Spandex is a synthetic fiber known for its elasticity and its frequent proximity to David Lee Roth's crotch. It was invented in 1959 by a DuPoint chemist named Joseph Shivers, a true American hero. To you, Joe, watchers of Jane Fonda workout tapes will forever be grateful.

The word spandex is generic (i.e. not trademarked), and the fact that its name can be anagrammed to "expands" is not a coincidence - it was picked just so by DuPoint. It's commonly called elastalane overseas, which anagrams to "a steel anal" - let us read no further into this.

It would be a pretty great fiber even if it didn't stretch, seeing as it's durable, dyeable, soft, smooth, lightweight, and hard to stain. If science fiction and comic books of the 1960s were to be believed, spandex is the inevitable fashion statement of the future. Clearly those imaginative folks did not consider the dramatic decline in nursing home visits to grandmother such an endeavor would bring about.

Which brings us to our next point, just who wears spandex anyway? Besides superheroes and glam rock revivalists, spandex is mainly worn by athletes in such clothing as swimsuits, cycling gear, and sports bras. It's also a common component of women's lingerie, hosiery and legging. And of course, there is the final group of spandex wearers, the shameless fatty contingent.

Spandex is primarily made through a process known as dry spinning. In this scenario, a prepolymer is formed and then pushed through the chemical version of a spineret. Liquid fibrous strands are made and then heated using nitrogen and other gases to form solid strands which are then bundled together, forming a tight bond due to their own natural stickiness. As it cools, you wind up with spandex.

And in conclusion: Erin Gray on Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century. Seriously, Joe, you deserve a billion.

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