What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide
| |

What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide

This guide is here to tell you everything you need to know about what is spandex fabric and its properties.

One strange query that appears on the Internet repeatedly during each sewing season is what is spandex. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably asked this question too.

Spandex is the abbreviation of polyurethane fiber, which is a kind of elastic fiber. Spandex is generally composed of multiple filaments, generally 10D/root.

The following provides a thorough understanding and knowledge of the content of spandex. Since we all want to know as much as we can about spandex.

What is Spandex Fabric?

Known and praised for its high elasticity, spandex is a thin, synthetic fabric. In essence, it refers to textiles made from polyether-polyurea copolymers, which are produced using a variety of techniques. In some nations, this substance is also referred to as elastane.

The ability of spandex to stretch easily up to seven times its original size makes it a favorite among athletes and companies that make tight-fitting clothing. Approximately 8 out of 10 consumers own at least one item of clothing that contains spandex, making it one of the most widely used fabrics worldwide.

This fabric might occasionally be combined with other synthetic or semi-synthetic fibers.

Advantages of Spandex Fabric

What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide
  • It is not brittle and has good elasticity, being able to be stretched 5-8 times.
  • Better dyeing performance: it can be dyed into various tonal colors, and the dyestuff has a strong affinity to the fiber and can adapt to most varieties of dyestuff.
  • High elongation, low elastic modulus, and rapid elastic recovery.
  • A softening temperature of 200°C or higher indicates moderate thermal stability. For the most part, the dyes and finishes used for synthetic and natural fibers can also be used to color and finish spandex.
  • Good chemical resistance: Resistant to most acids and bases, chemicals, organic solvents, dry cleaners, and bleaches as well as to sun, wind, and snow.
  • Sweat, seawater, various dry-cleaning solvents, and the majority of sunscreen oils are all resistant to spandex.

Disadvantages of Spandex Fabric

  • Poor moisture absorption: The range of moisture absorption is small, typically ranging between 0.3% and 1.2% (the moisture absorption rate of compound silk is marginally higher than monofilament).
  • Commonly combined with other fabrics; rarely used alone. This fiber has both rubber and fiber properties and is mostly used for core-spun yarns with spandex as the core yarn.
  • Poor heat resistance: Species can have very different levels of heat resistance. The majority of fibers can be temporarily stored at temperatures between 90 and 150°C without suffering any damage. When heating with wet washing, the safe ironing temperature, which is below 150°C, can be disturbed.
  • Not resistant to oxides: the fiber can easily turn yellow and lose strength.

How is Spandex Fabric Made?

To begin the spandex fabric production process, a substance called macroglycol is mixed with a diisocyanate monomer under specific heat and pressure. In order to achieve the desired outcomes, precise temperature and pressure conditions are also required, as well as a ratio of roughly 1:2 between the macroglycol and diisocyanate monomer.

What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide

A substance known as a prepolymer can be created under the right circumstances, and this substance is used in the remaining steps of the production process. A chemical reaction is known as the chain extrusion reaction is started when the prepolymer is exposed to diamine acid after it has formed.

The resulting material is extremely viscous and needs to be diluted with a solvent in order to proceed to the next stage. The prepolymer is loaded into a device known as a fiber production cell or a cylindrical spinning cell once it is thin enough to work with.

A component with numerous tiny holes inside of this machine is called a spinneret. The prepolymer solution is pushed through these holes as the fiber production cell rotates, taking the shape of fabric strands.

These strands, however, are still in a liquid state when they emerge from the spinneret, and they are then exposed to heated solvent gas and nitrogen to render them into a solid state.

After being forced out of the cylindrical spinning cell, these solid fibers transform into twisted strands when they come into contact with pressurized air. This compressed air can form strands of many different sizes.

The spandex fiber is then submerged in a finishing agent made of magnesium stearate or a chemically related substance. It is prepared to be woven into fabric once it has been wound onto a spool.

Different Types of Spandex Fabric

The final product is chemically the same when spandex is produced using various techniques. However, confusion can ensue due to the different terms that are used to describe this fabric:

  • Spandex: This term is not a trademark, and it is, in fact, an anagram of “expands.” Although it was never intended, the term “spandex” became the default way that consumers would refer to elastane fabric. Today, the majority of Americans and Canadians use this term to describe this fabric.
  • Elastane: Most Europeans use variants of the term “elastane” to refer to this type of fabric. Elastane is the most chemically correct way of referring to this fabric.
  • Lycra: The DuPont Corporation has registered this word as a trademark. Only spandex produced by DuPont can be referred to as Lycra, but this material shares many properties with spandex and elastane and is chemically identical to those materials. See the Difference Between Lycra and Spandex.
What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide

The Use of Spandex Fabric

It can be used for just about anything, making this fabric as versatile as a paper clip. All of it, at least. It is employed for anything that might call for a certain level of elasticity. It is primarily employed in the production of various kinds of clothing and apparel in the modern world.

