11 Differences Between Polyester and Microfiber!

Want to know the differences between polyester and microfiber? You will be amazed to know that polyester is a synthetic fiber and microfiber is made up of synthetic fibers like polyester or polyamide. But there are some technical differences between polyester and microfiber. 

If you want to know about the differences, check the content below!

Polyester in Brief

Polyester is made by a condensation reaction that takes place between small molecules. Here the linkage of the molecules occurs by the formation of ester groups. Polyesters consist of the interaction of a dibasic acid with dihydric alcohol:

Wallace H. Carothers of DuPont Company carried out the investigation for developing polyester fiber. But this process eventually led him to develop Nylon. However, by the polyamide research polyester was outshone. Polyester fiber was not discovered until 1941. 

In that year, J. T. Dickson and J. R. Whinfield of the Calico Printers’ Association in England made a synthetic fiber from polyethylene terephthalate by condensing ethylene glycol with terephthalic acid.

The development of the fiber was carried out after the war under the license by I.C.I. Ltd. in the U.K. and by du Pont in the U.S.A. This results in the fibers known respectively as ‘Terylene’ and ‘Dacron’.

Now many countries made polyethylene terephthalate fibers and modified forms of this fiber are also produced. The generic term polyester was adopted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for fibers.

In polyester, the fiber forming substance is long- chain synthetic polymer. At least 85% ester of a substituted aromatic carboxylic acid (includes substituted terephthalate units p(-R-0-CO- C6H4-CO-0- ) and para-substituted hydroxybenzoate units p(—R—O— C6H4—CO—O—) constitutes this synthetic long chain polymer.

The most common type of polyester:

What type of dyes are used for polyester?

Polyester is dyed with Disperse dye where Dispersing Agent plays a crucial role. The dyeing procedure can be carried out in different ways. High temperature high pressure method if widely used. Pad-thermosol and Carrier methods can also be used. But carrier method is not widely used nowadays as it is employed with toxic Dye carriers.

Forms of PET Polyesters

PET polyester fibers are available in the form of filament yarns, staple fiber and tow. The properties of the fiber can best be considered by dividing the various types of fiber into three main groups:

  1. High tenacity filament yarn:
  • High tenacity filament exhibits a bright lustrous property in a wide range of yarn counts. 
  • The individual filaments are, with a few exceptions, each of 5.6 dtex (5 den) approximately. 
  • More than a few types of high tenacity yarn vary in extension characteristics and also in tenacity.
  1. Medium tenacity filament yarn:
  • Medium tenacity filament yarn is produced in a range of lusters that can be classified as bright, dull and extra-dull and in a range of counts and numbers of filaments per yarn. 
  • For these types of yarn widely used counts are 56, 84 , 110 and 167 dtex (50 , 75 , 100, 150 den).

  3. Staple fiber: 

  • Staple fiber is made in a range of counts from. 1.7-1 1 dtex (1.5-1 0 den) in dull lusters. Various types, which may differ appreciably in properties, are designed specifically for use on the various spinning systems, such as the worsted, woolen, cotton or flax systems. 
  • For bright luster, and mass-colored fiber some staple fiber is produced that are available in certain types.

Polyester fiber properties

The properties of polyester is described below:

  1. Low moisture regain: It has low moisture regain percentage of 0.4% at 65 per cent RH. and 20°C. It exhibits a good dimensional stability while washing and any wet treatment is carried out. It facilitates in its ease of care. Again it dries quickly due to low moisture regain. 

The low moisture penetrability of PET polyester fibers caused considerable difficulty in the development of dyeing techniques for this fiber. PET polyester fibers are now dyed commonly at high temperatures, and often under pressure.

Due to low moisture absorption this fibers tend to be unsatisfactory for use in underwear and other garments in contact with the skin.

  1. Dry and wet strength is high: Polyester is high-strength fiber that displays an extension at break that reflects great toughness. 

Average Toughness: 

  • High tenacity filament: 0.325 g.-cm./denier-cm. 
  • Medium tenacity filament: 0.50 g.-cm./denier-cm. 
  • Medium tenacity staple: 0.61 g.-cm./denier-cm.

They exhibit high tensile strength:

  • High tenacity filament: 7,350-8,75 0 kg/cm2 (105,000-125,00 0 lb/in2 ) 
  • Medium tenacity filament: 4,900-5,95 0 kg/cm 2 (70,000 – 85,00 0 lb/in 2 ) 
  • High tenacity staple: 5,250-7,35 0 kg/cm 2 (75,000-105,00 0 lb/in2 ) 
  • Medium tenacity staple: 4,900-5,95 0 kg/cm 2 (70,000-85,00 0 lb/in2 ).
  1. Initial modulus is high: They have a high resistance to tensile deformation. It is in the region of extension to which fibers are most subject during use (0-5 per cent). 

