AskDefine | Define viscose

Dictionary Definition



1 a cellulose ester obtained by treating cellulose with caustic soda [syn: cellulose xanthate]
2 a rayon fabric made from viscose (cellulose xanthate) fibers [syn: viscose rayon]

User Contributed Dictionary



viscosus, from viscum, birdlime.


  1. A viscous orange-brown liquid obtained by chemical treatment of cellulose and used as the basis of manufacturng rayon and cellulose film.
  2. A fabric made from this material.





  1. Plural of viscosa


  1. Feminine plural form of viscoso

Extensive Definition

Viscose is a viscous organic liquid used to make rayon and cellophane. Cellulose from wood or cotton fibres is treated with sodium hydroxide, then mixed with carbon disulfide to form cellulose xanthate, which is dissolved in more sodium hydroxide. The resulting viscose is extruded into an acid bath either through a slit to make cellophane, or through a spinneret to make rayon. The acid converts the viscose back into cellulose.
Viscose was created by French scientist and industrialist Hilaire de Chardonnet (1838-1924), inventor of the first artificial textile fiber, artificial silk) in Échirolles in 1884, then the process for manufacturing viscose was patented by three British scientists, Charles Frederick Cross, Edward John Bevan and Clayton Beadle, in 1891.

Industrial applications

Viscose was first used for coating fabrics, a purpose for which it is quite suitable. However, when Cross and his partners tried to make solid objects like umbrella handles they were found to be much too brittle.
Further development led to viscose being spun into thread for embroidery and trimmings. Eventually, after Samuel Courtauld & Co. had taken over in 1904, Viscose manufacture became big business. By the twenties and thirties it had almost completely replaced the traditional cotton and wool for women’s stockings and underwear. Similar changes occurred in the US and in Europe, too. Viscose was also being used for linings and furnishing fabrics; providing the staple for towels and table-cloths and was being made into high tenacity yarn for tires. Yet other uses included the manufacture of sponges and absorbent cloths.
Making viscose film had been tried by Cross in the 1890s but it was in Switzerland and France that major successes were achieved. By 1913 C.T.A. established La Cellophane SA. Ten years later DuPont Cellophane Co. was set up in the USA and in 1935 British Cellophane Ltd was established in Bridgwater, Somerset.
Viscose is a soft material, used in mostly tops, coats and jackets.
Viscose is currently becoming less common because of the polluting effects of carbon disulfide and other by-products of the process, forcing the Bridgwater factory to close in 2005.


viscose in Arabic: فيسكوز
viscose in Czech: Viskózová vlákna
viscose in German: Viskose
viscose in Spanish: Viscosa
viscose in French: Viscose
viscose in Italian: Viscosa
viscose in Dutch: Viscose
viscose in Japanese: ビスコース
viscose in Polish: Włókna wiskozowe
viscose in Portuguese: Viscose
viscose in Russian: Вискоза
viscose in Swedish: Viskos
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