Polyester - What is polyester?
The term polyester can be used to refer to a group of polymers where the chain of monomers is linked together by an ester (a chemical compound made from an acid and an alcohol), to materials that are made of fibres of one these polymers (e.g. polyester clothing), or to one specific type of polyester called polyethylene terephthalate (commonly referred to as “PET” – usually when describing packaging or bottles – or “Mylar”/“Dacron”/“Terylene” (all of which are brand names) – usually when describing materials made using polyethylene terephthalate fibres).
Polyesters include a wide variety of materials including both natural and synthetic polyesters, thermoplastic and thermoset polyesters, and are manufactured in a variety of forms (including fibres and filaments, yarns, films, or resins) to suit a huge range of applications (including clothing, home furnishings, tyres, safety belts, conveyor belts, heat and electrical insulation, packaging and containers (including bottles and jars for food and drink products), boats and canoes, construction materials, automotive and aircraft parts, liquid crystal displays, holograms, filters, anoraks and weatherproof clothing, parachutes and tarpaulins, diving suits and swimwear, audio and video tapes, x-ray films, and protective films on items made of high quality wood (e.g. guitars, pianos, vehicle interiors, and yachts)). Polyesters may be transparent or opaque, and may also be metallised.
As a group, polyesters are usually chosen because they are lightweight materials that are both tough and durable and also offer excellent stability. They tend to be resistant to a large number of environmental factors including heat, moisture, solvents, oils, chemicals, oxidation, ionising radiation, abrasion - which means they are especially popular for making waterproof clothing, construction materials, and packaging/containers.
As an individual polyester, polyethylene terephthalate is a thermoplastic polyester that is popular for use in clothing, liquid and food containers, and engineering and construction materials. It is used to make plastic drinks bottles, flexible food packaging, thermal insulation, as a carrier for magnetic tapes (e.g. in audio and video tapes), packaging trays (e.g. frozen dinners) and blister packs, and solar cells.
In labelling, polyester(s) can be used as the face material and/or backing sheet of labels or can be used to create adhesives, coatings, and laser toners.
At Label Planet, we have a range of polyester labels including options for laser or inkjet printer compatibility, matt or gloss finishes, transparent or opaque labels, and permanent or removable labels.Go Back to Glossary