Source International – Manufacturing Materials – Learning Center
Polyester is a category of polymers which can either be thermoplastic or thermoset; however, the vast majority of common Polyesters are thermoplastic. This material makes up about 20% of the total market share of all plastics produced today. While commonly known as a fabric, this versatile plastic product has a wide range of applications in manufacturing. While the term itself most commonly refers to a type of the material known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate), there are several other types used commercially including: PGA, PLA, PCL, PHA, PHB, PEA, PBS, PHBV, PBT, PTT, and PEN.
As mentioned above, the most commonly known application of Polyester is as a fabric used in all types of clothing and home furnishings, ranging from shirts, pants, and jackets to blankets, bed sheets, carpets, and curtains. Aside from the retail market textile uses of this material, industrial varieties are used for conveyor belts, safety belts, and plastic reinforcements. It is even used in the making of fiberglass. Due to their resistance to stains, only a special type of dye can change the color of fabric made from this material.
In addition to Polyester’s well-known applications in the textiles industry, it can also be used to manufacture bottles, tarps, LCDs, sails, and filters, as well as be used as a finish for wood products.
Fun Fact: Research is currently underway at North Carolina State University to create a type of Polyester which will be as strong as Kevlar, the material used to produce bulletproof vests.