Rayon is a fibre based on regenerated cellulose. The major source of the cellulose for rayon production is wood pulp, but cotton linters may also be used. The actual production process requires significant quantities of sulphuric acid, caustic soda, carbon disulphide, and water. The three types of commercially manufactured rayon at present available are viscose, cupro, and Courtaulds' proprietary brand Tencel. The basic stages of the viscose rayon process are steeping, mercerising, xanthation, mixing and ripening, filtration and deaeration, spinning, washing, and drying. Tencel is produced using a straight solvation process. In terms of product performance the main reason for the use of rayon lies in its unique absorbing properties which can be engineered to specification. In addition rayon also shows excellent dry wiping and dissipation characteristics. The most common applications for rayon are wipes, tampons, fabric softener substrate, coiler, sponges and dressings, coverstock, filters and floppy disc liners.
Horrocks D., Paper presented at 1992 Nonwoven Fibers: Properties, Characteristics and Applications Short Course held 21-23 Sept. 1992 at Bedford, NH, USA, pp 179-198 (TAPPI)