Whether you are making a costume for your next costume party or want to try something new, learning about different types of spandex fabric can be helpful. Spandex is a synthetic polymer developed during World War II by chemical engineers to replace rubber.
It is made by melting a long-chain polyglycol and diisocyanate monomer mixture under proper temperature and pressure conditions. This reaction forms a prepolymer that is further reacted with a diamine to initiate the chain extrusion reaction.
Lycra is a synthetic elastic fabric with a fantastic amount of stretch. It is used in various consumer fabrics, including leggings, underwear, swimwear, and even socks. This is why you must understand the different types of spandex fabric because these are wildly used in making other garments.
Lycra fibers are often mixed with other fabric types to increase their elasticity and make them more comfortable for wearers. For example, if 10% Lycra is mixed with rigid polyester, it can expand roughly two times its standard size when stretched.
Spandex was invented by a chemist named Joseph Shiver in the late 1950s and manufactured by DuPont. This company is known for its inventions, and they have manufacturing locations in several countries worldwide.
The fabric is a polyurethane or synthetic rubber, and it is made by mixing a monomer with a diisocyanate monomer. This mixture is then exposed to minutely calibrated levels of heat and pressure.
This is a long process, and it involves multiple chemical reactions that are controlled to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved. After this step, the material is ready for production. The fabric can be woven, sewn, or knitted into various styles and designs. It is a popular choice for sportswear because it has incredible elasticity and is very comfortable to wear. It is also a good choice for clothes subjected to heavy use because they are solid and durable.
Spandex, also known as elastane, is a popular synthetic fabric prized for its incredible elasticity. It’s used in a wide range of clothing, including swimsuits, hosiery, waistbands, lingerie, and disposable diapers. The global production of spandex and other synthetic fabrics currently consumes 1.35 percent of the world’s oil resources. This is a lot of fossil fuels, especially considering that experts predict that if the current trend continues, it will account for 73 percent of textiles production by 2030.
Scientists first use various raw materials to create these stretchy fibers to make prepolymers. They combine these with catalysts and stabilizers to protect the integrity of the polymers.
Once the fabric is created, it undergoes a series of chemical reactions that change its properties. For example, some of the rigid segments of the fibers bond together and form a rigid molecule that gives the fiber strength.
When a force is applied to the strands, these bonds break, and the long, amorphous segments of the fibers straighten out. This makes the strands longer, and it increases their stiffness.
This fantastic material isn’t biodegradable and will be around for as long as human civilization survives. However, it is possible to make it safer for the environment by using sustainable power sources to transport its prepolymers and other ingredients.
Cotton-spandex blends are a popular type of fabric that is used in clothing. They can be worn in both summer and winter, and they are also a good choice for layering because they provide thermal insulation.
These blends are made from tiny synthetic spandex filaments wrapped in cotton fibers to give the clothes their stretchy qualities. This combination allows the clothing to be comfortable, breathable, and not wrinkle easily.
Spandex fabrics are an excellent choice for a wide range of clothing, from sportswear to undergarments. They can be crafted into body-contouring dresses, skirts, shorts, and pants. They are also helpful for crafters who want to make athletic wear and dancewear.
These tiny spandex filaments are woven with cotton, nylon, or polyester to create the clothing. These fibers retain their original characteristics while giving the blend a stretchy appearance.
The process of making these fabrics is called solution dry spinning. This method combines a prepolymer with a solvent to thin the polymer. The resulting substance is then loaded into a fiber production cell and spun. Then, the filaments are pushed out of the spinneret and exposed to heated nitrogen and solvent gas, solidifying them into yarn.
The spun yarn is then woven or knitted into the fabric. These are usually interwoven with other types of fibers, such as modal, cotton, and nylon, to produce the materials most commonly found in clothing.
Spandex fabric is used in a variety of applications, including swimwear, bicycling apparel, and types of clothing that are worn in competitive team sports. It is also used in the film industry to make motion capture suits, which are particular bodysuits that actors wear to create realistic 3D characters on green screens.
There are many different types of spandex, so choosing the right one for your project is essential. There are many factors to consider, including how much stretch the fabric will have and whether it is 2-way or 4-way.
Another important consideration is color. While many types of spandex are neutral, some are more vibrant and can be used to create unique effects. Foil print spandex, for example, is an excellent option for costumes that are meant to stand out.
However, you should know that foil-printed spandex is usually more expensive than other stretch fabrics. There are better choices than this if you are looking for the highest level of stretch.
Knits are knitted using a process that promotes stretch and is designed to be flexible. Because of this, they are frequently utilized for performance costuming. For added support and durability, they are commonly woven with mixtures of other fabrics. Numerous materials, such as cotton and silk, can be used to create them.