How is Lyocell Fabric made?

Lyocell is a regenerated cellulose fibre derived from Wood pulp. It was first developed in the 1980’s by the British company Courtaulds. Tencel is a well known brand name of fabrics made from these fibres.

Lyocell Manufacture

The main ingredient of Lyocell is cellulose, a natural polymer found in the cells of all plants. The cellulose of Lyocell production is found the Hardwood trees. The other ingredients are a solvent, water and a finishing agent. The trees are grown in ‘managed’ forests, usually in places that aren’t suitable for any other crops.

For the manufacturing process the hardwood trees and chopped down and cut up into smaller lengths. These are then debarked by high pressure jets of waters and are then fed into a chipper. The chipper chops the wood into smaller postage stamp sized pieces. These pieces are then loaded into a chemical vat to soften the wood into a pulp. The pulp is washed and bleached next.

Once all of the pieces of wood have fully dissolved, the cellulose solution should be clear. This is then fed through a spinneret like many other natural fibres. The spinneret is pierced with lots of tiny holes and long, thin, filament fibres are produced. The fibres are put into a solution which sets them and then they are washed with water.

The Lyocell fibres are then dried and untangled. After this they go through a process which crimps them, giving them texture and bulk. They are then combed and carded and spun into yarns. These yarns can then be either woven or knitted into fabrics.

Properties of Lyocell fabric

  • Drapes Well
  • Eco Fibre
  • Resists creasing
  • Doesn’t shrink
  • Accepts many dyes
  • Blends well with other fibres
  • Can be made to simulate other fabrics
  • Pills badly
  • Expensive to produce
  • Extremely Strong

End uses of Lyocell

  • Outerwear
  • Shirts
  • Dresses
  • Trousers
  • Industrial uses
  • Automotive filters
  • Rope
  • Abrasive materials
  • Bandages
  • Protective Suiting material

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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