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Elastane Fabric: Properties and Fabric Details in 2024

elastane fabric

Stretch, stretch, hold and return to the starting position. No, we are not giving advice regarding any stretching exercise. We are talking about elastane fabric. This elastane fabric is so stretchy that it remains the same as it is even after stretching it several times! In the fashion industry, this elastane fabric is famous for its stretchiness. Many dresses require this kind of fabric for the nice fittings. 

So, today we will discuss elastane fabric. We will let you know all the properties and backgrounds of the elastane fabric. So, now just go through the whole article to learn properly. 

What Is Elastane Fabric?

Elastane is a generic term that refers to branded textiles like Lycra. The fundamental feature of this fabric(also known as spandex), is its amazing elasticity. While elastane, Lycra, and spandex are all the same material, in continental Europe, regional versions of the name “elastane” most typically used to refer to this type of fabric.

This textile is made of polyurethane, a long-chain polymer that is also known as a polyether-polyurea copolymer in technical circles. Elastane is a completely synthetic fabric that is made without the use of any biological components and does not occur in nature.       

Otto Bayer and his colleagues developed polyurethane at the IG Farben lab in Leverkusen. Then it quickly transformed into a range of plastics. Polyurethane was developed as a replacement for rubber, which was only accessible from particular types of trees and thus was susceptible to price changes and was often difficult to come by. 

elastane fabric

Foam made from polyurethane remains a popular shock and heat insulator to this day. During World War II, they used it as coatings on fighter planes. DuPont branded their elastane under the name “Lycra,” and they put it to use in apparel and industrial applications.

There is a wide range usage of toxic chemicals in the production of this fabric. If these chemicals didn’t dispose of properly, they could damage the local environment.

How Is Elastane Fabric Made?

Most of the world’s spandex made using the solution dry spinning process. Dry spinning involves mixing macroglycol with a diisocyanate monomer in a special type of reaction vessel. This creates a prepolymer, which serves as the basis for elastane fabric.

This cell spins to produce fibers and cure the elastane material. These fibers then heated within a nitrogen and solvent gas solution. This causes a chemical reaction that forms the liquid polymer into solid strands.

These fibers then transferred to a spool, and now they are ready to dye into fibers.

How Is Elastane Fabric Used?

Elastane is one of the most commonly used materials in consumer apparel, but it isn’t for making plastics in general. You will easily find this fabric in almost every kind of form-fitting underwear for men and women.

Small amounts of elastane fabric commonly found in almost every form of the boxer brief, panty, and bra on the market; while this fabric does not make up a major percentage of the final product, they include this to give the stretchiness. This fabric is usually always present in the waistband. 

elastane fabric

The material elastane is very popular in sportswear of any kind, including yoga pants, bike shorts, swimwear, hiking gear, and sports bras. This material is also an integral part of the motion capture suits that used in the film industry for 3D film effects.

Where Is Elastane Fabric Produced?

Lycra is still a registered trademark of the DuPont Corporation, indicating that it is the only company in the world capable of producing this type of elastane. However, other enterprises in the world also produce this fabric that not bounded by trademark limitations.       

Although the United States produces some elastane fabric, China produces the majority of the world’s supply. In particular, it has the largest market share of this chemical, and global economic research predicts that global elastane production will continue to rise through 2024.

How Much Does Elastane Fabric Cost?

Because of its flexibility, the elastane has a higher value than similar synthetic materials like polyester and rayon. This fabric’s manufacturing process is also relatively time-consuming, which adds to its cost.

The price of elastane, like other textiles, directly affected by market changes; the more elastane in supply, the lower the price per yard, and the price rises inversely when there is less of this fabric in supply. The global supply of elastane fabric is largely stable at the moment, but future market swings could result in unexpected price hikes or decreases.

elastane fabric

On the consumer end of the equation, elastane is relatively pricey because it still regarded as a novelty material with highly coveted properties. Clothes produced primarily of this substance, for example, are much more expensive than garments made mostly of polyester or other synthetic materials, and they are frequently more expensive than garments made of organic fibers such as cotton.

In some cases, the higher consumer prices are related to the relatively high cost of creating elastane fabric. In other cases, one can utilize this fabric in specialized applications that require fundamentally higher prices.

Professional bike equipment, for example, commands a high price due to its perceived status, and the same can say about professional ballet equipment.

What Different Types of Elastane Fabric Are There?

Although there is just one type of elastane, it referred to by various names according to the situation. Some of the names that have given to this fabric include:

  • Elastane: Elastane is a generic word for fabrics made from a polyether-polyurea copolymer. This name is interchangeable with spandex, and it can also refer to the chemical marketed as Lycra by DuPont.
  • Spandex: Contrary to common opinion, spandex is not a brand name. It was the working term given to DuPont’s elastane product during its research phase, and the name persisted once the fabric labeled as Lycra and sold to the general public. The word “spandex” is an anagram of the word “expand.”
  • Lycra: DuPont labeled its elastane product as “Lycra” when it first began marketing it to textile makers, and the name is now a registered trademark of the DuPont Corporation.

How Does Elastane Fabric Impact the Environment?

The magnitude of elastane’s harmful influence debated. Obtaining the raw materials for elastane not regarded as an environmentally deteriorating procedure because the major components of this fabric created in a lab setting. The method of making this cloth, on the other hand, is energy-intensive and includes the use of a range of harmful chemicals.

For example, carcinogenic compounds used in the manufacture of polyurethane. While these chemicals are unlikely to persist in elastane fabric intended for consumer use, workers handling the material throughout the manufacturing process could expose to carcinogens. On the other hand, we have found from research that the risk of cancer from this type of job exposure is quite low.

elastane fabric

The main issue with elastane fabric from an environmental perspective is its biodegradability; fabrics made with this substance do not break down over time in nature. Elastane and similar fabrics contribute significantly to the giant islands of trash. That float through the oceans and debris found in inland waterways. The fibers can’t replaced. It’s undeniable that this substance pollutes the environment when discarded clothing.

Elastane Fabric Certifications Available

If an independent agency can prove that elastane fabric composed entirely of recycled materials, it qualified for GRS certification. One elastane producer has acquired this accreditation so far, but other multinational manufacturers have to follow suit in the future. Because elastane is a fully synthetic fabric, it cannot be certified as non-GMO or organic.

You will get any kind of women’s wear with this elastane fabric in the Beautiful Connection Group. They are one of the best clothing manufacturers in the USA. They make any type of customized women’s wear with high-quality fabric.  You can visit their website to know more about them.