What is elastane?
Elastane is a synthetic chemical material derived from petroleum, often found in clothing. The terms "Spandex", "Fibre k" or even "Lycra" (registered trademark) are sometimes used to refer to this same fiber, elastane.
It is a synthetic fiber appreciated for its elasticity , which makes it one of the materials of choice in today's textile industry, particularly in the manufacture of sports clothing : surf suits, swimsuits, leotards... It is also found in ready-to-wear ( socks , shirts, maternity clothes...) or in decoration (furniture clothing, chair coverings... ).
Elastane is a material that is often used in the composition of sportswear.
Why is elastane used in textiles?
After having been the prerogative of the sports market (in particular with the development of the Lycra brand), elastane is now favored for a multitude of ready-to-wear products. Flexible and light , finer and more resistant than a natural rubber thread, the elastane fiber is preferred in the manufacture of flexible and stretch clothing: underwear, pants, socks, t-shirts, swimsuits, tights etc It keeps its original shape even after stretching.
Elastane is hydrophobic , which means it has a very low propensity to absorb water. It has good resistance to abrasive and chemical agents. However, dry or humid heat can alter its elastic qualities. Comfortable, it is a material appreciated by consumers.
History of spandex
Initially called "K fiber" when it was created by scientist Joseph C. Shivers in 1958, elastane is now enjoying dazzling success. It is one of those elastic and comfortable synthetic fibers that dominate the textile industry today.
Its growth in the textile market is constantly increasing: worldwide the production of elastane is increasing by 7 to 8% per year on average.
Asian countries (South Korea, China, Japan) are the world leaders in elastane production: according to an economic bulletin of January 2018, the South Korean textile manufacturer Hyosung represents 30% of the world market share (a production which extends to 190,000 tons of elastane per year).
North America (Canada, US) is the second largest exporter of elastane followed by Europe (Germany, United Kingdom). The demand for elastane is especially strong in Asian countries, the leading producers of synthetic textiles. . In Europe, on the other hand, the high cost of labor coupled with low demand, makes it an undesirable material.