Spandex Fiber, Lycra, or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is made up of a long chain polymer called polyurethane; which is produced by reacting a polyester with a diisocyanate. Chemist Joseph Shivers invented Spandex Fiber in 1958. Spandex is a lightweight synthetic fiber that is used to make stretchable clothing such as sportswear.
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Characteristics of Spandex Fiber
- Can be stretched repeatedly and still recover to very near its original length and shape.
- Generally, can be stretched more than 500% without breaking.
- Stronger, more durable, and higher refractive force than rubber.
- Lightweight, soft, smooth, supple.
- In garments, provides a combination of comfort and fit, prevents bagging and sagging
- Heat-settable — facilitates transforming puckered fabrics into flat fabrics; or flat fabrics into permanent rounded shapes
- Resistant to deterioration by body oils; perspiration, lotions, or detergents
- When fabrics containing spandex are sewn; the needle causes little or no damage from “needle cutting” compared to the older types of elastic materials
- Available in fiber diameters ranging from 10 deniers to 2500 denier
- Available in clear and opaque lusters.
Physical Properties of Spandex Fiber
1. Cross-section- Spandex filaments are extruded usually from circular orifices, but the evaporation of the solvent or the effects of drying may produce non-circular cross-sectional shapes. This may take various forms. In the multi-filament yarns, individual filaments are often fused together in places. The number of filaments in a yarn may be as few as 12 or as many as 50; the linear density of filaments ranges from 0.1 to 3 tex (g/km).
2. Density: The density of spandex filaments ranges from 1.15 to 1.32 g/cc, the fibers lower density being based on polyesters.
3. Moisture regain: The moisture of fibers from which the surface finish has been removed lies between 0.8 & 1.2%
4. Length: It can be of any length. May be used as filament or staple fiber
5. Colour: It has white or nearly white color.
6. Luster: It has usually dull luster.
7. Strength: Low strength compared to most other synthetic fiber.
8. Elasticity: Elastic properties are excellent. This is the outstanding characteristic of the fiber.
9. Heat: The heat resistance varies considerably amongst the different degrades over 300 F.
10. Flammability: It Burn slowly.
11. Electrical conductivity: It has Low electrical conductivity.
12. Breaking tenacity: 0.6 to 0.9grams/denier.
Chemical Properties of Spandex Fiber
1. Acid: Good resistance to most of acids unless exposure is over 24 hours.
2. Alkalies: Good resistance to most of the alkalies, but some types of alkalies may damage the fiber.
3. Organic solvents: Offer resistance to dry cleaning solvents.
4. Bleaches: Can be degraded by sodium hypochlorite. chlorine bleach should not be used.
5. Dyeing: A full range of colors is available. Some types are more difficult to dye than others.
Spandex Fiber- Application and Uses
The elasticity and strength (stretching up to five times its length), of spandex; have been incorporated into a wide range of garments, especially in skin-tight garments. A benefit of spandex is its significant strength and elasticity.
And its ability to return to the original shape after stretching and faster drying than ordinary fabrics. For clothing, spandex is usually mixed with cotton or polyester and accounts for a small percentage of the final fabric; which therefore retains most of the look and feel of the other fibers.
- Competitive swimwear
- Cycling jersey and shorts
- Exercise apparel
- Rowing uni suits
- Triathlon suits
- Zentai suits
- Skinny jeans
- Ski pants
- Yoga pants
- Foundation garments
- Motion capture suits
- Bras/side paneling
- Support hose
- Surgical hose
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