Everything you need to Know about Polyester Staple Fiber
Polyester fiber is the most widely used chemical fiber and has the most significant volume consumption compared to other fibers like acrylic, nylons, rayon. The fiber is produced at lower prices due to petrochemical resources. The salient features like strength, easily dye-able, wrinkle-resistance, lightweight making them a great alternative across different industries. Polyester staple fiber is alterable according to specific industry needs, and hence, it is a preferred choice.
What is Polyester Staple fiber?
Chemically, polyester is a monomer containing the ester functional class. PSF is made by continuous polymerization involving purified Terephthalic acid (PTA) and mono ethylene glycol (MEG). Catalysts are used in the process that controls the reaction process. Here are some significant properties of polyester fiber:
- Melting point: 260-270 °C
- High rot resistance
- Excellent acid resistance
- Great weathering resistance
- Resistant against organic chemicals
- High strength
- Wrinkle and shrink free fiber
- Retains creases and pleats set using heat
- A dye-able fabric makes them a popular choice.
Application about Polyester Fiber
Considering the properties of the fiber, manufacturers prefer using it in their products. Below are some significant uses of the fiber:
- Clothing and fashion industry: Polyester staple fiber is widely used in all kinds of clothing like sportswear, dresses, lining, shirts, suits, neckties, undergarments, and more.
- Furnishing: Pillow and cushion covers, curtains, bedsheets, carpets.
- Textile: Nets, floor covering, ropes, etc.
- Automobile: Seat filling and covers, mats, speaker felts.
- Filling material in mattresses, pillows, polyfill wadding, and cushions.
Process of Polyester Staple Fiber
Polyester staple fiber manufacturers in India use the best technology and machinery to produce fiber of high quality. The process involves specific steps, and standardization allows the companies always to maintain the quality. Below are the steps involved:
- Polymerization: PTA, a white powder, is fed by a screw conveyor into hot MEG TANK to dissolve in it. Then catalysts and TiO2 are added. After that, Esterification and polymerization occur at high temperatures ranging from 290-300 Celsius. Material obtained at this stage is in thick viscous from which is called as polymer melt.
- Melt spinning: The polymer melt obtained in polymerization section is passed through various filtration media to remove impurity. After purification of polymer melt a pump called as melt pump releases small quantities of polymer per spin to Spinneerate. Spinnerates are having very fine holes through which polymer melt is released and is quickly solidified using dry cooling air. The process of cooling down is termed quenching. The discharged and cooled filaments are then passed onto a rotating wheel forming ribbons which called as tow. These tows are collected in big cans in coiled form.
- Drawing of polymer: The next section is the draw section, which collects tows from multiple cans and passes via a trench of hot water. Here, the polymer undergoes glass transition and can be quickly drawn. Next, drawing of the polymer takes place, and the required density is achieved. The filaments are strengthened by introducing them to several high-tension heated cylinders which are called as Annealer rollers. A temperature of annealer rollers is maintained at 180-220 Celsius using steam.
- Crimping: In this step, the tow obtained from the previous stage is introduced into the heated chest at 100 degrees Celsius. This allows smooth folding and crimping of the fiber in the stuffer box. During this creasing process, the polymer gains stability. Once this process is complete, the crumples are given textile spin finishing. Again, the tow is dried entirely on a framework with hot air.
- Cutting: The tow is transferred to a cutter where bales are formed in the final stage. The cutter is described as a reel with slots at equal intervals according to the desired length. There are sharp tungsten carbide or steel blades at each slot. Once the tow is coiled on the reel, the blades start cutting the tow. These are then baled according to the required weight settings. This allows the manufacturers to obtain bales of the precisely same weight and are ready for transportation to warehouses.
There are two broad types of polyester fiber: virgin and recycled. While virgin polyester involves the MEG and PTA polymerization, recycled pet polyester is obtained from plastic waste and re-spinning into new, reusable fibers. Recently, recycled polyester has gained popularity since governments promote plastic waste recycling. This is done through policies like EPR, where plastic manufacturers are expected to take back and recycle plastic that they introduce into the environment. rPET polyester is manufactured using plastic bottles, waste containers, etc.
Polyethylene terephthalate is recyclable, and manufacturers are using the property in the right direction by obtaining regenerated polyester staple fiber, which finds vast application across industries. Promoting regenerated polyester is the primary benefit of saving the environment from accumulating plastic waste. Each year, vast amounts of such waste contaminate the water sources, soil, and air. It is believed that many sea animals and birds die because they either consume plastic as food or get entangled and choked in debris.
Consumers are becoming aware of the facts associated with recycled polyester fiber and are now demanding products made of the material. rPSF has all the properties that a virgin polyester fiber has; however, it consumes much lesser resources in production. This sustainable practice needs to continue in the coming years to help divert waste from junkyards and transform them into valuable products.
Recycled polyester staple fiber has bought a much-needed revolution to facilitate better plastic waste management. Polyester, be it virgin or recycled, has applications in almost every industry. This is why manufacturers of these fibers ensure that they produce good quality fiber to meet customers' needs. The clothing industry is undoubtedly the biggest consumer of polyester. With the introduction of recycled PSF, brands are making clothes of high quality and offering them at reasonable prices to the customers. This new trend will contribute to a cleaner environment essential to maintaining the environmental balance.