The elastane fabric stands out as a term for defining branded textiles, like Lycra, which also goes by the name, Spandex. These types of materials are well-known in the market for their elasticity.
Elastane, Lycra, and Spandex stand out as the same material. The term, Elastane, and Lycra are commonly used in continental Europe. The term also stands out as a common word in the Middle East, Australia, and the UK. Spandex stands out as a common term for Elastane in North American.
The textile carries a long-chain polymer referred to as polyurethane. Within the technical circles, you will know it as polyether-polyurea copolymer.
Elastane stands out as a synthetic material, and you will not find any organic material in it. They also do not exist in nature.
The process of creating Elastane
You will come across four different ways to create the Elastane fabric. These ways are solution dry-spinning, reaction spinning, melt extrusion, and solution wet-spinning.
The majority of the techniques stand out as wasteful or inefficient. But the solution dry-spinning has remained the most effective. To learn more about the steps of the solution dry-spinning, check the information below.
Step 1: Creating the prepolymer
Macroglycol and diisocyanate monomer are combined to create a prepolymer. The mixing takes place within a particular reaction vessel.
Step 2: The chain extension
During the solution dry spinning technique, the prepolymer gets reacted with diamine acid.
Step 3: Diluting
To make the solution thinner and easier to handle, you have to dilute it with a solvent. The solution gets transferred to fiber production cells.
Step 4: Extrusion
During the extrusion, the cell starts spinning to cure the Elastane material and produce the fiber. The solution makes its way through the spinneret right within the cell.
Step 5: Heating
Through a solvent and nitrogen gas solution, the fibers receive heat after the extrusion process. Doing so will transform the liquid polymer into thick strands.
Step 6: Twisting
Once the strands exist in the spinning cell, they get bundled up together. It happens because they get twisted by a compressed air device.
Step 7: Finishing
When it comes to treating the Elastane material, magnesium stearate or any other polymer plays its part as a finishing agent. This protects the fiber from adhering to each other.
Step 8: Weaving
The fibers make their way to a spool. You can then dye the fibers.
The characteristics of the Elastane fiber
Here are some of the main characteristics or features of this particular fiber. They are:
- You can easily dye the fabric.
- It’s soft, lightweight, smooth, and supple.
- It’s resistant to scratches.
- You can stretch the fabric repeatedly and recoils its actual shape quickly.
- Elastance carries a higher reactive force than rubber, durable and robust.
- The material is also resistant to deterioration through detergents, body oils, lotions, and sweat.
Background information on Elastane fiber
Elastane or Spandex first gained attention during the late 1950s. But the actual story of this particular fabric starts way back in 1937 in Nazi Germany. Otto Bayer and his colleagues, developed polyurethane.
This particular invention took place at the IG Farben plant in Leverkusen. The main reason for creating polyurethane to use it as a replacement for rubber. It’s because rubber was not available through specific trees and became a subject of unexpected price fluctuations.
It was also not that easy to obtain it. The Nazis used polyurethane as a coating on the fighter planes. The foam created through the polyurethane stands out as a heat and shock insulator.
Even in this modern era, applications made from plastic have remained the most widely used products on the entire planet.
Ways to use the Elastane fabric
You can use this particular fabric in countless ways. Look below!
- Pants: You can create pants, such as skinny jeans, yoga leggings, shorts, and ski pants
- Athletics: The fabric is ideal for creating clothing, such as exercise wear, swimwear, and cycling suits.
- Bodysuits: If you want to create wetsuits, Zentai suits, leotards, etc., you can easily do so with the Elastane material.
- Accessories: Elastane fabric stands out as the best material to create accessories, such as belts, socks, gloves, and tights.
Steps to follow when sewing the Elastane fabric
When it comes to sewing the fabric, the process is pretty simple. There are steps that you need to follow so that you receive favorable outcomes. Check below!
When you have decided to sew the fabric, use ballpoint needles instead of a needle with sharp points. It’s because sharp-pointed needles might damage the fabric.
Make sure to use the zig-zag style stitch to help your fabric stretch along the seam. Apart from that, it stands out as an alternative option for the serger.
Don’t opt for the cotton thread, but instead, choose the polyester one. It’s because the polyester thread carries a bit of stretch. For such reasons, it stands out as an excellent choice for the fabric.
When you are cutting the Elastane or Spandex fabric, don’t think of stretching it. This is crucial that you must keep in mind when using the Elastane fabric. Put the fabric on the floor or table without hanging the edges. After that, you can begin the cutting work.
Take a look at the edges of the fabric. If they have curled up, use a warm presser or an iron to flatten up the edges.
The cost of the Elastane fabric
Elastane carries a much higher value in the market. The technique used for making the fabric also increases the material’s price. Just like all the other textiles, the Elastane market gets highly affected due to fluctuations.
This means when there is more Elastane within the supply, the less will be their price rate. So, the price of the Elastane fabric will increase if the supply is low.
The global market of Elastane stands out to be pretty constant. But the fluctuations in the coming future might cause an unexpected increase or drop in the price.
Elastane and its impact on the environment
The negative impact caused due to Elastane is quite debatable. The main elements of the fabrics are made within a laboratory setting.
So, acquiring the raw items for the material doesn’t stand out as an environmentally lowering technique.
But the manufacturing process of the fabric stands out as energy-intensive and involves the usage of toxic products. For example, the production of polyurethane requires carcinogenic chemicals.
You might not come across such chemicals within the fabric. But the workers who handle the substance might get exposed to the chemical.
Experts say that the increased percentage is related to cancer due to workplace exposure to such chemicals. But many of the consumer and occupational safety firms have linked isocyanates.
The production of polyurethane occurs with raw materials like isocyanate. These chemicals cause asthma and various other respiratory problems.
You must utilize all the good manufacturing practices during the production of polyurethane. Doing so will prevent any significant environmental impact from taking place.
The issue with Elastane with the environment is its biodegradability. In other words, the fabric doesn’t break down over time, which incorporates the environment.
Countries that produce the fiber
Spandex stands out as a registered trademark of the DuPont Corporations.
The organization is the only entity within the blue planet to manufacture this particular form of Elastane.
But some organizations create the fiber without the presence of trademark restrictions.
The United States of America also stands out as one of the manufacturers. Other nations, such as Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy, and France, also manufacture Elastane fiber.
Top-notch manufacturers from each of the countries take the responsibility to create the fabric. But the majority of this particular substance is made on international waters.
The country of China has the most significant control over the Elastane fabric. The global economy has stated that fiber’s production will increase by 2023. The increase of Elastane’s production might also occur in the coming future.
Elastane, Spandex, or Lycra have gained a lot of popularity. You can use the material for creating various clothes and accessories. Elastane stands out as a stretchy material. It will fit perfectly on any body type.
Many well-known clothing brands also use this fabric. They have created some of the best quality products and items for the public. You will not experience any problems when you are stitching or sewing on this fabric.
It’s pretty soft and stands out as a luxurious material. The fabric will emphasize the body line and is a true luxury to wear. You can even opt for apparel made from this fabric for your everyday use.
They will not just look fantastic but are pretty comfortable as well. You can learn more about this fabric through this article. Otherwise, you are free to use the online platform.