PART 4 LYCRA-SPANDEX -
structure, properties and uses
Doc Brown's Chemistry Revision Notes - Smart Materials and Materials Science
GCSE Chemistry Revision
Index of smart materials pages
Index of nanochemistry revision notes
general survey of materials - natural & synthetic, properties & uses
mobile phone or ipad etc. in 'landscape' mode
This is a BIG
website, you need to take time to explore it [SEARCH
list of keywords mentioned on these 'smart materials' pages:
Carbon fibres * Chromogenic
materials * Electrochromic materials
* Gore-Tex * Halochromic materials * High
performance polymers * Kevlar * Lycra *
Magnetic shape memory alloys * Magnetostrictive
materials * Nitinol *
pH sensitive polymers *
Photochromic materials *
Photomechancal materials * Piezoelectric
effect materials *
Self-healing 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.
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
up to 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).
The advantages of Lycra
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,
performance polymers like KEVLAR
GORETEX, THINSULATE and TEFLON-PTFE
PIEZOELECTRIC EFFECT (PIEZOELECTRIC MATERIALS) and PHOTOMECHANICAL MATERIALS
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