Here are some of the most popular uses of spandex material:

For Form-fitting Garments

In some cases, many clothing brands and companies use pure spandex to produce fully form-fitting clothes for their consumers. If you’ve ever had or seen an outfit that was incredibly stretchy, it was probably made entirely of spandex.

Pure spandex, on the other hand, is quite pricey, so regular consumers might not be able to afford clothing made from this material. We now come to another common application for spandex: as an additional fabric.

Woven into Other Fabrics

Since spandex in its pure form is relatively pricey, the majority of producers and consumers choose to incorporate it into other fabrics as a more cost-effective alternative. Cotton may occasionally have it added to it to make it more elastic. It can also be used to increase the elasticity of other fabrics, including polyester fabrics that are very rigid.

For Underwear

It is usually included in different kinds of underwear – both for males and females. Most underwear waistbands are made with this material in order to ensure a firm grip on the wearer’s waist.

What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide


Clothing that rides close to the skin is typically required for athletic activities. Because of this, it is employed in the creation of swimwear, cycling gear, and various types of clothing for sporting events. This also explains why most superheroes in films don spandex outfits that are embarrassingly tight when they fight crime. See What Are Spandex Shorts?

Industrial Applications

Outside of the clothing industry, spandex is used for a few other things. In some instances, the film industry uses this fabric to make motion capture suits that are then used to create lifelike 3D characters for movies.

Features of Spandex Fabric

  • Stretchability: Spandex fabric is a great option for making comfortable, easy-to-move-in, form-fitting clothing because it can stretch up to five times its original length.
  • Comfort: Lightweight, supple, and comfortable to wear, spandex fabric. It’s a popular option for activewear and athleisure because it’s breathable and allows for freedom of movement.
  • Versatility: Spandex can be blended with other fibers, such as cotton, polyester, or nylon, to create a range of different fabrics with unique properties
  • Durability: The elasticity and strength of spandex fabric, which is renowned for its durability, are unaffected by repeated stretching, washing, and use.
  • Lightweight: Because spandex is a lightweight, breathable fabric, it is perfect for making movable activewear and sportswear.
  • Quick-drying: Fast-drying spandex is a preferred material for swimwear and other water-resistant clothing.

Does Spandex Fabric Pucker Easily?

In general, spandex won’t pill, but blending spandex with other fabrics may cause pilling to appear. The fact that the fabric is made of a variety of cross-woven yarn fibers with short fibers is the primary cause of this phenomenon. When people wear it on the body and other clothing friction, short fibers will be exposed from the yarn, resulting in clothing pilling.

What is Spandex Fabric? A Complete Spandex Guide

Does Spandex Fabric Shrink?

Fabric made of spandex has a higher degree of elasticity and does not easily shrink. 15% spandex is generally used for clothing that is tight fitting. Modified size in order to soothe a variety of body adaptability and increase the slimming effect.

Is Spandex Fabric Harmful?

It is Not Harmful to the Human Body

The human body is not harmed by spandex. In actuality, spandex, an elastic fabric, is a small component of many of the clothes we wear. Numerous types of clothing, including sportswear and swimwear, as well as shoe soles, use it in their fabrics.

And there is also a percentage of spandex to help add elasticity and comfort to the fabric of many clothes, such as underwear, which may have 5% spandex.


It is Harmful to the Environment

Wastewater, waste residue, and waste gas are the main pollutants in the production of spandex, and they can be dangerous to the environment if not properly handled.

However, if these pollutants are handled properly, not only can the company’s sustainable development be enhanced, but also the rate at which resources are used and the harm that is done to the human body can be decreased.

Reduce pollution emissions and investigate and create environmentally friendly production methods. The environment of the earth will suffer irreparable harm if it doesn’t.

Conclusion: Spandex Fabric

This concludes our discussion of spandex fabrics. Spandex fabric is a polyester type of artificial chemical synthetic fiber. Because it has very good elasticity, it is also called elastic fiber.

To achieve the goal of increasing elasticity and comfort, garment fabrics are typically blended with different proportions of spandex, and are widely used. Form-fitting fabrics are the most typical place where spandex is used. Cotton and wool socks also contain significant amounts of spandex.


Is Spandex a Good Material?

Spandex fabric is a popular fabric because of its unique properties, such as elasticity and significant strength. Even after being stretched out, it can go back to its original shape. Additionally, compared to other fabrics, it dries quickly, which makes it perfect for sportswear.

Is Spandex a Cotton?

A synthetic fabric called spandex is best known for its elasticity. This material is blended with cotton fibers to create a cotton spandex fabric with exceptionally high stretchability.

Is Spandex Hot to Wear?

A skin infection could result from wearing clothing made of spandex, which is not a breathable fabric and traps moisture, sweat, and unpleasant odors. Combining spandex with breathable materials like cotton can solve these problems. Spandex is very sensitive to heat due to its chemical formation and does not absorb liquid.

Don't forget to share this post.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.