Polyester: All About This Controversial Material

Appreciated for its resistance and elasticity, polyester is the fiber most used in the textile industry. Zoom on this fabric as used as it is decried.

  Polyester: All About This Controversial Material

If some consider it a low-end fabric, polyester r, however, has a number of advantages that make it one of the most used fabrics in the textile industry. Where does it come from and how is it produced? Follow the leader.

What is Polyester?

Discovered and patented in 1941 by two chemists from Manchester, polyester fiber is above all a set of polymers (or set of molecules) that can be used to create textiles as well as plastic bottles. Synthetic artificial material derived from petroleum , it is widely used in the fashion industry, in the form of Tergal or Dacron fabrics. Polyester even had its heyday in the 70s and turned out to be a trauma for a whole generation, the one who had to wear winters during the famous itchy turtlenecks. Today, polyester is exploited so much that it represents 70% of synthetic textile fibers used in the clothing sector and is used in particular, when it is not mixed with cotton or wool, to make sportswear and swimwear. A production for the textile industry which amounted to 56.7 million tons in 2020 according to figures put forward by the AFP and relayed by FashionNetwork.com .

How is polyester produced?

Polyester is obtained by s chemical synthesis of two-component petroleum : terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. The condensation of this acid and this alcohol will produce a sort of gel which is then stretched to obtain polyester fibers . Many manufacturers combine these yarns with other natural raw materials such as laine or even cotton, since polyester makes it possible to produce clothes at a lower cost without the quality being altered.

La Redoute Collections Polyester Crewneck Sweater

What can you do with polyester?

Ethylene polyester is the most commonly produced form of polyester fiber and is the same type of petroleum-derived plastic used to make n many consumer products such as food containers, water bottles, boats, tarpaulins, holographic films… But its most important use is in the production of textiles.

If it can be the only component of some clothing products 100% polyester , it is more common to blend with cotton or other natural fiber . This allows in particular to reduce production costs . In addition, you should know that anything made of cotton can also be made of polyester. Shirts and pants, dresses, suits, pillow stuffing, sheets… Its use is endless.

What are the benefits of polyester?

Polyester textiles get dirty quickly but are not delicate and do not require any special precautions when washing them. Also, thanks to his elasticity , the polyester allows the textile not to wrinkle. This fiber also has a very low absorbency , and is therefore the queen of sportswear, allowing them, unlike cotton, to easily wick away perspiration. But you still have to keep in mind that this stretch fiber dries up skin and hair due to friction and the lack of natural affinity of this material with the epidermis, which promotes static electricity.

What are the limits of polyester?

If when it was invented, its longevity compared to natural fibers and all its advantages excited the crowds, in recent decades the disadvantages and the adverse environmental impact of this synthetic fiber have been brought to light. Too much fossil fuels used for its production, dissemination of toxins , poisoning of ecosystems, release of synthetic microfibers into water reserves… The addition is steep for polyester. Fortunately, the arrival of the plant-based polyester fiber and of that recycled seem to be a first step towards a change of situation.

Source journaldesfemmes.fr