Rayon is a special fabric that wears as well and feels just as soft as silk. It was often referred to, in the past, as “artificial silk.”
Rayon is similar to cellulose, but it has been processed from wood pulp or cotton linter (fine fibers). Rayon is made into clothing fabrics and home furnishings. Rayon is not a synthetic fiber, but rather a semi-synthetic fiber.
So what are the properties of rayon, It is time to learn more about that below.
What Is Rayon?
Rayon is a natural cellulosic fiber made from regenerated cellulose (i.e., chemically treated wood pulp) that’s been processed into fine threads.
Rayon is frequently blended with other fibers, such as cotton or viscose (rayon’s generic name), to make it more durable or to enhance its hand.
How is Rayon Made
Rayon is a manufactured fiber that is made from cellulose fibers, which are derived from trees or cotton plants. The most common rayon is made from wood pulp, but it can also be made from cotton linter or regenerated cellulose.
Rayon has many different names depending on its production method, including viscose rayon, lyocell, and modal. But the process goes as follows;
- Dissolving wood pulp. The process of making rayon begins with dissolving wood pulp in caustic soda, which is also known as sodium hydroxide.
- Forming xanthate. The alkali cellulose is then treated with carbon disulfide in a process known as xanthation to form the final product, cellulose xanthate.
- Converting into filaments. The cellulose xanthate is pushed through a device called a spinneret, which turns the solution into filaments.
- Creating the shape. After that, the filaments go through an acid bath of sulfuric acid to crystallize into fibers.
- Spinning into the fabric. The last stage of the rayon manufacturing process is to spin fibers into fine filaments.
Common Types of Rayon
Viscose Rayon: Viscose rayon is made from regenerated cellulose fibers that are extracted from wood pulp. During the manufacturing process, cellulose fibers are dissolved in caustic soda or carbon disulfide before being extruded through spinnerets into thin strands called filaments.
Modal: Modal is the most commonly used type of rayon. It’s made from beech trees that have been pulped and bleached. Modal fibers are soft, and smooth and have a lustrous appearance similar to silk or satin.
They’re often blended with other fabrics for added strength and durability. You’ll find modal in many brands of underwear because it’s breathable, soft, and comfortable against your skin.
Lyocell: Lyocell is a newer type of rayon that’s made using a process called electrospinning, which uses electric charges to draw out extremely thin fibers from cellulose by breaking down its molecular structure into liquid threads that can be used as yarns.
What Are the Properties of Rayon
Soft and smooth: Rayon fabric is made from cellulose fiber, which is similar to the fiber in cotton and bamboo. The unique process of making rayon takes advantage of the cellulose’s natural properties of being soft, smooth, and strong.
Versatile fiber: Rayon is also a versatile fiber that can be used for many different types of clothing. It is often used in dresses, blouses, and shirts because it drapes well on the body and has a silky feel.
Shiny: Rayon has a shiny appearance that makes it look like silk or satin. If you want your garment to have this shine, choose a rayon fabric that has been treated with chemicals called sizing agents. These agents help improve the luster of the fibers in the fabric so they reflect light better than untreated rayon fibers do.
Drapey: Rayon fabrics are lightweight and have good drape ability, which means they hang well on your body without clinging too tightly or sticking out awkwardly at the seams or hems. They are also very flexible compared to other types of fabrics such as wool or cotton which tend to be stiffer when pressed against your body.
Moisture-absorbent: Rayon absorbs up to 30% moisture by weight and releases it slowly over a long period of time. This makes it ideal for garments worn next to skin or undergarments because it wicks away moisture from perspiration and helps keep the wearer dry and comfortable all day long.
Breathable: Rayon is highly breathable, so it won’t trap heat inside your clothing as other fabrics might do. This makes rayon a good choice for warm-weather clothing items such as blouses, pants, and skirts.
Advantages of Rayon
Drapey: It drapes well and doesn’t ravel easily, which makes it suitable for sewing complex garments such as evening gowns or blouses with delicate trims.
Comfortable to wear: Rayon fabric is comfortable to wear because it does not cling to the body. It is also breathable, so it keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Easy to use: It is easy to work with and can be dyed in a wide range of colors. The luster and sheen that come from rayon make it appropriate for use on formal occasions such as weddings and proms.
Wrinkle-resistant: Rayon is wrinkle-resistant and easy to care for. All you need is cold water and mild soap or detergent, followed by air drying flat rather than ironing.
Easy to care for: Rayon fabric is easy to care for and will not shrink or wrinkle when laundered properly. You can wash rayon fabric at home by hand or machine-wash it on the delicate cycle in cold water with mild soap.
Environmentally friendly: Because it is made from wood pulp, rayon is an environmentally friendly product that provides many benefits over traditional fabrics like cotton or wool.