Viscose is the first generation cellulose fiber with a history dating back almost 70 years. It is a manmade natural fiber.
Viscose fibres are made from cellulose from wood pulp. The cellulose is ground up and reacted with caustic soda. After an ageing waiting period, the ripening process during which depolymerisation occurs, carbon disulphide is added. This forms a yellow crumb known as cellulose xanthate, which is easily dissolved in more caustic soda to give a viscous yellow solution. This solution is pumped through a spinneret, which may contain thousands of holes, into a dilute sulphuric acid bath where the cellulose is regenerated as fine filaments as the xanthate decomposes.
Viscose fibres, like cotton, have a high moisture regain. It dyes easily, it does not shrink when heated, and it is biodegradable.
It is used in many apparel end-uses, often blended with other fibres, and in hygienic disposables where its high absorbency is of great advantage. In filament yarn form it is excellent material for linings.