Lycra vs Spandex: Difference and Comparison

Spandex is another name for elastane, whereas Lycra is the name of DuPont’s product made of spandex fibre. Spandex or elastane implies that the fibre is elastic and stretchable.

It is used to make skin-tight outfits like activewear, swimsuits, and sometimes jeans. There are other brands too that produce Lycra.

Key Takeaways

  1. Lycra is a brand name for Spandex, while Spandex is a generic term for a synthetic fiber with elastic properties.
  2. Lycra is known for its stretch and recovery capabilities, while Spandex is known for its strength and durability.
  3. Lycra is commonly used in clothing and athletic wear, while Spandex is used in various products, including furniture, medical devices, and automotive parts.

Lycra vs Spandex

Lycra and Spandex differ because Lycra is the brand name, and spandex is the fibre’s name. In general, Lycra and spandex are the same as one another. There is no major difference between these two terms except that spandex is a fibre, whereas Lycra is a product produced from spandex fibre. Lycra is in analogy with levis, whereas spandex is in analogy with denim.

Lycra vs

Lycra is the product’s name produced and registered by the DuPont organization. It is a subcategory of spandex or a product of spandex. More appropriately, Lycra is the variety or a specific kind of spandex used to manufacture clothes. It is a brand name or a product name.

Spandex is the name of raw material or fibre used in manufacturing fabrics. The basic constituents of spandex are the elongated sequence of artificial polymers that comprise nearly 80 per cent of several fragments of a polymer, namely polyurethane. This polymer is responsible for its flexible nature and elasticity.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLycraSpandex
DefinitionIt is a product or fabric that is made out of spandex.    It is the name of a specific type of material, fabric, or raw material.
Manufacturer It is manufactured only by DuPont and Invista companies.        It is manufactured and sold by many companies.
Meaning Lycra is more like a trading name. Spandex is the generic word used to describe or label that fibre.
Relationship Between Lycra and SpandexAll lycra products are spandex.Not all spandex fibres can be called lycra.
AnalogyLycra is homologous to the brand name of any product.          Spandex is homologous to the component or the raw material’s generic name.

What is Lycra?

Lycra is the name of the brand registered by the Dupont company. Many companies similarly manufacture and sell spandex fibres in several names like ROICA, ESPA, elaspan, and linel.

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It is interchangeably used to refer to spandex fibre. It was manufactured by the biotechnology-oriented American company DuPont. The company manufactures chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and also polymers.

It is also famous for manufacturing synthetic fibres, petroleum-based fuels, and other industrial chemicals. The company also manufactures paints.

Lycra constitutes spandex and other polymers of fibres to increase its stretchability and elasticity and to make it wearable and durable.

However, it is mixed with a few other fibres. Its elastic properties are mainly due to the presence of spandex.

Its properties make it very powerful, strong, convenient, and durable. Lycra is a fitness and sports-friendly fabric due to its sweat-resistant nature.

Despite doing its tasks, it also doesn’t fail to make us feel comfortable. It is a durable knit fibre made up of 88% polyester and is also available in environmentally friendly variations.

It is available in versatile and vibrant colours and patterns. It is also resistant to saline water, making it the perfect fit for swimwear. Athletes prefer to use this fibre a majority of the time.

lycra

What is Spandex?

A famous chemist in Virginia in 1959 created this spandex fibre. The fibre is made up of poly tetramethylene ether glycol, which is commonly known as PTMEG.

The fibre is best known for its elasticity and stretchy nature. Spandex has a tough competitor, which is rubber. Some amount of rubber is also present in spandex.

Its invincible elasticity provides the material with both strength and suppleness. It is resistant to scratches and has good wear and tear towards sweat and oil excretions of the human body.

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It can handle, tolerate and resist sweat more than rubber, making it special. Along with spandex fibre, sometimes yarn is also included to provide an outer coating to the fibre.

Spandex is the name of fibre in the North American regions.

In some European nations, it is popularly known as elastane. Another interesting fact is that the word ‘spandex’ is the anagram of the word expands.

It retains its properties and regains its original form after it is stretched and released. The discovery of spandex is a game-changer in the field of fitness.

It manufactures body-hugging yet comfortable sportswear, pants, and swimwear. Its elastic property is five times greater than that of rubber. However, it is not a natural polymer but chemically prepared in laboratories.

Main Differences Between Lycra and Spandex

  1. Lycra is a garment made out of raw material, spandex which is the name of the fibre, whereas Lycra is the name of the fabric.
  2. Lycra is specifically produced by the DuPont company. Spandex fibre is manufactured in many laboratories and sold by many companies.
  3. All lycra fabrics can be called spandex, whereas not all spandex fibres can be called Lycra.
  4. Lycra is the brand or trading name, but spandex is the common generic name given to the fibre.
  5. Lycra comprises cotton and polyester in addition to spandex. Whereas spandex is a polymer and doesn’t contain fragments of other materials.
Difference Between Lycra and
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0379677905008258
  2. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/147/3656/373.abstract

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Lycra vs Spandex: Difference and Comparison”

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  1. A very enlightening article that I believe will dispel many myths about Lycra and Spandex. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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  6. The comprehensive explanation of Lycra and Spandex in this article has really cleared up any confusion I had between the two. Well done!

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  7. This article provided a very comprehensive analysis of the difference between Lycra and Spandex. It clarified that Lycra is the brand name for Spandex, and that Lycra and Spandex are the same, except that Lycra is the specific product made from Spandex.

    Reply
    • I agree. It’s important to distinguish between Lycra and Spandex since many people use these terms interchangeably when they are actually different.

      Reply
  8. This article has really cleared up a lot of misconceptions about Lycra and Spandex. I appreciate the depth of information provided.

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