The key difference between elastane and spandex is that elastane is a synthetic fiber material whereas Spandex is the brand name for elastane material.
Elastane is a fiber that does not occur naturally but is synthetically produced through different industrial routes. There are two major brand names for elastane materials as Spandex and Lycra. There are slight differences between the two materials depending on the manufacturer.
What is Elastane?
Elastane is the generic name used for brand names such as Spandex and Lycra. In other words, elastane material is available in two brand names: Spandex and Lycra. This material is used mainly in the textile industry as a fabric. The incredible elasticity of this material makes it very useful in the textile industry. This term is mainly used in the European region.
Elastane is a polyether-polyurea copolymer material. This material was invented in 1958 by the chemist Joseph Shivers at the Dupont laboratory. There are for major ways of producing the elastane fiber: melt extrusion, reaction spinning, solution dry spinning and solution wet spinning. These four methods include the initial step of reacting monomers to produce a prepolymer material. This prepolymer is then reacted in these different routes to obtain the elastane fiber material. However, over 90% of elastane material is produced through solution dry spinning method.
Elastane has an exceptional elasticity, which can increase the clothing’s pressure comfort, enhancing the ease of body movements. The term pressure comfort refers to the response towards clothing by the pressure receptors of the human body. The favourable features of the material to obtain pressure comfort include stretchiness, sung, loose, heavy, lightweight, soft, and stiff characteristics. The pressure comfort is superior with elastane materials.
What is Spandex?
Spandex is a brand name for elastane material and has the meaning “expands”. This brand name is the preferred term in North America, but in other regions of the world, other names are used to refer to this material. Lycra is another brand name for the same material but with slightly different compositions.
Major uses of Spandex brand include the production of accessories such as gloves and socks, athletic material such as competitive swimwear, bodysuits such as wetsuits, bottoms such as leggings, etc.
What is the Difference Between Elastane and Spandex?
Both names elastane and Spandex refer to the same material, but they are different in terms because Spandex is the brand name for elastane material. The key difference between elastane and spandex is that elastane is a synthetic fiber material, whereas Spandex is the brand name for elastane material. Moreover, the term elastane is mainly used in the European region, while the term spandex is used in North America.
Summary – Elastane vs Spandex
Spandex and Lycra are the two major brand names for elastane material. Elastane is a polyether-polyurea material. The key difference between elastane and spandex is that elastane is a synthetic fiber material, whereas Spandex is the brand name for elastane material. Moreover, the term elastane is used in the European region, while the brand name Spandex is used mainly in the North American region.
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2. “Lycra vs Spandex vs Elastane: What’s the Difference? Are They the Same Material?” Norway Geographical, 16 Apr. 2020, Available here.
3. “Spandex.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Nov. 2020, Available here.
1. “Polyurethane Fibers (micro photo)” By Photon 400 750 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cynthia Barboza” By Rachel Boettcher, U.S. Air Force – http://www.defenseimagery.mil; VIRIN: 080614-F-0558K-006 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia