The Technical Center

Textile Resource for Specialty Fabrics and Product Innovation
   April 16, 2024  Facebook Twitter
PGA Show 2024 - Textiles

Celanese and Under Armour Announce Development of Neolast™

by Kathlyn Swantko

Neolast Fabrics

The Celanese Corporation, a global specialty materials and chemical company, and Under Armour, a global leader and innovator in athletic apparel and footwear, announced the development of Neolast™ fiber for performance stretch fabrics.  The innovative material will offer a high-performing, more sustainable alternative to elastane spandex, and could provide opportunities to recycle performance stretch fabrics. 

The Celanese Neolast™ elastoester fiber process eliminates hazardous substances typically used to produce spandex/elastane stretch fabrics.  With Under Armour as its partner, the launch of Neolast™ provides a new and exciting innovation for the textile/apparel industry, aligning their value chains to achieve mutual circular manufacturing goals!   

 “Celanese is proud to bring our polymer expertise and technical know-how in manufacturing Neolast™ fibers for textiles and fabrics that meet specific customer needs,” says Tom Kelly, Celanese Senior VP of Engineered Materials. “We are just beginning to unlock Neolast’s potential, and look forward to exploring future opportunities for end users.” 

Neolast Adding Value

Proprietary Melt-Extrusion Processing:  The Celanese proprietary melt-extrusion spinning procedure is a low-footprint process that is generally different from that of spandex.  This melt-extrusion method is used to convert the Neolast™ elastoester polymers into Neolast™ fibers.

The Neolast™ melt-extrusion spinning process does not require solvents, eliminating the use of potentially hazardous chemicals utilized in typical spandex production.  This replacement can result in longer-lasting garments, resulting in potentially less waste overall.

The proprietary fiber production also provides enhanced stretch power to the fibers, which supports the durability, denseness, fit, and comfort of the garment. The fiber increases manufacturing precision by allowing spinners the ability to dial the power-stretch levels up or down to engineer fibers that meet fabric specifications. It improves moisture management, resulting in dry times up to three times faster than similar fibers. By improving product integrity, Neolast™ fibers are less likely to unravel, pill, degrade, or yellow over time, offering longer-lasting apparel with potentially less waste. In addition, a full-color spectrum of the fibers can be dyed in all shades.

Neolast Outdoor

Celanese experts are providing support for its spinning partners by assisting in the redesign of existing equipment, or in the set-up of newly purchased equipment to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of its Neolast™ proprietary melt-extrusion process.  Celanese also helps apparel manufacturers to design and create elite performance power-stretch clothing.  

The Neolast™ fibers are produced using recyclable elastoester polymers, a critical first step for the industry to address the challenge of recycling blended fabrics containing elastane.  Celanese and Under Armour are exploring the potential of Neolast™ to ultimately improve the compatibility of stretch fabrics with future recycling systems and infrastructure already planned.

“Working with a leading global brand like Under Armour to elevate the performance and sustainability benefits of their products is just the first of many great things we hope to accomplish with our innovative Neolast™ technology,” explains Kelly.

By working in partnership with Under Armour®, as well as through other athletic brands and spinners, a broad range of end use applications containing Neolast™ fibers are being evaluated.  Targeted wearable applications for Neolast™ fiber varies from elite athletic and sports apparel to leisurewear, both of which are intended to be an ideal fit for Neolast™.  End use applications include sports apparel, outdoor apparel & gear, stretch fleece, swimwear, intimate apparel, shapewear, socks/hosiery, denim, medical compression applications, and narrow elastics.

Performance Levels/Testing:  Neolast™ maintains enhanced stretch power, with durability and comfort.  The fibers also have moisture wicking capabilities that better balances its hydrophobic properties, allowing for faster water dispersion. Less odor retention and the ability to create crisper, more vibrant colors makes the finished garments more appealing.

Neolast Swimwear

Testing has demonstrated that single-jersey fabrics made with Neolast™ at a ratio: 84% polyester/16% Neolast™ exhibit enhanced performance in terms of stretch power, wicking, durability and strength, compared to elastane fibers at the same fiber ratio. Proven performance levels for Neolast™ fibers, compared to elastane show:  3 times the enhanced power; 20% improved moisture wicking; improved overall durability; higher burst strength for fabrics; and better resistance to chlorine.

Neolast™ can be knitted or woven for stretch fabrics in varying percentage amounts with other materials, including polyester, cotton, nylon, linen, rayon and silk. In addition, Neolast™ stretch can be incorporated into fabrics at percentages ranging from 2% to 40%, providing a great deal of options for fabric manufacturers. 

As companies within the apparel industry continue to transition toward a more circular economy, Neolast™ fibers provide a sustainable solution for the production and recycling of high performance stretch fabrics.




Supporting Brands
Draper Knitting Company
Bringing Ideas to Life
Nice Gain
Stain & Soil Protection
eVent Bio

The Txtile Gateway, Inspire Students, Learn how You Can Help