What is Lycra or Spandex: Definition and Meaning

Last updated on August 6th, 2023 at 11:52 am

In the present day, who does not like tight-fitting clothing? It may be casual wear, performance wear, swimwear or fashionable products. But, before the invention of spandex, fashion designers could not think of this tight-fitting clothing. It is the Spandex filament that made all these happen to make stretchable clothing products.

An overview of Lycra/Spandex/Elastane

The seventh textile fibre to be developed by Du Pont. Lycra or Spandex is a multi-filament bundle joined together to form a monofilament yarn that stretches and snaps back into place like rubber. It is stronger and more durable than conventional elastic thread. Less weight gives longer wear and has from two to three times as much restraining power. As a result, it provides softer, lighter and sheerer girdles with the kind of figure control heretofore confined to heavier, bulkier garments. It also makes possible girdles and brassieres that, with proper temperature controls, can be both machines washed and machine dried with complete safety.

What is Lycra or Spandex

The groundwork for the development of Lycra was laid by a Du Pont research team seeking ways to produce a fibre that would have the elastic qualities of rubber but at the same time would be a textile fibre in the truest sense. This pioneering work ultimately led to the discovery of a product known in its experimental stage as fibre K.

In April of 1958, Fibre K was introduced for trade evaluation and during the next year and a half was tested extensively by foundation garment manufacturers. Plans for its commercialization and adoption of the trademark Lycra were announced in October 1959.

Chemical composition

The fibre forming substance in Lycra is a long-chain synthetic polymer comprised of at least 85% of segmented polyurethane. This means that it is 100% man-made elastomeric and does not contain any natural rubber.

Main characteristics

Sock tops of Lycra have lasting stretch, snap-back and stamina plus resistance to such foes of elastic as laundering, perspiration, and detergents.

It opens new fields in fabric construction and styling not attainable with conventional elastic yarns. It can be used bare or covered. Bare means that it is not wrapped with a covering yarn such as nylon before it is knit into fabric. Natural elastic yarns and other spandex fibres usually are used with covering yarns, primarily because of their relative lack of strength and uniformity as compared with Lycra. Whether it is used with or without a covering yarn depends on the fabric construction and holding power desired.

Apparel uses

At the present time, it is found in products such as girdles, exercise wear, bras, swimsuits, support and surgical stockings, men’s sock, tops, and football pants.

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He is Abu Sayed, the founder of the blog site Textile Apex. He is a Textile Engineer having eight years plus practical experience in the Textile and Clothing industries. With a deep love for fashion and a keen eye for detail, he combines his creative flair with extensive knowledge to offer insightful and engaging content to his readers.
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