GD Topic: Should Rayon be used over Cotton as an industrial fabric?


Background:

Rayon is man made fibre manufactured from regenerated cellulose obtained from wood pulp. Originally made as a substitute for natural silk, rayon is rapidly replacing cotton too. There has been controversy over which fabric is better for the garment industry- cotton or rayon. Let's see some points in favour as well as in against substituting rayon for cotton.


Rayon fabric; Image courtesy: fashionbi.com

For:

1) Rayon has better hand feel and draping properties.

2) Rayon can be made from bamboo cellulose. Bamboo is easier to grow than cotton and takes less water.

3) Rayon is breathable and more moisture absorbent than cotton.

4) Rayon can be made from a wide variety of easily available trees which lessens the burden from cotton trees.

5) Rising cotton price makes rayon a more viable replacement for cotton.

6) Rayon is a versatile fabric and can imitate the feel and texture of cotton, silk, linen and wool.

Against:

1) Rayon manufacturing can lead to depletion of forest resources.

2) Rayon is weaker in strength than cotton is.

3) Like other synthetic fibers, rayon tends to be water- repellant, leading to sweat- building thereby causing irritation and discomfort.

4) Cotton has higher wet strength than rayon has and hence Cotton can be used in medical fields too.

5) Producing rayon is a much more complex process than producing cotton. Producing rayon involves more chemicals, more wastage, and less eco- friendly procedure.
6) Rayon is recommended to be dry washed and hence too expensive to maintain.

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