Friday, 7 January 2011

Science Museum: Material Analysis- TENCEL

TENCEL® is the brand name for a type of lyocell. The fiber is biodegradable and is made from natural cellulose derived from wood pulp. It is manufactured in an eco-friendly closed loop system using a solvent spinning process. This process is designed to minimize the environmental impact and make economical use of energy and water. Lyocell uses an amine oxide as a non-toxic solvent which is continually recycled during the production process. Production plant emissions into the air from smokestacks and from wastewater are significantly lower in comparison to many other man-made fiber operations. This fiber grew significantly in popularity in the late 1990s.




-Upholstery fabric




-Biodegradable and can be landfilled, digested in sewage, incinerated or recycled.

-Suitable for individuals with sensitive skin and irritation free

-High tenacity and extremely durable

-Smooth, supple surface and soft to the touch


-Holds its shape well

-Creates flattering drapes

-Mostly machine washable

-Quick drying

-Inexpensive to manufacture

-Extremely absorbent (absorbs 50% more moisture than cotton)

-The fibrils it is composed from are hydrophilic and have excellent cooling properties so good for temperature control

-Inhibits bacteria growth and therefore considered a naturally hygienic fiber

-Prevents growth of mold

-Can be manipulated to produce a range of different finishes, e.g. suede-like, rugged denim or silky smooth

-Static free


-Can be blended with other fibers, e.g. wool to alter its qualities


-Difficult to dye without treatment with a number of different harsh, toxic chemicals which are neither environmentally friendly nor suitable for sensitive skins

-Can shrink about 3% with initial washing

-Expensive to purchase (despite being inexpensive to manufacture)

-An inherent tendency to fibrillate or “pill”

-Direct heat e.g. from a hot iron may scorch the fabric

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