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Degraded Rayon Fiber Under the Microscope

Degraded Rayon Fiber

Transmitted Circular Polarized Light Illumination


Rayon fiber is a cellulose derivative. Wood cellulose or cellulose from cotton linters is often used as the starting material. It is formed by drawing the cellulose solution through a spinneret into an acid bath where it solidifies from the outside in. This results in the crenulated cross-section because the outside polymerizes first and is drawn more rapidly though the bath than the interior of the fiber that is still liquid. The draw-rate affects the fiber diameter and the degree of crenulation.

Significance in the Environment:

This is a common clothing fiber.

Characteristic Features:

Rayon fiber has a refractive index along its length of about 1.54 to 1.56 and perpendicular to its length of about 1.51 to 1.53. It has a birefringence of about 0.03 and a positive sign of elongation. It tends to exhibit irregular striations along its length due to the crinulate cross-section of the fiber.

Associated Particles:


DuPont Company Techinical Bulletin X-156: IDENTIFICATION OF FIBERS IN TEXTILE MATERIALS, December 1961.