Viscose is an artificial fiber produced from cellulose. Although cellulose is a natural substance, the chemical processes involved in the production of Viscose make it impossible to classify it as a “natural” fiber.
Cellulose is the same type of organic material used in the production of other artificial fibers, such as Modal and Tencel. The difference between them lies in the different production methods used that alter their molecular structures. These are the methods that, in the end, offer Viscose and other artificial fibers the characteristics for which they are recognized throughout the world.
The cellulose used to produce Viscose can be found in the most diverse of origins. The most common is wood from the most varied types of trees. Even so, it is also possible to find cellulose in other plants, such as cotton.
The raw material is then chemically treated, giving rise to the viscous solution that ended up giving it its name.Viscose was first developed by chemists Charles Cross and Edward Bevan in the late 19th century. However, it was only in the first years of the 20th century that its production really gained any impetus.
The way it adapts to the body was what turned this artificial fiber into a real commercial success.
Even so, characteristics such as freshness, touch, or lightness continue to call for its use even today.
Viscose is an artificial fiber widely used in the creation of circular knitted fabrics. In fact, it is one of the most used fibers in the world, with growth projections of 8% over the next few years.
Its name derives from the viscosity of the chemical solution that is responsible for it, but also from the name given to the process used for its formation. Its look and feel allow for the creation of both formal and casual pieces.
Circular knitted fabrics made from Viscose are known for being light and fresh. Not rarely, they even resemble silk.
This is an equally excellent fiber at retaining color. Not only is it possible to find circular knitted fabrics in the most varied colors, but those same colors will remain even after multiple washings. Viscose is a very versatile artificial fiber, suitable for blending with other types of natural or synthetic fibers, such as cotton, polyester, or spandex in order to gain different characteristics, such as elasticity.
This is a very common question, albeit due to some confusion regarding rayon. There is only one type of Viscose fiber, and mainly three types of rayon.
Viscose is one of these types, alongside Modal and Lyocell. The term Viscose is due to its composition. Before being transformed into an artificial fiber to create circular knitted fabrics, its production process involves the formation of a very viscous substance.
Essentially, its composition contains cellulose together with the other chemical substances used to simulate the desired properties. Cellulose comes from various organic sources, but its main source is wood, which is first cut into very, very small pieces. Splinters, even. Almost wood dust, the matter is then dissolved in chemicals like Sodium Hydroxide.
The mixture is afterward dissolved again, but this time in an alkaline solution. At this point, the main goal is to ensure all kinds of impurities are completely eliminated.
The result is next subject to processes that aim to remove all excess liquids until the outcome is neither solid nor liquid. The product is again cut into pieces the size of crumbs. It is at this point that the fiber earns its name. The "crumbs" are dissolved again, this time in chemical compounds such as sulfuric acid or carbon disulfide, obtaining the viscous solution.
After being treated, the same viscous solution is forced through spinnerets, reaching the other side in the form of regenerated cellulose fibers, used for the manufacture of circular knitted fabrics.
Considering its organic origin, Viscose is a biodegradable artificial fiber. It is known to look like silk and have a cotton feel, with the benefit of almost no fading.
It is easy to wash and iron, although necessarily at low temperatures. Furthermore, its low permeability makes Viscose a hypoallergenic fiber. It has a great absorption capacity, making it an excellent choice for cooler or more athletic pieces.
In other words, Viscose is a multifaceted circular knitted fabric, available at ITJV only through catalogue request and sample validation.
This text was written and published in 2021