The initial moduli of elasticity for the four types of fiber are as follows: 

  • High tenacity filament: 971-1,14 8 cN/tex (110-13 0 g/den) 
  • Medium tenacity filament: 883-1,01 5 cN/tex (100-11 5 g/den) 
  • High tenacity staple: 70 6 cN/tex (8 0 g/den) approx. 
  • Medium tenacity staple: 265-53 0 cN/tex (30^60 g./den.approx.)

4. It shows high resistance to bending and also shows high recovery from bending, stretch or shear. 

5. Low creep: They show extremely lower creep. Terylene’ filament yarn, for example, recovers completely from an extension of 1 percent, and recovery is more than 90 percent complete after an extension of 3 percent.

6. Ability to be heat-set: Polyester can take on “Permanent shape” upon heating. It is one of its important properties it. An apparel fabric, for example, will commonly be heat-set at temperatures in the region of 200-220°C.

7. Abrasion resistance is high: The abrasion resistance of polyester is of high order if compared to the other textile fibers.

8. It provides good electrical insulation properties: Polyester exhibits-

Dielectric constant: 3.17 at 20°C and 1 kc/sec. 

                                   2.98 at 20°C and 1 Mc/sec. 

Volume resistivity: 1.2 x 101 9 ohm-cm. at 25°C. And 65 percent R.H, measured on a 1 mil. Film. This is some 109 -101 2 times the resistivity of silk, nylon, cotton or rayon. 

9. It shows good resistance to exposure to elevated temperatures.

10. It shows good resistance to most common chemicals, including oxidizing and reducing agents, acids, dilute alkalis, but attacked by concentrated, hot alkalis. 

11. Towards common solvents it shows good resistance.

You can check out: Polyester dyeing with HTHP method

End uses of polyesters

  • Apparel
  • Curtains
  • Food coverings
  • Dyeing hosiery
  • Conveyor belts
  • Fire hose
  • Rope, net, sailcloth
  • Filling
  • Sewing thread
  • Electrical insulation
  • Tyres
  • Paper making
  • Laundry equipment

Microfiber in Brief

Microfibers are made from synthetic fibers like Polyester or Polyamide. The fibers are very fine in their structure. They dry extremely quickly. They also exhibit pores in their structure. The split fibers on microfiber cloth can absorb a lot of moisture. 

You can easily wipe out any spill better than a cotton towel. They leave no residue. Their self-life is also long. Athletes, Golf Company, car detailing company, Technology Company uses microfibers. They don’t scratch any surface. You can use them anywhere for cleaning purposes. 

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So what are the main differences between polyester and microfiber?

Polyester is a synthetic fiber. And microfiber is made up of synthetic fibers like polyester and polyamide. Microfiber is made up of polyamide that is a fancy name for Nylon. Microfiber clothing has split fibers in its structure. They differ from polyester in their properties.

Differences between Polyester and Microfiber at a Glance:

TopicPolyesterMicrofiber
ConstituentsPetroleum and chemical productsUsually originated from polyester, polyamide, polypropylene or nylon
PriceCheapA bit costly than polyester but cheaper than many other natural fibers
AbsorbencyShows water repellent behavior, low moisture absorbencySuper water absorbent, it can absorb 7 times its own weight of water.
BreathabilityNot breathableExtremely breathable
StrengthVery strong Strength is less than polyester
DurabilityMore durable due to high strengthLess sturdy material
Surface textureRough surfaceSmooth and silky
FeelExhibits no soft feelFeels softer and warmer on skin
WarmthBoth the polyester and microfiber provides the same warmthBoth of the polyester and microfiber provides the same warmth
ApplicationExtensively used in the apparel and fashion industry. Industrial polyesters are used in car tire reinforcement, conveyor belts, safety belts, plastic reinforcement. Bottles, film, tarpaulin, liquid crystals etc are also manufactured from polyesterMainly used for cleaning materials. Bedding, scarf, towel, pillowcase etc are also produced from microfiber 
CareWashing and drying for both of these materials are quite easy. Washing is done at 40-50° for domestic purposes but industrial laundering is carried out at a bit high temperature. But they dry quickly.Washing and drying for both of these materials are not that easy. Washing is done at a bit high temperature. But they dry quickly.

The Last Word

There are some differences between polyester and microfiber though microfiber is made up of polyester fibers.

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