What Is Modal?

Exploring Modal Fabric’s Sustainability

From under garments to towels, modal takes within the textile industry. The bio-based fiber lasts more than cotton, is much more comfortable than jersey, and it has the stretch of polyester. Modal may appear just like a miraculously sustainable material, however, many factors must get together with this semi-synthetic to do its best.

From the history to how it’s made, take a look at a couple of items to bear in mind when looking for this sustainable material.


Modal is a kind of modified rayon fiber produced from the pulp of beech trees. It’s produced from cellulose fibers, that can come from plants (other cellulose fibers include linen and hemp). The primary difference is the fact that rayon, while plant-based, is human-made.

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“The modal production process is comparable to those of viscose (another semi-synthetic rayon fiber), except there are other steps and chemicals involved.”

Based on CAMEO Materials Database, modal fiber was initially coded in the 1930s for industrial use. Revered for durability, the rayon-type was incorporated in conveyor belts, hose pipes, and vehicle tires. After continuous growth and development of the fiber, Shozo Tachikawa patented a technique in 1951, producing a ”high wet modulus” rayon fiber-this refers back to the strength from the fiber and signifies how good it’ll endure when wet. The procedure does mean the fiber resists shrinking and stretching, enhancing the outfit endure over lengthy periods. Tachikawa’s created materials are technically known as polynosic fiber, but we generally realize it as modal.

The modal production process is comparable to those of viscose (another semi-synthetic rayon fiber), except there are other steps and chemicals involved. It begins whenever a beechwood tree is chopped, chipped, and damaged lower right into a pulp. The cellulose is created into sheets, then drenched inside a sodium hydroxide bath to produce cellulose xanthate-also known as viscose. Following a second bath, the now-liquid option would be pressed with an extruder to create fibers. The fibers will be put into another and final sulfuric acidity bath, which leads to the yarn accustomed to create modal fabric.


The simple truth is, modal fiber is just as sustainable as the organization producing it. Frequently used instead of cotton, the fabric requires much less water as it’s produced from resilient beech trees. Yet, when compared with other semi-synthetic fibers, modal production poses a lot of ecological and health issues because it’s created using petrochemicals-chemicals produced from oil or gas.

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“Modal fiber is just as sustainable as the organization producing it.”

For instance, Lyocell (another rayon fiber) utilizes a natural means to fix break wood lower into pulp, whereas modal needs a heavy dose of toxic chemicals like carbon disulfide. This puts individuals working directly using the chemicals in danger of possible health negative effects, although the chemicals will continue to threaten the healthiness of everybody who makes connection with the material.

Also, chemicals released throughout the production process, like carbon disulfide and hydrogen sulfide, have been discovered to possess harmful effects around the atmosphere. Carbon disulfide was recognized as a toxic air contaminant in 1997, and hydrogen sulfide turns into eco hazardous chemicals-for example sulfhydric acidity-when uncovered to numerous elements.

What’s promising? Although it’s made by several companies using petrochemicals during production, a lot of the world’s modal fiber originates from exactly the same company which makes TENCEL™-Austrian-based Lenzing. They’ve been sustainably creating their modal product for more than half a century and, about 3 decades ago, they launched MicroModal®, a level finer form of the initial Lenzing Modal®. Today, Lenzing produces over seven iterations of their modal fiber, including MicroModal® AIR and Lenzing Modal® COLOR. Both were intentionally produced so that they can appease the ever-altering demands from the fashion and textile industries.

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“Sustainable company Lenzing is dedicated to using closed-loop systems to create many of these high-quality and-performing products.”

Why is Lenzing more sustainable is the fact that the organization is dedicated to using closed-loop systems to create many of these high-quality and-performing products. Due to this, dangerous gases released and toxic chemicals used during production aren’t sent in to the atmosphere. Lenzing rather recovers these components and converts, or returns, these to recycleables for use again.

Responsible sourcing remains a high priority too, therefore the organization just uses wood from sustainably managed forests all over the world, plus they buy almost solely low cost “certified based on recognized sustainability criteria, like the FSC®.” Though no entity is ideal, Lenzing will a thorough job worth admiring.

Much like TENCEL™, modal is frequently lauded like a biodegradable and compostable material, despite the fact that it has the ability to be, it’s ultimately depending on what the fiber can be used for. If your clothing company applies toxic dyes or finishes onto modal, it loses being able to be composted or degraded organically. Because of this, it’s important to vet the whole production procedure for any brand using modal fibers.

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All sustainable fibers include benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, our purchases come lower to the values and just what we desire from the fabric. Searching for any durable and comfy weave? Modal is the answer as lengthy while you read the small print. Check labels or online descriptions. If your clients are willing to help you to in on their own production process, that’s a great sign. But, if sourcing information isn’t easily available, achieve to the company with questions. You should know where your clothes are originating from.