What is Spandex Fiber | Properties of Spandex Fiber | Production Process of Spandex Fiber | Manufacturing Process of Spandex Fiber | Uses of Spandex Fiber

Spandex Fiber
Spandex is a manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is a long-chain synthetic polymer comprised of at least 85% of a segmented polyurethane. Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity (stretchability). It is stronger and more durable than rubber, its major plant competitor. It was invented in 1959, and when first introduced it revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry.Spandex is the preferred name in North America, while elastane is most often used elsewhere. A well-known trademark for spandex or elastane is Invista's brand name Lycra; another trademark (also Invista's) is Elaspan.
Spandex Fiber
Characteristics of Spandex Fiber
  1. Can be stretched repeatedly and still recover to very near its original length and shape
  2. Generally, can be stretched more than 500% without breaking
  3. Stronger, more durable and higher retractive force than rubber
  4. Lightweight, soft, smooth, supple
  5. In garments, provides a combination of comfort and fit, prevents bagging and sagging
  6. Heat-settable — facilitates transforming puckered fabrics into flat fabrics, or flat fabrics into permanent rounded shapes
  7. Dyeable
  8. Resistant to deterioration by body oils, perspiration, lotions or detergents
  9. Abrasion resistant
  10. When fabrics containing spandex are sewn, the needle causes little or no damage from “needle cutting” compared to the older types of elastic materials
  11. Available in fiber diameters ranging from 10 denier to 2500 denier
  12. Available in clear and opaque lusters.
Spandex Fiber Production
The polymer chain is a segmented block copolymer containing long, randomly coiled, liquid, soft segments that move to a more linear, lower entropy, structure. The hard segments act as “virtual cross-links” that tie all the polymer chains together into an infinite network. This network prevents the polymer chains from slipping past each other and taking on a permanent set or draw. When the stretching force is removed, the linear, low entropy, soft segments move back to the preferred randomly coiled, higher entropy state, causing the fiber to recover to its original shape and length. This segmented block copolymer is formed in a multi-step proprietary process. It is extruded into a fiber as a mono filament threadline or for most products into a multiplicity of fine filaments that are coalesced shortly after they are formed into a single threadline.

Uses of Spandex Fiber
Garments where comfort and fit are desired: Hosiery, swimsuits, aerobic/exercise wear, ski pants, golf jackets, disposable diaper, waist bands, bra straps and bra side panels.

Compression garments: Surgical hose, support hose, bicycle pants, foundation garments

Shaped garments: Bra cups

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