Polyester is a term often defined as “long-chain polymers chemically composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester and a dihydric alcohol and a terephthalic acid”. In other words, it means the linking of several esters within the fibers. Reaction of alcohol with carboxylic acid results in the formation of esters.
Polyester also refers to the various polymers in which the backbones are formed by the “esterification condensation of polyfunctional alcohols and acids”.
Polyester can also be classified as saturated and unsaturated polyesters.
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 and as reactants in forming urethane polymers, and linear, high molecular weight thermoplastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (Dacron and Mylar). Usual reactants for the saturated polyesters are a glycol and an acid or anhydride.
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 reinforced plastics. These are the most widely used and economical family of resins.
Characteristics of polyester
Polyester fabrics and fibers are extremely strong.
Polyester is very durable: resistant to most chemicals, stretching and shrinking, wrinkle resistant, mildew and abrasion resistant.
Polyester is hydrophobic in nature and quick drying. It can be used for insulation by manufacturing hollow fibers.
Polyester retains its shape and hence is good for making outdoor clothing for harsh climates.
It is easily washed and dried.
Uses of Polyester
The most popular and one of the earliest uses of polyester was to make polyester suits – all the rage in the 70s. Polyester clothes were very popular. Due to its strength and tenacity polyester was also used to make ropes in industries. PET bottles are today one of the most popular uses of polyester.
Polyester care tips
Taking care of polyester clothing is really easy and very time efficient.
Polyester clothing can be machine washed and dried. Adding a fabric softener generally helps. Dry the fabric at low temperatures to get maximum usage from the clothing.
Though polyester does not require much ironing, if you must then iron warm.
Polyester can be dry-cleaned with no hassles.
Having learned a little something about polyester and how popular it has become, one could never imagine the history of polyester to be quite so illustrious. The manufacturing process also deserves a more detailed description. The revival and success of polyester is without doubt something that is here to stay.