Polyester fabric is one of the most popular fabrics available today. Its versatility and affordability make it a great choice for both garments and household items. It is also a good option for custom printing and digital embroidery, which are both becoming increasingly popular. But what is polyester fabric exactly, and what are the different types of polyester fabric?
The polyester fabric we know and love is actually made from a synthetic polymer called dimethyl terephthalate
. This is produced through a chemical reaction with ethylene glycol. The resulting filaments are then spun into a yarn that can be used to create everything from polyester knitwear to polyester faux leather. There are several different types of polyester fabrics, but each has its own distinct qualities that make it best suited for a particular type of garment or design.
While it may have a bit of a stigma in the fashion industry due to the loud, plastic-looking suits from the 1970s, polyester is an incredibly versatile and durable textile that can be used to create a variety of clothing, interior, and home décor items. This is largely because polyester is thermoplastic, which means it can be melted and reformed into many different shapes and forms. Additionally, it is very strong and stain-resistant.
Unlike cotton or wool, polyester does not naturally degrade in the environment. This can pose a problem when it comes to disposing of old or worn clothes, which are eventually discarded by consumers. It is estimated that polyester fibers take more than 100 million barrels of crude oil to produce, which makes it a very unsustainable textile option for our planet.
However, there are plant-based alternatives to petroleum-based polyesters that can help lessen the environmental impact of this versatile and durable fabric. Using a chemical formula of poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate, these newer fabrics are often more elastic and durable than PET polyester, but still use up a large amount of energy in the production process.
When it comes to apparel, polyester can be used to create anything that can be made from cotton fibers. This includes both everyday t-shirts and more formal dresses. It is particularly useful for creating shirts, suits, and pants that need to be resistant to both moisture and static.
There are also other polyester fabrics that are incredibly durable and heat-resistant, making them excellent choices for clothing that will see heavy use. This is especially true of polyester-acetate blends, which are extremely durable and heat-resistant while also being able to be dyed to create vibrantly colored garments.
There are even some types of polyester
that have been developed for use in things like geosynthetics and automotive applications. The fibers are used in car tires to add strength and improve fuel efficiency, as well as in safety belts and other automobile components. Polyester is also a common material for bottles, cords, and other industrial products. This is due to its low cost and ability to withstand many harsh conditions.