Tencel/lyocell fabric

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by volo, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. volo

    volo Tracker

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    Anyone had experience with this stuff?

    It's a processed fibre made from cellulose, like rayon or viscose. Only that it's stronger than cotton, absorbs more water than cotton but also dries faster than merino wool. Doesn't insulate when wet, but also dries quickly.

    I'm thinking it of using for a few things which would otherwise often be made from cotton - non-insulating outerwear layers, shorts, etc., where I want something that can block some of the wind, be highly breathable and dry quickly. The alternative is wool, but, sometimes, you want something stronger and not as warm. It usually comes in shirt weight, but I've managed to find some in canvas weave that's around 12-13 oz/sq yd, i.e. outerwear weight.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  2. Moondog55

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    Only in lightweight blends mixed with cotton, all the same properties as rayon, used a lot here for summer wear because it is so much cheaper than linen No experience with heavier weights tho
     
  3. volo

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    Can't say I've ever used rayon - it's too weak as a fibre for durable gear. Tencel is 1.5-2x as strong as cotton when dry, and still a bit stronger when wet (even though cotton gets stronger when wet and Tencel gets weaker). It's also more flexible, more resilient and creases less, so should last longer than cotton without abrading. But those are just the mechanical characteristics.

    How quickly does it dry? Everything I can find all say, 'faster than wool or cotton', but I can't find any field experience of it.

    Any idea if it would make a good, breathable outer layer, particularly with a DWR treatment? You probably wouldn't want it next to your skin in cold, wet weather, but what about as an outer layer? Maybe Tencel with a wool lining (or no lining at all, for warm weather?
     
  4. Moondog55

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    I'm a cook by trade but sold menswear for a short while too. In both cases it was used/sold for its breathability and cool wear factors but I think the main reason for its current popularity is that it is cheaper to manufacture than traditional Viscose Rayon
    Because it's a hot weather fabric IMO/E I have never tried to DWR or treat it in any way, sorry no experience at all in that regard. It does drape well and is comfortable but people have commented that it isn't the most durable of fabrics and if my experience with it in underwear [ ALDI cheap bikini undies are bamboo based Liocell] is any guide they are correct
     
  5. volo

    volo Tracker

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    Thanks.

    Is it 'not durable' because of its thinness and light weight compared to other fibres which may have been used in its stead (a bit like how nylon is sometimes regarded as 'fragile', but only because it's 5 times thinner than the cotton you replaced it with)? Or is it 'not durable' compared to the same weight of cotton? Knitted or woven fabric?

    I'm just wondering, because a lot of modern flame-resistant/firefighting gear has a large percentage of Tencel (usually in combination with modacrylic and Kevlar).

    Certainly, its tensile strength is much better than cotton, but tensile strength doesn't always translate to abrasion resistance (look at Kevlar, which is weak abrasion-wise, and rapidly loses strength with flexion, as well as wool, which has half the tensile strength of cotton, but better abrasion resistance in the same weight and weave).
     
  6. Moondog55

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    Well that actually depends on whether you are comparing normal twisted cotton to Mercerised cotton, it is the compressing extrusion process that makes it stronger, Mercerising does the same thing to cotton fibres and is 30% stronger than the normal thread
    Isn't Tencel made from Birch trees? A lot of tensile strength is dependent of actual fibre length, some cottons have very long fibres some shorter, Sea Island cotton has very long fibres and is much stronger which is why it can be woven so finely, do Birch trees have an intrinsically long cellulose strand compared to bamboo?
     
  7. volo

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    Tencel can be made from any source of cellulose. It's commonly made from eucalyptus. The process is quite different from mercerising - the cellulose is actually dissolved prior to extrusion, in a manner similar to synthetic fibres. Because the cellulose is dissolved prior to being re-made into a new fibre with a completely different structure (round cross-section, with lots of tiny fibrils coming off it to give it a very large surface area, as opposed to cotton's flat, ribbonlike structure), the length of the initial fibre actually doesn't matter at all. It can be made into staple fibre of whatever length is required, or extruded as a continuous filament.

    How thick/heavy was the Tencel you had? As underwear, it would have, presumably, been a knit fabric.
     
  8. Moondog55

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    Quite thin and knitted in the underwear but in the trousers I sold about the same as in normal cotton drill No idea on micron size tho or whether they were intimate blends or warp/weft being different fibres, not a question I was ever asked so I didn't research it, they were at the lower end of the market tho.
    I'd be guessing if I gave any other answer It isn't a fabric I would normally be looking to buy to wear myself as I already have far too much clothing to be buying any more
     
  9. volo

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    Thanks - that's more useful than any guess or speculation. I can speculate as well as anyone else, given the measured physical properties of the fibre, but have no experience of the fabric in actual use.

    Do you remember whether these were lightweight, summer dress pants, or something heavier (say, Carhartt weight) meant for outdoor use? Because the fibre used is likely to be totally different - a small-denier, short-staple (for softness) or long-staple (for sheen) fibre for the former, and a large-denier, long-staple fibre for strength in the latter. Were they dry-clean only, or machine washable (the dry-clean only ones usually haven't been treated to prevent fibrillation, while the washable ones have)?

    Were the durability issues with the underwear, the pants or both?
     
  10. R_W

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    One issue I have with it is once it gets funky it stays funky, just like poly pro. At least for me. I never tried the higher end stuff with silver
     
  11. Moondog55

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    Summer weight pants, very casual summer pants, we tend to dress up in winter here not summer, too damned hot and most of us can't afford those really good tropical weigh wool blends or the UL silk and linen blends
    The underwear lasted a summer; wore out 6 pair in that time. My winter polyester jocks I get three or four seasons from
    Most Australian men wear bikini style underwear, outsell Y-fronts trunks, and boxer shorts 80 to 20 for everyday wear in case you all were wondering, better support for the loved ones
     
  12. volo

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    Would never have expected that, being a cellulosic fibre and all. Was that a pure Tencel fabric, or a blend? I'm guessing that wouldn't be a problem for an outer layer, though.

    Fair enough. Lightweight summer-weight pants always have a durability problem for outdoor use. Did they last longer than other pants of a similar weight in wool or cotton or linen?
     
  13. R_W

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    Both
     

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