up of static charge and prevents the uncomfortable shocks that commonly occur in a dry winter atmosphere. Natural hygiene fibre The moisture management of Lyocell nips the formation of bacteria in the bud. Moisture is immediately transported to the inside of the fibre. Hence, there is no moisture film to aide bacterial growth. This bacterial protection works without any chemical additives. However, with synthetic fibres, the number of bacteria increases upto 2, 000 times. Consequently, unpleasant smells are stopped before they get a chance to start.
2000 x increase of bacte ria

Lyocell bed linens are particularly cool to the touch and soft on skin. It supports these body functions acting like a second skin. The addition of Lyocell properties help to alleviate skin irritation. It bed linens are particularly cool to the touch and soft on skin. A smooth surface makes the bed linen silky and soft. It advocates a pleasant feeling next to the skin as a result of the fibre surface. If one compares the surface of cotton to Lyocell the difference becomes perfectly clear. Wool tends to have a scaly surface, while cotton is irregular and rough. Lyocell, on the other hand is both, smooth and supple.

Cotton

Wool

Lyocell

Typical properties of Lyocell fibre
Property Denier Cut length Cross-section Units g/9000 m M m Typical values 1.25, 1.5, 2.2, 3.0 0.5 - 25 (precision cut) Round Bright, dull per cm 0 - 2.5 Various Very good

Polyamide

Polyester

Polypropylene

Cotton (TENCEL )

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Luster Crimp Finish Dispersibility in water

Perfect Moisture Management also puts a stop to the unrestricted growth of mites in bedding. Research conducted on mattresses (polyurethane foam with integrated Lyocell powder) showed that a large portion of the applied mite population died off. With conventional products, the number of mites increased 17 times in a six week period. The concentration of mites drastically declines due to Lyocell’s management. It stores moisture and mites die out.

Comparison with other fibres
Property Dry tenacity Wet tenacity Water imbibitions Cellulose DP Units g/den g/den Per cent Lyocell Polyester Rayon Cotton 4.5 - 5.0 24 - 26 3.9 - 4.3 16 - 18 65 - 70 550 - 600 g/den* 250 - 270 4.5 - 5.5 15 - 55 4.5 - 5.5 15 - 55 N/A N/A N/A 2.3 - 2.7 2.3 - 2.7 20 - 25 23 - 35 7-9 12 - 14 1.4 - 1.8 2.8 - 3.4 90 - 100 44 - 55 250 - 350 2 - 3000 40 - 60 200

Elongation at break, dry Per cent Elongation at break, wet Per cent

6 weeks

6 weeks

Initial modulus, wet
conventional mattres

with (TENCEL ®)

Startof trial

*At 5 per cent strain

Due to Lyocell’s excellent moisture absorption mold development is also prevented. A dry sleeping area prohibits water condensation, which makes the formation of mold impossible.

The skin sensor
More and more people are ailed by sensitive skin. Environmental pollution and an upsurge in allergies have led to increased interest in alternatives to conventional materials.

In many ways, Lyocell is more similar to cotton than it is to rayon. Like other cellulosic fibres, it is breathable, absorbent, and generally comfortable to wear. In fact, Lyocell is more absorbent than cotton and silk, but less so than wool, linen, and rayon. It can take high ironing temperatures, but like other cellulosics will scorch, not melt, if burned, and is susceptible to mildew and damage by silverfish. Cellulosic fibres are not resilient, which means they wrinkle. Lyocell has moderate resiliency. It does not wrinkle as badly as rayon,

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cotton, or linen and a light pressing will renew the cotton. Moreover, cotton agriculture needs upto 20 times appearance, if needed. Also, slight shrinkage is typical in more water than Lyocell. Lyocell materials. Stability, overall, is similar to that of silk Conclusion and better than cotton or linen. Lyocell is a godsend for anyone with sensitive skin. The It has strength and durability. It is the strongest cellulosic combination of a smooth fibre surface and excellent fibre when dry, even stronger than cotton or linen and is moisture absorption creates a positive environment for stronger than cotton when wet. Lyocell is much stronger than healthy skin, making Lyocell ideal for anyone with sensitive rayon when wet. This property of high wet strength usually skin. The applications for these fibres are exceptionally determines the extent to which fabrics can be machine versatile, to some extent; it is available in home products washed successfully. including bath towels, sheets, pillowcases, and window treatments. The fibre can be used in every aspect of Disadvantage of Lyocell sleeping – beginning with mattresses and mattress pads • It will shrink (approx. 3 per cent) after its first washing but to bed covers and linens, all the way to lingerie. Lyocell’s retain its shape after that universality makes it possible to enjoy a completely botanic • The manufacturing process for Lyocell is more expensive bed from nature. than cotton or rayon Further, today the world demands for “Organic, eco-friendly • It is more expensive than most eco fabric alternatives and bio-degradable” products. Lyocell is the • This fibre has a relatively low surface energy, which makes environmentally-friendly fibre, and, the first truly it difficult for dyes to bind to it. This can cause fading revolutionary fibre introduced to the market since Spandex • Although these fibres themselves are eco-friendly, some 40 years ago, is made from wood pulp. Virtually all of the manufacturers use processes such as enzyme baths, chemicals used in the production process are reclaimed. chemical processes, and dye treatments that are in no way The resulting fibre, Lyocell, is both bio-degradable and "green." These chemical treatments can cause allergies recyclable. It’s an improved fibre, in terms of performance and properties. Its outstanding, essential and desirable in people with sensitivities properties make it suitable for development of a variety of Environmental friendliness high value-added woven and knitted products, an Lyocell fibre comes from nature. Thus every bed article made extremely broad market prospect for various end uses. It with Lyocell has a botanic origin. Eucalyptus wood is used as is easy to conclude that the future scope for Lyocell fibre raw material and is a product of the photosynthesis of plants. is definitely vast In addition Lyocell has an eco-friendly manufacturing process with a closed-loop production cycle. The solvent used is By Vasant R Kothari, Assistant Professor, NIFT, recycled by upto 99.7 per cent. Bangalore and Shravani. N, MFTech Student, The manufacturing process of Lyocell has an extremely low impact on the human environment when it is produced. Eucalyptus wood from sustainable forestry plantations are used for the production of Lyocell. The cultivated land cannot be used in any other way for agriculture. Cotton is grown on valuable land that could otherwise be used for harvesting food. The yield of fibre is on average six times higher than
NIFT Bangalore (Author can be contacted @ www.vasantkothari.com)

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