Latex vs. Spandex

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Latex and Spandex is that the Latex is a stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium and Spandex is a elastic synthetic fiber.

  • Latex

    Latex is a stable dispersion (emulsion) of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. It is found in nature, but synthetic latexes can be made by polymerizing a monomer such as styrene that has been emulsified with surfactants.

    Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants (angiosperms). It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins, and gums that coagulate on exposure to air. It is usually exuded after tissue injury. In most plants, latex is white, but some have yellow, orange, or scarlet latex. Since the 17th century, latex has been used as a term for the fluid substance in plants. It serves mainly as defense against herbivorous insects. Latex is not to be confused with plant sap; it is a separate substance, separately produced, and with separate functions.

    The word latex is also used to refer to natural latex rubber, particularly non-vulcanized rubber. Such is the case in products like latex gloves, latex condoms and latex clothing.

    Originally, the name given to latex by indigenous Equator tribes who cultivated the plant was “caoutchouc”, from the words “caa” (tear) and “ochu” (tree), because of the way it is collected.

  • Spandex

    Spandex, Lycra or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is stronger and more durable than natural rubber. It is a polyether-polyurea copolymer that was invented in 1958 by chemist Joseph Shivers at DuPont’s Benger Laboratory in Waynesboro, Virginia. When introduced in 1962, it revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry.

    The name “spandex” is an anagram of the word “expands”. It is the preferred name in North America; in continental Europe it is referred to by variants of “elastane”, i.e. élasthanne (France), Elastan (Germany), elastano (Spain), elastam (Italy) and elastaan (Netherlands), and is known in the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Israel primarily as Lycra. Brand names for spandex include Lycra (made by Koch subsidiary Invista, previously a part of DuPont), Elaspan (also Invista), Acepora (Taekwang), Creora (Hyosung), INVIYA (Indorama Corporation), ROICA and Dorlastan (Asahi Kasei), Linel (Fillattice), and ESPA (Toyobo).

  • Latex (noun)

    A clear liquid believed to be a component of a humour or other bodily fluid esp. plasma and lymph

  • Latex (noun)

    The milky sap of several trees that coagulates on exposure to air; used to make rubber.

  • Latex (noun)

    An emulsion of rubber in water, used in adhesives and the like.

  • Latex (noun)

    Natural latex rubber, especially non-vulcanized rubber, such as is used in making latex gloves, latex condoms, and latex clothing.

  • Spandex (noun)

    A synthetic fibre known for its exceptional elasticity.

  • Spandex (noun)

    Clothing made from such material.

  • Latex (noun)

    a milky fluid found in many plants, such as poppies and spurges, which exudes when the plant is cut and coagulates on exposure to the air. The latex of the rubber tree is the chief source of natural rubber.

  • Latex (noun)

    a synthetic product resembling latex used to make paints, coatings, etc.

  • Spandex (noun)

    a type of stretchy polyurethane fabric

    “gold spandex leggings”

Oxford Dictionary

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