Viscose is a type of rayon known as semi-synthetic fiber. It is manufactured from naturally occurring polymers. Viscose is manufactured from the solution of cellulose, primarily from wood pulp. Rayon is a fiber used in the manufacture of fabric. It offers properties similar to that of nylon. Viscose differs from other types of rayon due to its distinct manufacturing process and properties. Modal and lyocell are other types of rayon available in the market.
Viscose is manufactured from regenerated cellulose. The material is broken down either mechanically or chemically and transformed into fibers. Viscose rayon is produced from cellulose of soy, bamboo, and sugarcane. In order to manufacture viscose, pulp of sugar cane, bamboo, or soy is treated with aqueous sodium hydroxide to form alkali cellulose. This alkali cellulose is then treated with carbon disulfide to form sodium cellulose xanthate. The xanthate is then dissolved in aqueous sodium hydroxide and allowed to depolymerize. After depolymerization, rayon fiber is produced from the ripened solution. The structure of viscose rayon is similar to that of cotton. Its appearance is akin to that of silk.
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Viscose fabric, a soft and fine material, is primarily used in t-shirts, shirts, dresses, etc. It is also used in the manufacture of clothing for the medical industry. Viscose rayon is primarily employed in apparels, upholstery fabric, industrial clothing, and medical hygiene. Apparels, upholstery fabric, and industrial clothing segments account for key share of the viscose market. The medical hygiene segment is anticipated to expand during the forecast period. Demand for viscose fiber is anticipated to increase significantly in the near future due to the rise in global population, increase in standard of living, and growth in disposable income. Viscose is an eco-friendly product; thus, increase in awareness about eco-friendly products and decrease in production of cotton are estimated to augment the demand for viscose fiber. Prices of cotton are rising. This is adversely affecting the demand for cotton, as people are shifting toward substitutes. However, rise in competition from synthetic fibers and retaliatory tariff on viscose in the U.S. are projected to hamper market growth, especially in North America.
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Asia Pacific dominated the viscose market across the globe in 2016. It was followed by North America and Europe. China is a major producer and consumer of viscose fiber. This is driving the viscose market in Asia Pacific. Demand for viscose fabric in the region is driven by the growth in industries in developing countries such as China and India. High economic growth and significant investments in industries such as oil & gas, automotive, and construction are expected to boost the viscose market in Asia Pacific. Expansion in the health care sector and rise in government regulations requiring the implementation of safety measures are also propelling the viscose market in the region. The viscose market in Middle East & Africa is projected to expand at a faster rate due to the growth in end-use industries. Latin America held low share of the market in 2016.
Key manufacturers operating in the global viscose market include Aditya Birla Group, Lenzing AG, Shandong Helon Textile Sci. & Tech. Co. Ltd., Tangshan Sanyou Group, Xingda Chemical Fibre Co. Ltd., and Kelheim Fibers.