Polyester (aka Terylene) is a category of
polymers which contains the ester functional
group in their main chain.
Polyester is currently defined as:
“Long chain polymers chemically composed of at
least 85% by weight of an ester and a dihydric
alcohol and terephthalic acid”.
The name “polyester” refers to the linkage of
several monomers (esters) within the fiber.
Although there are many polyesters, the term
"polyester" as a specific material most commonly
refers the Polyethylene Terephthalate(PET) .
In 1926, United States-based E.I. du Pont de Nemours
and Co. began research into very large molecules and
synthetic fibers .
W.H. Carothers, centered on what became nylon, the
first synthetic fiber.
1939-41, British research chemists took interest in
the du Pont studies and conducted their own research
in the laboratories of Calico Printers Association, Ltd.
This work resulted in the creation of the polyester
fiber known in England as Terylene.
In 1946, du Pont purchased the right to produce this
polyester fiber in the United States.
The company conducted some further developmental
work, and in 1951, began to market the fiber under
the name Dacron .
Polyester can also be classified into two types
Saturated polyesters refer to that family of polyesters in which
the polyester backbones are saturated. They are thus not as
reactive as unsaturated polyesters. They consist of low
molecular weight liquids used as plasticizers.
Unsaturated polyesters refer to that family of polyesters in
which the backbone consists of alkyl thermosetting resins
characterized by vinyl unsaturation. They are mostly used in
Polyesters are generally manufactured from petroleum
from which the constituent acids and alcohols are
There are three steps in the synthesizing of polyester
1.Condensation Polymerization: When acid and
alcohol are reacted in a vacuum at high temperatures
it results in condensation polymerization.
2.Melt-spun Fiber: The chips are dried completely.
Hopper reservoirs are then used to melt the chips. A
unique feature of polyester is that it is melt-spun
3.Drawing: The fibers consequently formed are hot
stretched to about five times their original length.
This helps to reduce the fiber width.
Resists abrasion (but can "pill")
Very resilient (springs back into shape) and hence is good
for making outdoor clothing for harsh climates.
Polyester is hydrophobic in nature and quick drying. It can
be used for insulation by manufacturing hollow fibers.
Resist wrinkling and effects of mildew.
Very high heat can "melt" the fabric .
The right amount of heat can be used to permanently
"heat set" a crease or pleat .
Easy to wash ,dry and wear .
Does not absorb water (can be uncomfortable when worn
next to the skin in warm weather unless loosely woven)
but it can be produced in such a way (as in polypropylene
and microfibers) as to "wick" water away from the skin .
Characteristics of Polyester Fibers
Attracts static electricity which also attracts dirt and lint .
Although they do NOT absorb water, they DO absorb oil and
Resist soiling, but once an oil based stain soaks in, it can be
difficult to clean.
Strong fiber (but nylon is stronger) .
Often blended with cotton or even wool to add crease resistance .
Polyester is used in the manufacturing of all kinds of clothes
and home furnishings like bedspreads, sheets, pillows,
furniture, carpets and even curtains
Hydrophobic nature: High tenacity and good durability makes
polyester the choice of fabric for high stress outdoors use.
Polyester is also a strong fiber that is hydrophobic in nature. It
is thus ideal for clothing to be used in wet and damp
environments. The fabric is also coated with a water-resistant
finish and further intensifies the hydrophobic nature.
Creating insulation: By creating hollow fibers it is also
possible to build insulation into the polyester fiber. Air is
trapped inside the fiber, which is then warmed by the heat of
the body. This keeps the body warm in cold weather. Another
method to build insulation is to use crimped polyester in a
Wrinkle resistant: Polyester is also wrinkle resistant and is
used very often in everyday clothing like pants, shirts,
tops, skirts and suits. Used either by itself or as a blend, it
is also stain resistant and hence is very popular.
Polyester fiber had been successfully blended with other
fibers to enhance the positive characteristics of polyester
or to develop combination of new properties.
Few common polyester blends are:
Polyester and Cotton
1. Resist wrinkles
2. Resist stains
3. Retain shape
Polyester and Rayon
1. More durable
2. Shape retention
3. More resilience
The most common use of polyester today is to
make the plastic bottles that store our much beloved
An unusual and little known use of polyester is in
the of balloons.These are the really pretty decorated ones
that are gifted on special occasions. These are made of
Mylar – a kind of polyester film manufactured by DuPont.The
balloons are made of a composite of Mylar and aluminum foil.
Polyester is also used to manufacture high strength ropes (Due to
its strength and tenacity ) thread, hoses, sails, floppy disk
liners, power belting and much more in industries.
Thus, polyester has many uses for homes and industries as well.
TRADE NAME PRODUCT COMPANY
Amodel Polyphthalamide Solvay
Durel PAR Occidental
Durethan Nylon 6 Bayer
Vydyne PA Monsanto
Uvex CAB Eastman Chemical
Zylar Acrylic Novacor
The total market for polyester was
estimated at 5.8 Million tonnes in 2012.
Western Europe and North America represent
the largest markets with 36 % and 39 % share
of the global markets, respectively.
Polyester is an extensively used textile in the
Indian subcontinent and stood next to Cotton
in terms of cotton. India produced total 1.4
Million Tonnes of polyester Fiber in 2001-
2002 against 2.3 Million Tonnes of Cotton.