Viscose is a type of wood cellulose acetate. It is made from both natural materials and synthetic materials created only in laboratories. It is frequently used in the manufacturing and medical industry, so most people actually have a product that contains viscose in their homes.
For example, viscose rayon (a kind of fabric) is often used to make tablecloths and table napkins. Since the cloth also tends to have a very graceful, soft drape, it is a favorite choice for curtains (and is usually made into matching furniture slip covers, too). Viscose rayon is sometimes used for clothes, too, because it feels very comfortable against the skin and is “breathable” like cotton. However, it has a tendency to wrinkle, so it’s not good for casual wear.
Viscose is also a key component in making cellophane. Here, the wood cellulose goes through a special process, wherein it is combined with sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide, then dissolved in sodium hydroxide. This is spun by machines, creating the clear, sturdy, and often colorful sheets of cellophane that are often used in wrapping gifts and food items or making crafts.
Viscose is very cheap and easy to produce, and—as the above examples show—can be combined with a number of other chemicals and materials to produce a wide variety of things. This kind of affordability and flexibility has made it one of the “wonder materials” of this century. Today, there is even more research being conducted to find out about what can be done with viscose.