Definition of Spandex

Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than its major non-synthetic competitor, natural latex. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymer that was invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont's Benger Laboratory in Waynesboro, Virginia. When first introduced, it revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry.

The name "spandex" is an anagram of the word "expands". It is the preferred name in North America; in continental Europe it is referred to by variants of "elastane", i.e. elasthanne (France), elastan (Germany), elastano (Spain and Portugal), elastam (Italy) and Elasthaan (Holland), and is known in the UK, Ireland, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand primarily as Lycra. Brand names for spandex include Lycra (made by Koch subsidiary Invista, previously a part of DuPont), Elaspan (also Invista), Acepora (Taekwang), Creora (Hyosung), ROICA and Dorlastan (Asahi Kasei), Linel (Fillattice), and ESPA (Toyobo).