Brown's Chemistry Revision Notes -
Smart Materials and Materials Science
PART 4 LYCRA-SPANDEX
ALPHABETICAL LIST of
materials, effects etc. mentioned on these pages: Smart
Materials Science INDEX * CARBON FIBRES * CHROMOGENIC
MATERIALS * ELECTROCHROMIC MATERIALS
* GORETEX * HALOCHROMIC
MATERIALS * HIGH PERFORMANCE
POLYMERS * KEVLAR * LYCRA *
MEMORY ALLOYS * MAGNETOSTRICTIVE
MATERIALS * NITINOL *
pH SENSITIVE POLYMERS *
PHOTOCHROMIC MATERIALS *
PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS * PIEZO ELECTRIC EFFECT-MATERIALS *
MATERIALS * SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS *
SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS * SPANDEX
* TEMPERATURE-RESPONSIVE POLYMERS
* THERMOCHROMIC MATERIALS *
PART 4 LYCRA-SPANDEX
LYCRA was the first
spandex fibre introduced into the clothing materials market - from
fashion ware to sports ware!
Lycra is a commercial material specially designed to have
special properties for a wide variety of clothing articles.
Lycra-Spandex polymer materials
are strong fibres with elastic properties (polymithine?).
The above diagram is an example
of the molecular structure of 'Lycra-Spandex' type molecules
n = a very large number of
repeating double 'molecular segments' in the polymer chain.
x is the variable number of
units in the 'elastic' molecular segment, this gives differing degrees of
Therefore its molecules have a stretchy section that make it soft and
rubbery, and a rigid section that makes it tougher than rubber.
Lycra is an artificial fibre that readily stretches
but is still a strong material overall.
Parts of the long polymer
molecules stretch easily i.e. elastic at the molecular level, but other
sections of the polymer chain are more rigid to increase strength.
Lycra fibres can be stretched
upto 500% (i.e. 5x) of their original length.
(i) I wouldn't
have thought this stretching capacity could be totally explained by the
zig-zag chain of carbon and oxygen atoms, i.e. -(-C-C-O-)x-, so
is this polyether section coiled up prior to be stretched?
(ii) The benzene
rings are much more rigid compared to a hydrocarbon/ether saturated chain of
atoms, but is the strength and rigidity of this section also enhanced by
hydrogen bonding between -NH-CO- groupings in adjacent Lycra molecules? (as
in protein tissue and synthetic nylon polymers).
It is used in making sports clothing such as wetsuits, and
with other fibres to make comfortable clothing with a snug fit.
Lycra is a lightweight material but isn't damaged by
sunlight, sweat or detergents - all of which can make other materials wear
INDEX of SMART MATERIALS PAGES
CHROMOGENIC MATERIALS - Thermochromic, Photochromic & Electrochromic Materials
SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS e.g. Nitinol & Magnetic Shape Memory Alloys
SHAPE MEMORY POLYMERS, pH and temperature sensitive-responsive polymers,
PART 5 High
performance polymers like KEVLAR
GORETEX, THINSULATE and TEFLON-PTFE
PIEZOELECTRIC EFFECT (PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS) and PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS
See also INDEX
Nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes, carbon fibres and silver nanoparticles
are on a separate page
More on chemistry applications:
Uses of 220+ chemical elements, compounds, mixtures &