Know the Difference between Cotton and Polyester

Know the Difference between Cotton and Polyester

Most individuals know that polyester is a man-made, synthetic fiber and cotton is a natural fiber. The experts of PVC coated polyester fiber manufacturers in India, say, these differences are just the cover of a book, however, so let’s know about the unique properties of these fibers and how they’re processed.

Glance At the Cotton Processing

Annually harvested from plants grown, cotton fibers are composed of pure cellulose. In the middle, cotton fibers have a hollow opening, which is known as the lumen that runs the length of the fiber. When the ball opens & the fiber dries in the sun, the lumen collapses. This dynamic causes the fiber to twist & form convolutions. To protect cotton fibers from the elements, cotton fibers are naturally coated with waxes, therefore, cotton is a naturally hydrophobic (water repellent) fiber.

Interestingly, cotton is well-known in the marketplace for its absorbency; however, the fiber will remain hydrophobic unless subjected to a purification process to remove its inherent waxes & oils. After the removal of the oils & waxes, the fibers become absorbent.

Here Comes Cotton Properties

Cotton is comfortable as well as breathable. The team member of a polyester fabric manufacturer in India, also mentioned that it’s soft and very natural. It’s hypoallergenic. All of these cotton’s properties make cotton the natural fiber of choice for nonwoven hygiene products, from feminine pads to baby care & adult incontinence.

But for a variety of nonwoven applications, cotton has an even greater array of attributes suitable. In the world of fiber, the strength of cotton is considered moderate to above average. The tenacity of cotton is 3.0-5.0 grams/denier when dry. This fiber is unique in that its strength enhances when wet to 3.3-6.0 grams/denier. Cotton has natural moisture regain of 8.5 percent under normal temperature & humidity conditions. Also, it features a heterogeneous length distribution.

Finally, cotton maintains its relevance & popularity in a modern era defined by environmental concerns, as it’s both sustainable as well as biodegradable.

What Is Polyester Made Of?

Polyester manufacturer in India says this polyester (polyethylene terephthalate) is made from a chemical reaction that contains petroleum, air, & water. This fiber is composed of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) & monotheluene glycol (MEG).

Polyester is thermoplastic, which means it can be melted & reformed. When deriving polyester, chemists melt polyester pellets & force them through small holes (spinnerets). On the exit of the spinnerets, the constant filaments of what we know as polyester fibers solidify. The size & shape of the hole dictates the shape & diameter of the fibers. The fibers are solid polymers; there are no void spaces inside the fibers. These constant filaments—called “tow”—can be divided to any length (there is no length distribution, all fibers are manufactured to be perfectly homogeneous) to produce staple fibers for use in textiles & nonwovens, or they can be left as a constant monofilament, which resembles a fishing line.

Polyester Properties

Polyester is hydrophobic. For the same reason, polyester fabrics do not absorb perspiration, or other fluids, leaving the wearer with a moist, clammy feel. 

Environmentally concerned purchasers frown on polyester use. Since it is a man-made fiber derived from petroleum-based products, polyester is not considered sustainable, nor is it biodegradable.

Cotton vs. Polyester

Cotton and polyester couldn’t be more different. Cotton is natural, breathable, absorbent, and sustainable. Where polyester is a synthetic fiber that doesn’t breathe well, repels water, and isn’t sustainable.

But remember that you will see cotton polyester blended together to produce fabrics that exhibit properties that can not be achieved using either fiber alone. Taken separately, each has its pros and cons. The more you know, the better choices you can make when selecting a fiber to meet your needs.