Did you know that rayon is made from regenerated plant fibers? The process of making rayon turns wood, cotton, and other fibers into fabric that is frequently used for items of clothing, including shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, and outerwear. Rayon is also used in home furnishings, including linens and upholstery, medical surgery products, tire cord, diapers and other products. Before rayon can be used to make these items, it must go through a process of being transformed from a plant fiber to fabric.
Plant fibers must be collected to make into rayon. Pine, spruce, and hemlock are common types of wood that are gathered for this process. Other types of wood or even cotton may also be used to form rayon.
Processing with Chemicals
The wood or cotton collected is then ground and treated with sodium hydroxide. This mixture is allowed to dry for several days. Liquid carbon disulfide is then added to the fiber and sodium hydroxide mixture. The mixture becomes a very thick liquid. This thick liquid is also allowed to dry over several days.
Forming Fabric Strands
When the liquid mixture has properly aged, it is then fed through a machine that forms the liquid into strands that are then coated with acid to form a solid material.
Spinning and Treatment
These solidified strands are spun into yarn. The yarn is then treated and woven as desired. What began as plant fibers has now been transformed into the rayon you recognize, wear, and use.
“Rayon Fiber – Rayon Staple Fiber, Rayon Textile Filament Fiber, Rayon Industrial Filament Fiber.” FiberSource: The Manufactured Fiber Industry. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://www.fibersource.com/f-tutor/rayon.htm>.
“Fiber Characteristics – Rayon .” FabricLink | Fabric University. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://www.fabriclink.com/university/rayon.cfm>