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Fiber & Textile

Fiber & Textile

Polyurethane Fibers (Spandex)


Polyurethane fibers, sometimes called Spandex or Elastane, are synthetic fibers in which the fiber forming substance is a polymer consisting of at least 85 percent segmented polyurethane. The fiber is produced by reacting a polyester with a diisocyanate.

Spandex has elastomeric, rubberlike qualities and is very durable. In fact, it is even more durable than rubber and can be stretched more than 500 percent without breaking. It has good chemical resistance to many diluted acids and alkalis, but some may damage the fiber. Its strength is rather low when compared to most other synthetic fibers and its heat resistance can vary considerably depending on the composition. The fiber has excellent resistance to mildew and does not shrink when exposed to water.


Spandex Fiber Properties

Tensile Strength (Tenacity) Poor
Abrasion Resistance Excellent
Absorbency Fair - Good
Static Resistance Good
Heat Resistance Poor
Wrinkle Resistance Excellent
Resistance to Sunlight Very Good
Elasticity Excellent
Flame Resistance Burns Slowly
Resilience Very Good


CoMMERCIAL Spandex Fibers

Major manufacturers of urethane fibers are Indorama, Invista and Asahi-Kasei.



Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers are molded and shaped into many different parts. Most of these elastomers can also be spun into fibers. They are used to make elastic textiles such as sock tops, bras, support hoses, weatherproof clothing, swimsuits, and other athletic apparel.


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