Elastane Vs Spandex: Which Stretchy Fabric is Best for You?

In the business of fashion, selecting the appropriate kind of fabric to work with is of the utmost importance. However, what exactly is the difference between spandex and elastane?

Discovering the distinctions between these two types of fabric is necessary before choosing which one will serve your purposes most effectively.

You get to pick the choice that best suits your requirements.

Is there any difference between Elastane and Spandex?

Elastane is an elastic material that is used in sports, dance, and fashion, while Spandex is the same thing but actually an anagram of “expands”.


Both of them are fabrics with weaves of cotton and elastic threads. They both have similar uses, and different advantages and disadvantages. 

Elastane and Spandex are synthetic materials that are made up of polyurethane copolymers. The greater pressure relief these fabrics provide is in part due to the elasticity of the material.

Elastane is well-known for its ability to conform to the wearer’s body in addition to its flexibility, and gentleness. It all depends on the construction method of the material as to whether or not it is lightweight or heavy.

Spandex on the other hand, is the same kind of fabric. The only distinguishing feature between the two is that they are known by 2 or probably 3 different names worldwide.


Elastane Vs Spandex

Elastane vs. Spandex is a debate that has been carried on for many years. It is a debate that has seen a lot of “facts” and “counterfacts” come out of it. 

Elastane is a term used predominantly in many regions in Europe. While Spandex is an American term. 

The world came to know of Elastane during World war II, when Otto Bayer, a German chemist, came up with the idea to use polyurethane as a replacement for rubber for the Nazis in their military equipment and vehicles. 

However, he would also be responsible for the accidental discovery of the elastomers that would later evolve into elastane.

While Spandex came into existence when American clothing manufacturers decided against using the term “Elastane” taken by the Nazis. 

The difference between Spandex and Elastane also arises from the fact that different manufacturers possess different methods and methods of production of the fabric, which may result in one type being stronger or more durable. 

Elastane Vs Spandex: Production

Elastane Vs Spandex

To produce them, Manufacturers use a chemical reaction involving diisocyanate and polyester. This produces a polymer, which is then spun to produce the fibers.

To make this kind of fabric, the first step in the manufacturing process is called pre-polymerization. It is done by combining macroglycol and diisocyanate monomer in a reaction vessel and then heated.

During the production process of dry spinning fiber, the prepolymer is further subjected to a reaction with a diamine. You could picture a chain reaction as a good illustration of this concept. It is then mixed with a solvent to make the spinning solution and also to make the solution kind of thinner.

The spinning solution is dried and converted into fibers in a cylindrical spinning cell. This is done by swirling the polymer solution and letting it out through a spinneret.

Nitrogen and solvent gas mixture is heated in this cell to align the polymer strands in a liquid medium. When the fibers leave the cell, compressed air bundles them into any kind of desired twists and thickness. 

The fibers are then layered with magnesium stearate and moved using spool-mounted rollers in the final stage of the process.

With the addition of polyester, nylon, or cotton, it can be used to make clothing fabric.

Elastane Vs Spandex: Uses

Since Elastane and Spandex are pretty much the same fabric types, it’s easy to say that they’ve got more or less the same uses. 

  • Elastane or Spandex (any name you prefer to call it) is utilized whenever there is a requirement for any fabric to have a degree of flexibility. That’s why Spandex fabric is sometimes added to cotton or polyester to enable it to become significantly more elastic. 
  • Did you know that elastane or spandex is often used to make movie costumes for motion capture? When actors wear these Spandex motion capture suits, these fabrics ensure that the suits remain tightly fitted to the performers’ bodies. This makes it easier to create hyperrealistic 3D figures based on the actors’ performances.
  • Although elastane does not make up a large percentage of the final product, sufficient amounts are frequently used in producing men’s and women’s form-fitting underwear.
  • Elastane can be found in underwear like panties, boxers, and bras. While it may not be in the main fabric, it is almost always in the waistband of an article of underwear.
  • Many types of socks, even wool socks, have a little spandex to keep them in place on the feet, making them an important component. Typical work or sporting socks contain at least 5-10% elastane.
  • Spandex and Elastane are pretty popular sportswear fabrics that can be used in any athletic activity. Clothing like sports bras, bikinis, hiking apparel, cycling shorts, yoga pants, and many more are manufactured using this fabric. 

Is There Any Similarity To Lycra Fabric?

Elastane or Spandex is pretty much the same as Lycra. Regarding their physical characteristics, Lycra and Spandex are completely interchangeable. Lycra is a type of spandex produced by DuPont manufacturers.

The reason why people use Lycra and Spandex is that they are both made of elastane.

After the end of the Second World War, manufacturers; DuPont purchased the research on polyurethane as an alternative to rubber that had been conducted by the German scientist Otto Bayer.

Subsequently, Joseph Shiver, a physicist and inventor came up with the concept for the material known as Lycra towards the late 1950s. DuPont came up with the brand name “Lycra” for the spandex fabric to increase the fabric’s popularity.

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