Process and Products
Tencel is made from cellulose in wood pulp, which is harvested from tree-farmed trees. Cellulose is the natural polymer that makes up the living cells of all vegetation. The tree farms have been established on land unsuitable for food crops or grazing.
The fiber is produced via an advanced ‘closed loop’ solvent spinning process, with minimal impact on the environment and economical use of energy and water. The solvent used in the process is toxic but 99% is recovered and continually recycled.
One of the properties of Tencel is its potential to fibrillate. Fibrillation is where the wet fiber, through abrasive action, develops micro-fibrils (or tiny fibers) on its surface (see micro photo, right top). By manipulating or controlling fibrillation, a variety of different fabric finishes may be achieved.
The surface fibers of standard Tencel are fibrillated to produce a luxurious, soft-touch fabric with a peachskin surface. This is the usual recognized quality of the fiber.
A more recently developed fiber, Tencel A100, has a non-fibrillated surface finish. (see photo, right bottom) Developed primarily for the knitwear market, A100 has a subtle surface lustre, excellent print definition and high tear and burst strength for woven and knitted fabrics. A100 also enhances laundering performance and shape retention of garments using this fiber.