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How Is Polyester Fabric Made?

How is a polyester fabric made?

The production process used to make polyester can vary depending on the type of polyester being made:

vinyl polyester

Polyethylene polyester (PET) is the most common form of polyester fiber. The main component of PET is petroleum-derived ethylene, which acts as a polymer that interacts with other chemicals to form a stable fiber compound during the process of making polyester fibers.

There are four manufacturing methods of PET fiber, and the production process of polyester is slightly different according to the method used:

1. Filament: Polyester filaments are continuous fibers and these fibers produce a smooth and soft fabric.

2. Staple Fiber: Polyester staple fiber is similar to the staple fiber used to make cotton yarn, and like cotton staple fiber, polyester staple fiber is usually spun into a yarn-like material.

3. Tow: Polyester tow is like polyester filament, except that in polyester tow, the tows are loosely arranged together.

4. Fiberfill: Fiberfill consists of continuous polyester filaments, but these are specially produced to have as much bulk as possible to make bulky products such as pillows, outerwear, and stuffing for stuffed animals.

The process of making polyester starts with the reaction of ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate at high temperatures. This reaction produces a monomer, which is then reacted again with dimethyl terephthalate to produce a polymer.

This molten polyester polymer is extruded from the reaction chamber in long strands, and the strands are allowed to cool and dry before breaking down into smaller pieces. The resulting flakes are then melted again to produce a honey-like substance that is extruded through a spinneret to create fibers.

Depending on whether filament, staple, tow, or filler fiber is desired, the resulting polyester filament may be cut or reacted with various chemicals to achieve the correct end result. In most applications, polyester fibers are spun into yarns before being dyed or subjected to other post-production processes.

PCDT polyester

The process for creating PCDT polyester is similar to that of creating PET polyester, but this polyester variant has a different chemical structure. While PCDT is also made by reacting ethylene glycol with dimethyl terephthalate, different production processes are used to make these two common polyester variants.

vegetable polyester

Most types of plant-based polyester are also made by reacting ethylene glycol with dimethyl terephthalate. While the source of ethylene used in PET and PCDT polyesters is petroleum, plant-based polyester producers use sources of ethylene such as sucrose.