From cellulose to textile fiber and a ready product

November 21, 2013

Aalto University has developed a new process with global significance for working cellulose into a textile fiber.

The world's first textile product made from Ioncell fiber as well as other results yielded by research programs will be introduced at a seminar to be held by the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC Oy on November 20, 2013.

New solutions for utilising fiber-based material in the textile process attract global interest. "The production volumes of cotton cannot keep growing due to the volumes of water and cultivation area it demands. On the other hand, viscose is problematic because of the highly toxic chemicals used in its production," says researcher Michael Hummel at Aalto University.

Answers to market needs

The process and textile fiber created in the research program open up new kinds of markets for the Finnish forest and garment industries. Finnish cellulose mills provide the new Ioncell fiber with high-quality raw material. "We are still studying the properties of cellulose with the aim of initiating pilot projects that exploit the new process, in cooperation with business enterprises. There's a growing market for an environmentally friendly textile fiber out there," says Hummel.

The new manufacturing process for turning cellulose into quality textile fibers is more ecological than the process employed in traditional viscose production. In addition, the textile fiber produced with the new processing method based on ionic solvents, developed at the University of Helsinki, is clearly stronger than viscose.

"The research has improved the production process and allowed us to create an environmentally friendly product with first-class properties. The Ioncell fiber is ecological and an excellent alternative to cotton and viscose," says Hummel. The research was conducted as part of FIBIC's FuBio Cellulose research program.

Cooperation across industry borders

The new textile fiber developed by Aalto University can be refined into a high-quality end product. In cooperation with the University's Department of Design, the cellulose fiber was worked into a textile sample.

"I designed and produced a piece of clothing which showcases the material. The new material has an excellent capacity for reproducing shades and it's surprisingly easy to work with," says Marjaana Tanttu, who is studying for her Master's degree in Textile Art and Design.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Aalto University is a diverse community of arts and sciences, bringing together the disciplines of technical science, economics, and industrial arts. The collaboration in the FuBio Cellulose program provides a good example of the university's diverse activities.

"New opportunities and products call for open collaboration that goes beyond organizational and country borders," says Professor Herbert Sixta of Aalto University.

Explore further: Composites for large-scale manufacturing

Related Stories

Composites for large-scale manufacturing

December 10, 2012

Continuous fiber-reinforced composites with thermoplastic matrix resins are very well suited for use in automotive manufacturing. However, to manufacture them is complicated. A new approach now makes it possible to use the ...

First with new environmentally beneficial technologies

August 30, 2013

Lulea University of Technology is the first in Sweden with a new technology that scales up production of nano-cellulose from wood residues. It may eventually give the forest industry profitable new products, such as nano-filter ...

Treated fibers clean dye-polluted waters

September 19, 2013

( —A cheap and simple process using natural fibers embedded with nanoparticles can almost completely rid water of harmful textile dyes in minutes, report Cornell and Colombian researchers who worked with native ...

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

New 'self-healing' gel makes electronics more flexible

November 25, 2015

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a first-of-its-kind self-healing gel that repairs and connects electronic circuits, creating opportunities to advance the ...

Getting under the skin of a medieval mystery

November 23, 2015

A simple PVC eraser has helped an international team of scientists led by bioarchaeologists at the University of York to resolve the mystery surrounding the tissue-thin parchment used by medieval scribes to produce the first ...

Atom-sized craters make a catalyst much more active

November 24, 2015

Bombarding and stretching an important industrial catalyst opens up tiny holes on its surface where atoms can attach and react, greatly increasing its activity as a promoter of chemical reactions, according to a study by ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.