Elastomeric Fiber Innovations: Advancements and Applications

To create high-quality fibers from polymers, the materials must have long, flexible chains, small polar side groups, be meltable or soluble for extrusion, and capable of orientation under flow. Elastomeric fibers, primarily made from segmented polyurethanes, exhibit high elasticity and recovery, making them ideal for clothing. Developed by DuPont as Spandex®, these fibers are now produced by various companies and offer properties like oxidation resistance, dyeability, and durability, replacing rubber fibers in many applications. They are used in sportswear, medical textiles, and stretch garments, with production methods including melt extrusion, reaction spinning, dry spinning, or wet spinning.

Advancements in production techniques, such as electrospinning, allow the creation of nanofibers with unique properties, useful in applications like filtration, protective clothing, and medical devices. The specific morphology of fibers depends on factors like polymer structure, molecular weight, and processing conditions. Future research will likely focus on improving fiber properties and production efficiency, potentially leading to new materials and applications.

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Joshua U. Otaigbe