Saturday, December 29, 2018

Ioncell--Fabric of the Future?

For the first time in quite a while, a new fabric has been invented--ioncell!  A good news article about it can be read here.   Though that article is more than four years old, ioncell has only recently drawn public attention again, when Jenni Haukio, the wife of Finland's President, Sauli Niinistö, wore an evening gown made from it.  A news article about her gown may be read here, and a photograph of her wearing that gown may be seen here.  The video to the right shows the process of creating ioncell fibers.

Ioncell was invented in Finland at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki.  It is made from a process that creates new fiber by dissolving wood chips, recycled cotton fabrics, or paper waste, and the creation of ioncell fiber does not create any hazardous materials.  Since it can be made from materials that would otherwise be thrown away, it can help eliminate waste as well.  Plans are underway in Finland for industrial level production of the fiber, which they hope can commence in the early 2020s. 

Finland banned placing cloth waste in landfills some years ago.  At present, most cloth waste is therefore burned for energy, a process which generates some carbon emissions. A different process that would allow cloth remains to be made into new fiber with discharging carbon into the atmosphere is thus of great interest there.  

Making fiber from reused cotton and paper sounds more appealing, to me, than making it from petroleum products.  Hopefully, the new fiber will not push natural fibers like wool and linen out of existence.  But if ioncell takes off in popularity, it may change forever what cloth is worn in everyday life.

Thanks to Katrin Kania, whose blog first made me aware of ioncell.


  1. Interesting! It does seem like a good alternative to polyester, and perhaps more breathable and nicen to wear.

  2. I'm not sure what ioncell would feel like; it seems, like cotton, to have different physical properties depending upon the thickness of the thread and the weave used. But it may end up being cheaper than rayon or even cotton in the final analysis.