Loycell is an eco-friendly fibre made from wood pulp cellulose. It was first manufactured in 1988 by Courtauldas Fibres, UK. In US it is marketed under the brand name Tencel. Lyocell is widely accepted in the apparel market, especially in designer garments and is a sub category of rayon. The chemicals used in the production process are reclaimed and lyocell fibre, is both biodegradable and recyclable. Loycell fibre is breathable, absorbent, and falls well giving a flattering and well refined look. Loycell or Tencel fabric is similar to cotton, ramie, and linen.

What are the characteristics of loycell fibre?

·     Lyocell fibreis soft, strong, absorbent and fibrillated during wet processing to produce special textures. It has a high color absorbency.
·    It has excellent wet strength and wrinkle resistant.
·    These  fabrics dry quickly and are comfortable to wear
·    Its blendable quality with silk suede or leather make it a good fabric to work with when other fibres are involved. 
·    It is has good drapability and is biodegradable.
 How is Loycell fabric manufactured?
The hardwood trees grown for Lyocell production are harvested and brought to the mill. The wood logs are cut down to the size of chips, put in amine acid to soften them into a wet pulp. This pulp is washed with water and bleached. Then, it is dried in a huge sheet and roll it onto spools. The sheet of cellulose has the consistency of thick poster board paper. The workers unroll several spools of cellulose and break them into one inch squares. These squares are put into a heated, pressurized vessel filled with amine oxide. The solution is pumped through spinnerets. These are devices used with a variety of manmade fibres. These spinter is pierced with small holes, and when the cellulose is forced through it, long strands of fibre come out. The fibres are then immersed in another solution of amine oxide, diluted this time. This sets the fibre strands. They are washed with de-mineralized water.

The lyocell fibre next phase is drying area, where the water is evaporated from it. The strands at this point pass to a finishing area, where a lubricant is applied. This may be a soap or silicone, depending on the future use of the fibre. The dried, finished fibres are called tow. Tow is a large untwisted bundle of continuous length filaments. The bundles of tow are taken to a crimper, a machine which compresses the fibre, giving it texture and bulk. The crimped fibre is carded by mechanical carders, which perform an action like combing, to separate and order the strands. The carded strands are cut and baled for shipment to a fabric mill.

The entire manufacturing process, from unrolling the raw cellulose to baling the fibre, takes only about two hours. After this, the lyocell may be processed in a wide assortment of ways. It may be spun with another fibre, such as cotton or wool. The yarn can be woven or knit like any other fabric, and given a variety of finishes, from soft and suede.

Is the amine oxide recyclable?

The amine oxide used to dissolve the cellulose and set the fibre after spinning is recovered and re-used in the manufacturing process. The dilute solution is evaporated, removing the water, and the amine oxide is re-use in the pressurized vessel. Ninety-nine percent of the amine oxide is recoverable in lyocell manufacturing process.

Is Tencel/Loycell made from Eucalyptus?

Loycell/Tencel are made from cellulose fibres. And yes the cellulose fibres are taken from the ecualyptus tree. Eucalyptus tree grows like a weed. The pace at which it grows by absorbing huge amounts of water makes it a good and bad tree, depending on where it is planted. But this was fast growing tree was used in South Africa in a better way, to develop Tencel or Loycell fabric.