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Rayon is a super soft fabric with a luscious fall and better absorbing qualities than cotton. The discovery of this fabric dates back to 1924, when it was finally renamed ‘rayon’ from artificial silk. It is also the first semi-artificial fabric crafted by man. The use of natural fabrics can be traced back to the prehistoric times. And the invention of other innovative fabrics in the later years can be attributed to man’s desire to create something better; something that combines science and natural characteristics to offer superior products. Rayon fabric was one such discovery.
Although the production of rayon involves chemical processing, the components used are all natural. Wood is the primary source from which rayon is extracted. A solution of caustic soda is used for treating the wood and this transforms it into cellulose. Most people are unaware that rayon is a biodegradable fabric and hence more eco-friendly as compared to other textiles. The cellulose formed after the wood treatment is then converted into a unique viscose solution. This solution is forced through a spinning machine and forms filaments that are treated with a sulphuric acid solution. The process leads to the solidification of the viscose and the filaments formed are called ‘regenerated cellulose’.
Rayon is known for its unmatched absorbency, softness and strength. It is the perfect fabric to make active wear clothing and summer garments such as shirts, blouses, kurtas and flowing dresses.
Rayon is a popular ‘semi-synthetic’ material that was first introduced as an inexpensive substitute for silk. While there is a stark resemblance between rayon and silk as far as the appearance is concerned, the fabric feels much like cotton. Cellulose is used for making both rayon and cotton, but the former undergoes greater amounts of processing. Hence, it cannot be labelled as a 100 percent artificial or a 100 percent natural fabric.