Polyester is the most popular synthetic fiber in the world. Polyester is a manufactured product made from synthesized polymers. It is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is the same material used 2 make plastic drink bottles. Polyester was first discovered in 1833 by French chemists named Gay Lussac, Theophile Jules Beolouze and Jons Jakob. When they first created it they did not realize what it was or how it could be used, so they just continued on with their work. It was later in the 1920s that American chemist Wallace Carothers and a research group at DuPont researched the formation of polymers and discovered it themselves. Polyester today is mostly made in China in India.
Polyester is made from a chemical reaction between acid and alcohol. Once created it is extruded from a spinneret into tiny filaments. After this it can be cut into tiny spun yarns, or crimped for texture. FR polyester is made a little differently. The original polyester ingredients are mixed with phosphorus to make it flame retardant, hence the name FR polyester. This helps with the high flammability. Since this is a synthetic fiber made by chemicals it can be a little hard on the environment. When it actually comes to caring for the garments made form it, however it is better for the environment since it uses less energy than cotton when it comes to caring for polyester.
There are several favorable and unfavorable qualities about polyester. One of polyesters biggest perks is its strength. It is very strong when being compared to cotton and lasts a lot longer because of this as well. It is also resistant to most chemicals and abrasion resistant. It is resistant to shrinking and quick drying. Since it is not an organic fiber it is also resistant to mildew. It is also very crisp and resilient. One of the most unique characteristics about polyester is its thermoplastic tendencies. Since it is thermoplastic, creases and pleats can be set into garments with heat. Some unfavorable qualities about polyester are that it is highly flammable. This is why FR polyester was then invented which has a lower burn level so that it won’t melt as quickly as regular polyester.
Polyester is used worldwide and a very useful fiber since it is used not only in garments but home furnishings, containers for product, bottles, jewelry and so on. This is why it is the most popular textile in the world. In the year 2000, the worldwide production of PET was 30 million tons and increases at 5% each year. The cost for the actual raw fiber can be $1.99 per meter and for specialty microfibers and designer series can be about $50.00 a meter. Some burning properties of polyester are that it smells sweet when burning and it melts and burns into a black hard bead.
Polyester is everywhere. It can be found in home furnishings, garments, plastic bottles, jewelry, and even home appliances. This is why it is so popular and its most recognized in garments. In garments it is often blended with other fibers to help in the ways that it is weak in. Some blends include cotton, linen, nylon, rayon, acetate and basically all fibers natural and synthetic.
Polyester is the fabric of the future. While cotton is still the number one fiber in the world, polyester is right behind it. With brands like Under Armor whose advertisements sate that ‘cotton is the enemy’ Polyester is becoming more and more popular. Since polyester is being recycled and can be made into other things, it proves to be very renewable as well. Polyester is the future of garments and home products alike. The future looks bright with polyester in it.