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What is Spandex

Written by shweta

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The dictionary meaning of spandex is: A synthetic fiber or fabric made from a polymer containing polyurethane, used in the manufacture of elastic clothing The name "spandex" is in reality an anagram of the word "expands". Spandex ( elastane) is a synthetic fibre which is famous for its elasticity. It can be stretched 5 times to its original size/form and yet It is strong. The problem with spandex is that it is less durable hen compared to Latex. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was co-invented in 1959 at DuPont's Benger Laboratory in Waynesboro, Virginia. Its introduction has revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry. Spandex is the name used in North America while in many European countries it is called "elastane", and globally famous as LYCRA.


There are primarily five different ways to produce Spandex fibers. In all of the methods the first step is reacting monomers to produce a prepolymer. The prepolymer formed, it is reacted further in various ways and drawn out to make the fibers to be used for clothing. The solution dry spinning method is the most commonly used method and responsible for over 90% of the world production .

Use of spandex is for Apparel and clothing articles where stretch is desired, generally for comfort and fit, such as: athletics, aerobic, exercise apparel,belts, bra straps, swimwear, dance belts worn by male ballet dancers, diapers, gloves, hosiery, leggings, ski pants, slacks, socks, underwear, wetsuits and more

For clothing, it is mixed with cotton or polyester, in a small percentage to ensure look and feel of the cotton or other fiber. In North America it is it is used heavily in women’s clothing.

The spandex fabric should be Machine washed and tumble dried to clean. If the other fibers with which spandex is mixed in the garment are machine washable and dryable, then the instructions for the other fiber should be followed. The heat generated by machine drying helps the fabric recover any lost stretch that during the wearing of the garment. Spandex/Lycra is a common fabric blend for most sexy clothes and club wear. Make sure that too hot water is not used and neither is chlorine bleach used on any fabric containing spandex. It should be dried by hanging and in case a machine is used drying should be at mild temperatures. Even ironing of the fabric should be done at low temperature and in rapid hand movements.

Drycleaning too is not a problem with spandex though some solvents may leave their odor in the fabric but kept in the open that will be gone soon. Even if it swells it will come back to its original form after proper rinsing. All kinds of bleaches should be avoided on spandex.

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