What is elastane fabric? Properties, process and application

Elastane fabric is widely known for its stretchability. This is a fabric that is widely used in everyday sportswear and accessories. So what is Elastane, what are its characteristics and what are its applications? Dugarco invites you to read the article below to get specific answers!

1. What is elastane fabric? 

Elastane is a lightweight synthetic fiber with excellent stretchability, used to make stretchy clothing such as sportswear. Elastane is made from polyurethane – A long-chain polymer is technically known as a polyether-polyurea copolymer. Elastane’s chemical composition makes it capable of stretching up to 600% of its original length.

elastane fabric
Its elasticity is such that it can stretch 7 times its original size

The history of elastane fabric dates back to the second world war. At that time, rubber was very popular with people, so the demand for rubber skyrocketed and the price fluctuated so it was necessary to find an alternative. At this time, the person who was at the forefront of the search and made the breakthrough was Joseph Shiver, one of the textile scientists at the chemical company DuPont.

In 1959, by transforming Dacron into a stretchy fiber that retains its shape when subjected to high temperatures. Joseph perfected what he called the K-strand nearly 10 years after the search began. Later, this fiber was renamed Lycra by DuPont. By 1962, this yarn was becoming more and more widely known, so production was carried out on a large scale. At this time, the name Elastane was given as the common name for this fabric.

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2. Characteristics of elastane fabric

Typical characteristics of fabric elastane:

  • The fabric is fresh, soft, and light.
  • Has the ability to prevent clothes from wrinkling and wrinkling.
  • Elastane can be used easily.
elastane polyester fabric
Elastane fabric has good elasticity
  • When in contact with body oils, lotions, perspiration, or detergents, Elastane is resistant to damage
  • Scratch resistant.
  • This fabric is stronger and more durable, with more rubber, and it can be stretched many times without changing the original form.

3. The production process of elastane material

The production process of elastane fabric includes four different methods: reactive spinning, solution wet spinning, melt extrusion, and solution dry spinning. Most of these production methods have been abandoned because they are inefficient or wasteful. Currently, solution dry spinning is used to produce about 95% of the world’s supply of spandex.

Dry spinning in solution begins with the production of polymers by mixing macro glycol with diisocyanate monomer in a special type of reaction vessel. The volume ratio between the two is usually 1 glycol:2 diisocyanate. Once the polymer is prepared, it is reacted with diamine acid in a process known as chain elongation.

lycra fabric by the yard
The elastane production process consists of 3 and 6 steps

Next, dilute the solution with a solvent to make it easier to handle, and then place it inside a fiber-producing cell. This cell works to make elastane fibers. These fibers are then bundled together by a pneumatic device to twist them.

Next, magnesium stearate or polymers are used to treat elastane. This gives the fabric a perfect finish and prevents the threads from sticking together. Finally, these yarns are transferred to spools and then dyed or woven into yarn.

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4. Application of elastane fabric

Some outstanding applications of elastane fabric:

  • Used to sew all kinds of clothes such as swimwear, cycling clothes, gym clothes, skinny jeans, ski pants, shorts, yoga leggings, …
  • Used to sew bodysuits such as Zentai suits, leotard suits, diving suits,…
  • Used to design accessories such as belts, gloves, tights, and socks.
polyester and elastane fabric
Fabric with good stretch suitable for sportswear
  • Elastane is often used to produce underwear to increase elasticity and comfort. The belt of the underwear is made of elastane. It has the effect of hugging the user’s waist tightly.
  • Blend elastane with cotton to create stretch denim.

5. Which country is elastane material produced?

Some elastane fabric is manufactured in the United States, but the majority of the global supply of the substance is overseas. In particular, China holds the largest market share in the production of this fabric. Global economic reporting company ReportBuyer predicts that worldwide production of elastane will continue to increase until 2023 and for the foreseeable future after this date.

nylon elastane fabric
Place of production of elastane

6. What is the price of fabric elastane?

Compared with similar synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and rayon, elastane material has a higher value due to its elasticity. The manufacturing process that creates this fabric is also relatively complex, which further increases its price. However, the price of elastane is also directly affected by market fluctuations. If there is more supply of elastane, its price will be lower and the price will increase inversely when the supply of this fabric is less.

elastane fabric
The consumer price of elastane is relatively high

7. Different types of elastane fabric 

Technically, there is actually only one type of elastane fabric, but it is called by different names under different circumstances. As follows:

  • Elastane: This is the general term used to name polyether-polyurea copolymer fabrics.
  • Spandex: Spandex is the name DuPont gave their elastane product during development.
  • Lycra: When DuPont started introducing its elastane product to textile mills, they named the product “Lycra.” This name was registered by the DuPont Corporation.
what's elastane fabric
3 popular names of elastane fabric

8. Factors to consider when buying fabric elastane

Factors you need to consider before buying fabric elastane:

  • Recovery speed: A fabric’s ability to prevent sagging depends on its recovery rate. You can try stretching the fabric you bought. If the return to the original size is slow, you may likely buy a low-quality fabric.
  • Stretch factor: Elastane has the ability to stretch 7 times its original size. Try stretching your fabric and check its stretch.
  • Transparency: Some elastane materials tend to be transparent when stretched or exposed to strong light.
  • Price: You don’t have to buy expensive elastane to make sure that is real. You should try on cheap fabrics to see if the elastane is of good quality.
elastane fabric
The coefficient of elasticity is a factor that determines the quality of the fabric

9. Impact of elastane material on the environment

The main issue about the impact of elastane fabric on the environment is its biodegradability. Normally, these fabrics do not degrade over time in nature and they gradually accumulate in the environment. Furthermore, its production is energy-intensive and uses a variety of harmful chemicals. We cannot deny that elastane can lead to environmental pollution.

what is elastane fabric
Elastane is not biodegradable

10. Instructions for elastane fabric care

Here are some elastane fabric care instructions:

  • Hand washing is the best way to reduce stretch in fabric elastane because machine washing will cause the fabric to stretch too much.
  • Chlorine bleach should not be used to clean stains on fabrics. Chlorine bleach is a strong chemical, using it will destroy the fabric structure.
  • The fabric should not be wrung out when washing, just a gentle squeeze is enough to get the water out.
  • If washing by machine, you should choose a gentle wash and not let your fabric soak in water for too long. Alternatively, you can wrap the fabric in a mesh laundry bag before putting it in the washing machine to protect it from damage.
cotton elastane fabric
Elastane fabric should not be dried at hot temperatures
  • You should wash the fabric in cool water at a temperature of 30 degrees to cold water.
  • You need to avoid using a tumble dryer to dry fabrics. Because the heat from the dryer can damage the fibers.
  • Fabrics containing 100% elastane should not be ironed. For fabrics with low elastane content, you can iron on the coolest setting if needed.
  • Elastane should be stored in a well-ventilated place and protected from direct sunlight.

The above article is information about what elastane fabric is, its characteristics, and the application that you can refer to. Hope the article can help you have more useful knowledge about this fabric. If you have any questions, let’s contact Dugarco!

Contact information:

  • Address: 59 Đức Giang, Đức Giang, Long Biên, HN
  • Phone: 024 3655 7930
  • Email: dugarco@mayducgiang.com.vn
  • Website: https://dugarco.com/en/


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