What’s the different between Tencel™ and Lyocell ,also Modal™, Viscose? (Detailed explaination)

picture: https://www.tencel.com/

From Forest to fashion

According to the regulations of BISFA (International Man-made Fiber Standards Agency), as long as the cellulose fiber obtained by the organic solvent spinning process can be called Lyocell, Lyocell is the scientific name or collective name of this type of fiber.

Tencel™ is the registered trademark of the lyocell fiber produced by Lenzing Group. In other words, only the lyocell fiber produced by Lenzing can be called Tencel™. From a global perspective, only Lenzing Group can mass produce lyocell fibers, and other companies are only producing small batches or just samples.

From a global perspective, the performance and quality of the lyocell fiber produced by Lenzing Group is relatively stable and high quality. Other companies, including some domestic enterprises, still need to greatly improve the lyocell fiber produced. You have to choose carefully, some customer asking why their “Tencel” is pilling, I would ask “is that Tencel or Lyocell, where does it come from?”

Tencel, lyocell, Modal, viscose cloth These four concepts are the most easily confused.


1. Conceptual understanding

Tencel – is a registered trademark of Lenzing in Austria. Tencel is one of the most well-known brands of Lyocell, which means that Tencel is Lyocell, and Lyocell is not necessarily Tencel.( Could be cupro, modal etc).

Lyocell is the name of a new type of regenerated fiber from wood pulp, and it is the name of the international general product category. Lyocell is a big category, in the same category as cotton and silk.

For example: The Cupro Cavelry twill in our shop, is made from wood pulp (instead of Cotton seeds) , it is Cupro made from lyocell fibre.

Cupro calvary twill

Modal is a patented product of Lenzing, and it is also a regenerated fiber. The fiber production process is also environmentally friendly and has high wet strength.

Viscose is a collective term for regenerated fibers. It is also called rayon in English. The production process uses a large number of chemical additives(first generation of recycled fiber.), it’s when Lenzing introduce their EcoVero, that solve the problems of the toxic chemical during the production.

Second, the distinction between raw materials

1. Tencel

Tencel is a brand-new fiber produced by solvent spinning method with softwood pulp as raw material. It has the “comfortability” of cotton, the “strength” of polyester, the “luxury beauty” of wool fabrics, and the “unique touch” and “soft drape” of silk. It is extremely tough regardless of whether it is wet or dry. In a wet state, it is the first cellulose fiber with a wet strength far better than cotton. 100% pure natural materials, coupled with environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, is a step towards a fibre based on protecting the natural environment and fully meeting the needs of modern consumers, it can be called the green fiber of the 21st century.


Modal is a patented product of Lenzing in Austria. It is a kind of high wet modulus regenerated cellulose fiber. The raw material of the fiber is European beech wood, which is first made into wood pulp, and then processed into fibers through a special spinning process. The fiber production process is extremely environmentally friendly. Its wet strength is much higher than that of ordinary viscose, and its gloss, softness, moisture absorption and dyeability are better than pure cotton products. The fabric made with it has pleasant soft touch feeling and drape feeling as well as excellent durability.

3. Viscose cloth

Viscose cloth is woven from viscose fibers. Viscose fiber, which is the collective name of regenerated cellulose fiber, is also called ice silk and silk cotton. It is a major variety of man-made fibers. Traditional viscose fiber is alkali cellulose from natural cellulose, and then reacts with carbon disulfide to generate cellulose xanthate. The viscous solution obtained by dissolving in dilute alkali solution is called viscose. After spinning and a series of processing procedures, viscose fiber is formed.

3. Comparison of their respective advantages and disadvantages

Tencel, Modal, and viscose cloth are all new types of fibers.

1. In terms of fiber history,

The first generation of wood pulp fiber-Viscose viscose fiber
The second generation wood pulp fiber-Modal
The third generation of wood pulp fiber-Lyocell, Tencel

In other words, Modal appears after Viscose process (upgrade), and Modal becomes Lyocell after upgrade. And the most famous brand in Lyocell is Tencel.

2. In terms of weaving technology,

Viscose fiber—wet spinning process

Viscose fiber is alkali cellulose from natural cellulose, and then reacts with carbon disulfide to generate cellulose xanthate. The viscous solution obtained by dissolving in dilute alkali solution is called viscose. After silk and a series of treatment processes, it becomes viscose fiber.

Modal-Wet Textile Technology

The viscose wet spinning process adopted by Modal uses a large amount of caustic soda, sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide, zinc sulfate and other chemicals to alkalize, age, dissolve, yellow, and filter the wood pulp raw materials during the spinning process. .

Lyocell/Tencel–solvent textile process

Lyocell/Tencel adopts a more environmentally friendly solvent production process. The wood pulp mainly composed of conifers and organic amine oxide solvent are mixed and heated to complete dissolution without any derivatives and chemical reactions during the dissolution process, and then the impurity spinning process is carried out. It is more environmentally friendly and does not pollute the ecology.

Fourth, the identification of three kinds of fibers

The point of everyone’s concern lies in this. There are many phenomena in the market that viscose cloth is used as modal or modal is used as Tencel.

Tencel has excellent indicators in all aspects. Hand feel, texture, strength and comfort are all excellent. Tencel will deflagrate after being ignited with a lighter. This is because Tencel fiber is purer and easier to burn. Ashes are black

Modal is second only to TENCEL, and the difference from TENCEL can only be tested in the laboratory. After Modal burned, the ashes turned white.

The viscose cloth also feels smooth, but the shrinkage rate is too large and the hardness is poor when exposed to water. Easy to fuzz and pilling, and the service life is short. Generally it can be distinguished from the price.

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