How Is Polyester Produced?
How is polyester produced? Polyester is a synthetic fiber that's produced via machine extrusion. It's been with us since the 1930s under different names and blends as the technology to make it has improved. Advances in the production method of polyester has given us a versatile, comfortable fiber. No more stiff-as-a-board articles of clothing that plagued us in the 1970s!
Let's take a look at the process to create a single fiber strand of polyester.
- Two chemicals are combined with a catalyst present. The catalyst is what jump starts the reaction between the chemicals. This is done at a temperature that ranges between 320 degrees Fahrenheit to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The resulting chemical is now a monomer. A monomer is a single non repeating molecule. An acid is now introduced and the temperature raised to 472 degrees Fahrenheit. It is then extruded through a slot to create a ribbon.
- The ribbon is now allowed to cool down. Once the newly created polyester ribbon is cooled, it is cut up into tiny chips and allowed to dry thoroughly.
- Chips are now heated up again. They are brought to a temperature of about 518 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it's syrup-like, it's put in a spinneret.
As the mass of syrup-like goo spins, it starts to extrude through holes in the spinneret. The holes are generally round, but can be of other shapes for different production needs.
- This is the stage where any additional chemicals are added. These can be flame retardants, anti-statics or something to make the polyester accept dye more readily.
- The extruded fiber is now drawn out. At this stage, it's soft and pliable and ready for weaving. It's then wound onto a bobbin to be taken to a production facility.
This is a general overview of how polyester is produced. Research and manufacturers have become more and more sophisticated with the overall production of poly. It's even being used in garments for the Paris runways. Update your thinking of yesterday's double knit to today's luxurious blends of silk and poly.