Commercialized in 1962, Lycra brand elastane fiber capped two decades of research to produce a good synthetic elastomeric fiber. Lycra is a segmented polyurethane. Lycra was made first in Waynesboro, Va. The stretch and recovery properties of Lycra provide fabrics and garments with comfort, fit and freedom of movement. Textile mills would knit or weave Lycra–it was never used alone–with virtually every other fiber, including cotton, wool, silk and nylon. The Lycra trademark and Lycra products were divested as part of the INVISTA separation in
DuPont has been making Lycra elastane at its plant in Paulinia, Brazil, near Sao Paulo since January 1975. The plant has also produced Riston photoresists as well as Teflon and SilverStone nonstick coatings. In October 1999 DuPont announced it would build a $100 million, state-of-the-art Lycra production facility at Paulinia in order to meet the increased demand in South America for the popular fabric. Opened in late in 2001, the plant incorporated new developments in Lycra processing and automation that doubled the output of the present facility. Within a few years of opening, the new Paulinia plant began exporting Lycra to other markets in South America. Paulinia kept pace with DuPont’s standards for safety, environmental protection and sustainable growth. When in operation, the plant recycles about 98 percent of its waste, and in 1998 its management created the first community advisory panel in Brazil. In addition, Paulinia’s safety record has won recognition from DuPont and in turn has helped DuPont earn several safety awards for its South American operations.