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Polyester


Polyester is a category of polymers that contain the ester functional group in their main chain. As a specific material, it most commonly refers to a type called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Polyesters include naturally occurring chemicals, such as in the cutin of plant cuticles, as well as synthetics through step-growth polymerization such as polybutyrate. Natural polyesters and a few synthetic ones are biodegradable, but most synthetic polyesters are not. This material is used very widely in clothing.


Depending on the chemical structure, polyester can be a thermoplastic or thermoset. There are also polyester resins cured by hardeners; however, the most common polyesters are thermoplastics.


Fabrics woven or knitted from polyester thread or yarn are used extensively in apparel and home furnishings, from shirts and pants to jackets and hats, bed sheets, blankets, upholstered furniture and computer mouse mats. Industrial polyester fibers, yarns and ropes are used in car tire reinforcements, fabrics for conveyor belts, safety belts, coated fabrics and plastic reinforcements with high-energy absorption. Polyester fiber is used as cushioning and insulating material in pillows, comforters and upholstery padding. Polyester fabrics are highly stain-resistant— in fact, the only class of dyes which can be used to alter the color of polyester fabric are what are known as disperse dyes.