The viscose process : Is-it ecological?


Some “naturals” fibers such as the fiber of bamboo, rose, crabyon, follow the viscose process. That’s why, they’re called the fibers “natural origin man-made”.

crédits photos CRAYON

The viscose is artificial chemical material, obtained from regenerated cellulose from plants such as cotton or bamboo. This chemical process of transformation of naturals fibers was invented by a frenchman : Hilaire de Chardonnet. In 1884, he tried to imitate silk, by replacing silkworms with vegetal cellulose from wood pulp.

crédits photos CRAYON

The viscose is made from cellulose extract from some plants. Cellulose is natural polymer. However, the classical viscose method is extremely polluting.Viscose is a process for obtaining fibres from regenerated vegetable raw material from cellulose.The viscose process use cabon disulfide, a toxic, flammable and polluting product. Thus, although the raw material  used is natural, the process generates significant sulfur pollution.An alternative to the more ecological viscose process : The Lyocell processThe bad point of the viscose process is carbon disulfide (CS2), which is used to dissolve cellulose. Tests were carried out to find a solvent that would dissolve the cellulose while having a lower impact on the environnement.The final choice was therefore N-Methylmorpholine-N-Oxide (NMMO). The solvent is indeed non-toxic and recyclable, and therefore has a low impact on the environnement.

The ecological advantage of this process is that is a short circuit, which allows a near complete recovery of the solvent by distillation of the spinning and rinsing baths.

Even if a viscose is of natural origin, this process remains very harmful to the environnement. Let’s take the example of viscose bamboo, very often sold as textile of natural origin, good for the environnement.



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