Spandex is used in many different ways in the world and is produced in basically four methods. Melt extrusion, reaction spinning, wet spinning and dry spinning. The name spandex aka Elastane (Europe) has more longevity than rubber. This material was invented by Joseph Shivers at DuPont Company. The word spandex is an anagram of the word expands.
Dry spinning is the most preferred method for making spandex and is over 94% of the world’s process. All these methods are used with the pre-polymer reaction. Spandex fiber has multiple uses from Apparel to orthopedic applications. Wet suits, swim suits, ski pants, hosiery, leggings, and many other uses. National Aeronautics Space Agency utilizes this fiber for its strength. Comic book heroes such as batman and robin, Superman, amongst others are also avid users of this amazing material. In the early to mid seventies many rock bands used spandex for comfort and movement on stage because of its elasticity to the human body. During the making of Star Trek and other well known movies, spandex was the desired fabric for the most outrageous clothes made for these top notch scientific thrillers.
In the fashion industry many designers are using spandex cotton mixes in their designs because of durability and fit. JoeyJ maker of Ahimsa silk for ShirtsGoneWild has now 2011 mens casual shirts for this purpose. Most of the manufacturing of these shirts are done in Italy or Croatia where the Ahimsa silk farm is for the mega outlet. It would seem from a retail environment that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. This is typical for the clothing and apparel world.
In conclusion, Spandex will be around for ions simply because it is so versatile and comfortable. Many industries will benefit from this expandable fiber material.