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Polyester Edited

Polyester Edited

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Published by: usmanazeem on Jul 16, 2010
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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. Reactionof alcohol with carboxylic acid results in the formation of esters. Polyester fibers,the synthetic fibers, are long chain polymers derived from coal, air, water, andpetroleum. They are formed through chemical reaction between an acid andalcohol. In this reaction, two or more molecules combine to make a largemolecule whose structure repeats throughout its length. These molecules are very stable and strong. There are variations in the compositions and therefore in theproperties of polyester fibers.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 reactantsin forming urethane polymers, and linear, high molecular weight thermoplasticssuch as polyethylene terephthalate.Unsaturated polyesters refer to that family of polyesters in which the backboneconsists of alkyl thermosetting resins characterized by vinyl unsaturation. They are mostly used in reinforced plastics. These are the most widely used andeconomical family of resins.Depending on the chemical structure polyester can be a thermoplastic orthermoset; however the most common polyesters are thermoplastics.
Polyester is currently defined as: "Long-chain polymers chemically composed of at least 85 percent by weight of an ester and a dihydric alcohol and a terephthalicacid."The name "polyester" refers to the linkage of several monomers (esters) withinthe fiber. Esters are formed when alcohol reacts with a carboxylic acid:
There are, therefore, many possible variations of the generic polyester fiber. Twothat are currently produced commercially are polyethylene terephthalate (PET)and poly-1,4, cyclohexylene dimethylene (PCDT). A third polyester fiber,polyethylene oxybenzoate (PEB) was manufactured in Japan during the 1970sand early 1980s under the trade name A-Tell®. Production of this fiber wasdiscontinued, however, because it did not offer enough performance advantagesto remain competitive in the textile market.Polyester is a smooth fiber with an even diameter. The fiber diameter usually ranges from 12-25 micrometers (10-15 denier). The undyed fiber is slightly off- white and partially transparent. The fibers are approximately 35% crystaline and65% amorphous.Close up of a polyester fiber 
Most polyester is made from petroleum from which the constituent acids andalcohols are derived. The types of processes that manufacturers use vary, andlittle is known about specific manufacturing processes, because the companies want to keep them a secret in order to remain competitive. Here is a generaldescription of how polyester is synthesized:
Condensation polymerization occurs when the acid and alcohol are reacted in a vacuum at high temperatures. The polymerized material is extruded in the formof a ribbon onto a casting trough or cooling wheel. After the ribbon hardens, it iscut into chips.
The chips are dried and then put into hopper reservoirs for melting. Polyester is a"melt spun" fiber, which means that it is heated, extruded through the spinnerets,and cools upon hitting the air. From there it is loosely wound around cylinders.
The fibers are then hot stretched until they are about five times their originallength in order to decrease their width. The fiber is then wound onto cones asfilaments or is crimped and then is cut into staple lengths.
Types of Polyester
The polyester fibers are generally available in two varieties- PET (polyethyleneterephthalate) and PCDT (poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate).PET is the most common production. It is stronger than PCDT, while PCDT hasmore elasticity and resilience. PET can be used alone or blended with otherfabrics for making wrinkle free and stain resistant clothing that can retain itsshape. PCDT is more suitable for heavier applications, such as draperies andfurniture coverings. Modifications can be introduced in each of these varieties forobtaining specific properties.
PET Polyester
For manufacturing PET Polyester, the main raw material isethylene derived from petroleum. It is oxidized to produce aglycol monomer dihydric alcohol which is further combined withanother monomer, terephthalic acid at a high temperature in a vacuum. Polymerization, the chemical process that produces thefinished polyester, is done with the help of catalysts. The colorlessmolten polyester then flows from a slot in a vessel on to a casting wheel and takes shape of a ribbon as it cools to hardness. The polymer thusproduced is then cut into very small chips, dried to remove all moisture and blended to make it uniform for getting it ready for spinning into yarn.

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