CLOTHING FROM MODAL FIBRES

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Dr N.N.Mahapatra
B.Sc( Hons),B.Sc (Tech )(Bom)M.Sc ( Chem ),Ph.D ( Chem ),M.B.A( IMM,Cal)

C.Col  FSDC ( UK),CText FTI ( Manchester ),Int Trg ( Australia)),Sen Mem ,AATCC (USA)

FIC ,FTA , FICS,FIE,FIIChE ,MISTE ( INDIA)

President

COLORANT LTD

3225,Phase IV ,
G.I.D..C.Vatva,
Ahmedabad-382445
Gujarat,India

    Modal  is a bio-based  fibre  made  by spinning  reconstituted  cellulose  from the  beech  trees .  modal fibres  were  initially  developed  in the  1930 s  for industrial uses  in tyres ,conveyor belts  and hose  pipes .

A generic name  for a modified rayon fibre that has high tenacity and  high wet modulus . additional  developments in Japan in 1951 by S . Tachikawa  lead to the production of modal fibres. .  It is quite similar to the polynosic  used in older days  because of  highest wet modulus . In  handle and appearance the  fibre is somewhat similar to  a good quality  mercerised  cotton .  Modal is a new kind of natural  fibre developed by  Austrian  Lenzing Company . Modal is  the registered  trademark  of Lenzing  AG , an  Austrian company  specializing   in textiles   and  fibres  . , particularly  natural fibres  made from  cellulose .  Lenzing modal  has been providing  pure softness  next to skin  for  more  than  40  years , a record  no other  fibre  can  equal. The  fibre  cross-section  illustrates  its  soft structure.

Because  of  its   superior  properties  ,  Modal  has  gained  a  lot  of  popularity   in  the  developed  world   during   the  last   three   decades ,  with  the   consumption   expected   to  touch   40,000  tonnes   this  year , says   Johann  Leitner  ,  Head  of  Product  Development  and  Technical Marketing   for  Lenzing   Fibres .  A  significant part   of  this   growth      has  come   from   the   replacement   of  polynosic   fibres   whose  production   by  Japanese  companies   has been  stopped   due  to  economic  problems .

Lenzing started  promoting  modal  in  India  only in the late  1990 s , when  economic  liberalisation  became effective  and  import duties  were  brought  down .

Now the  consumption in India is 4000  tonnes   till  2007 . Birla Cellulose is offering Birla Modal . Modal as defined by The International Bureau  for the Standardization of Man Made  Fibres  ( BISFA ) is a distinct viscose fibre genre , which has high wet modulus and satisfies a minimum value of tenacity in the wet stage at 5 % elongation.

Manufacturing  process –   Modal is a speciality  fibre  , produced  solely  by the  Austrian   company , Lenzing  AG .It is made  exclusively   from  the  beechwood  pulp and consists of  100 per cent  cellulose .    Naturalness  plays  a  key  role  in  Lenzing  Modal . The  fiber  is  made   from   beech wood , a  natural  raw  material . The  pulp used   for  fibre production  is  made   by  Lenzing  to  guarantee  consistent  and  reliable   quality .The secret  of the  fibres success  is  pure beech wood . The cellulose  produced  at  Lenzing is extracted   from  indigenous  woods  and  used  for the production of  Lenzing Modal.the quality  is  guaranteed  through  the  control  of  the  whole  manufacturing  process – from wood  to  fibre . The standard  of the  raw  material  is  decisive  for  the  quality  and  makes  Lenzing  Modal  so  unmistakable .

The in – house  pulp production  department  uses  beech wood  from  the  region .  The  raw  material  helps  promote  the quality  of  Lenzing  Modal.many of the fibers  other  characteristic  properties  are  associated  with    beech wood making  Lenzing  Modal  so  unique . the pulp  and  fibre  production  are  conducted  in accordance   with  the  principle   of  sustainability .  chemicals  and  secondary  products  which  occur  during  the  production  process  are  sold  as  valuable  substances .  one  example  of  this  wood  sugar  which  is  further  processed  to  sweeteners .

The  standard Lenzing Modal  fibre is available  in  1.5 D  x  39 mm   and  1.7 D  x  39 mm  and  50  mm .  The  fine  Lenzing Modal is also available   in a  micro   variant. . This extra fine fibre  makes  textiles  even lighter .  It feels like  ‘  skin  on  skin ‘ . You can hardly  feel  MicroModal – it is so pleasant . The MICRO  is available in 1.0 D x 34 mm and 39 mm .

Properties   of Modal  fibre – Modal  is currently called the new wonder fibre .This fibre combines the benefits of natural  fiber and the fantastically soft feel  of modern  microforms . it is about 50 %  more hygroscopic , or water – absorbent , per unit  volume  than cotton is . it is designed  to dye  just  like  cotton , and is  color – fast  when  washed  in warm water .  Mint  and  preserves   these  properties   even  after   many  washing   cycles  .  Modal  fibres are  dimensionally  stable and do not  shrink  or get pulled   out of  shape  when wet   like many rayons. They are  also  wear resistant   and strong  while  maintaining a soft , silky feel . Modal fabric has  softness , good drape and is comfortable   for wearing . Modal  fabric has good moisture  regain and air permeability  which is often considered  better  than cotton fabric , it is a good material for exercise clothing  and health suit. , which can serve to benefit  physiology circulation and health of the body. The  natural  softener  of Lenzing  Modal  means  fabrics  remain  pleasant  to  the  touch  even  after  repeated  washing . hardening  of  the  fabric  ,  which occurs  as a  result  of  limestone  deposits  and  traces  of  detergent  ,  becomes  a  thing   of  the  past   with  Lenzing  Modal. Modal  fabric  has level up  surface , fine and smooth and velvet , which have the effect of natural silk . The yarn has the character  of  high strength . The fabric has  good softness and brilliant  lustre . The effect   of the  finished  Modal  garment  is very good , and the  form is  steady. The  garment  maintains  anti-crease  properties  and has  relatively  easy  care .  With the  hygroscopity of  Cotton and the luster  of Silk , it remains  soft and lustrous  after  several  washes.

Textiles made from  modal  do not  fibrillate  , or pill  , like  cotton does , and are  resistant   to shrinkage  and fading  . they are smooth  and soft , more so than even  mercerized  cotton  , to the point  where  mineral  deposits  from  hard  water  , such as  lime , do not stick   to the fabric  surface . like  pure cotton  , modal  should  ideally  be  ironed  after washing .

 Comparison  of  different  Cellulosic  Fibres

Birla  Modal absorbs moisture  more quickly than cotton and is doubly as effective as cotton even after repeated  washes , it remains as supple and absorbent as the day it was made.

Blends of Modal fibre –   Fabrics made of  100%  Modal and  blends of   Modal/Cotton ,Modal/Spandex , Modal/Lycra ,  Modal/Wool , Modal/Silk   ,  Modal/Rayon  and Modal/Synthetics .are  now being  used  in  India   for  a  variety  of  products .
 It is manufactured by  Zhangjiagang   Beta  Manufacturing  & Textiles Co Ltd , Jiangsu , China.  Since last 10 years  they are  doing knitting , dyeing and finishing  of Modal fabrics.

The  fibre  is  now  being  spun  into  yarn  by  a  number   of  Indian  companies  , such as  RSWM , Bhilwara  manufactures  Cotton/Modal  blend  in 50/50  ratio and count  is  2/30 .  It can be  yarn dyed in package form  or  piece dyed  in   fabric form. Raymond , Chindwara  makes  polyester /modal suiting  67/33   blend which is bleached and dyed by Snow White process  developed  by  Rossari  Chemicals, Mumbai.

Lenzing  Modal  is particularly well  suited  to blends  with  cotton   since   both  fibers  have  similar  properties. The  fibre  cross –section  of  Lenzing Modal  is similar  to  that  of  cotton ensuring   that  Lenzing  Modal   is  an   optimum  blending  partner  . Lenzing Modal   cannot  only  be blended  with  cotton  to  get  optimum  results. Like  no  other  cellulose  fibre  ,  Lenzing  Modal   harmonizes  with  other  fibres – in a simple and  un complicated  manner.   In particular , the  dyeing  performance  of  Lenzing Modal emulates that of cotton .  It is  like perfect   partnership . The properties  of  both  of  these  fibres – Lenzing Modal and  cotton  are  very  similar . In particular  the  dyeing  behaviour  of Lenzing Modal enables  tone – on – tone dyeing in the blend since  Lenzing Modal has the same deep dyeing  effect  as  cotton . No other cellulose fibre produces  comparable  results . Another  asset  is  the  fact  that  Lenzing  Modal  can  be  mercerized  without any  difficulty – an absolute  must  with  blends  with  cotton . In blends  with cotton , Lenzing Modal  improves  the yarn  regularity  and  helps  to attain  a  better  fabric  surface .

Though  cotton  remains an old favorite blend partner , Birla Modal  blends beautifully with almost all textile fibres.  Following are the  fabric constructions

  1. warp – 50 s 100% polyester.

Weft – 60 s 100% Modal.

2. warp – 2/50 poly/modal 50/50

weft –  2/50  poly/modal 50/50.

3. warp – 2/60  cotton /modal 50/50.dyed

Weft – 40 s cotton/modal 50/50   dyed.

4. warp – 2/36 cotton/modal 50/50.

Weft – 2/36 cotton/modal 50/50

5. modal lycra  96/4

count  40 s modal x lycra

Uses   of Modal  fibre –  Lenzing  modal  is  the  perfect  fibre  for  fabrics   worn next  to  the  skin –  for day  and  night ,  sports  and  active  wear .   Among the  areas  of  application  which have   found   favour   are   knitwear   and  woven   inner   and  outer   garments .  In home  textiles   , it is   used   for  a  variety   of  terry – cloth  products .  if  you are  looking  for  exceptional  softness   then  look  no  further   than   lenzing  modal .It is used in jersey  and other fabrics. China  manufactures  flatlock   stitched underwear  made out of Modal fabric. In the  United  States  , pure Modal   has begun  being  used  in household   linens  such as  towels , bathrobes and  bedsheets , bed bath and  beyond .  Modal  is  also the  main  textile  used  in manufacturing  of panties , sleepwear , casual line  , clothing lines  and is available in all leading   shopping malls. Modal fibres  have  found  a wide  variety  of  uses  in clothing ,outerwear  and household  furnishings.