The key difference between polyester and viscose is that polyester is a 100% synthetic fiber, whereas viscose is a semi-synthetic fiber material.
There are different types of polymer materials that have various uses in different industries. Polyester and viscose are also polymer materials useful in the textile industry.
What is Polyester?
Polyester is a type of polymeric material that is synthetic and usually made from petroleum. It is also known as polyethylene terephthalene, PET, or microfiber. This polymer is made from fossil fuels or organic sources. It has a medium heat retention ability and moderate stretchability. Moreover, polyester is prone to pilling or bubbling. This is a common fabric material that was first used in the USA. As for now, the largest exporter of polyester is China. We can use cold, warm, or hot water for its washing. The most important uses of polyester include the manufacture of shirts, pants, hoodies, dresses, jackets, underwear, socks, blankets, hats, sheets, rope, etc.
Polyester can be described as one of the world’s most used textile materials, and there are various consumer and industrial applications for this material. Primarily, this polymer contains compounds within the ester functional group. Some forms of polyester are biodegradable, but most of them are not. However, the production process and the use of polyester can contribute to pollution to a considerable degree.
Sometimes, polyester is the sole constituent of some apparel products. But most commonly, it is used as a blend with cotton or some other natural fiber. Moreover, the use of this polymeric material in the apparel industry can reduce the cost of production and decrease the comfortability of apparel. Blending with cotton can improve the shrinkage, durability, and wrinkling profile of this polymer material. Moreover, it is highly resistant to environmental conditions and is suitable for long-term applications.
What is Viscose?
Viscose is a semi-synthetic rayon fiber material made from wood pulp, and it is useful as a substituent for silk. It has a similar drape and smooth feel to the luxury material. The name viscose is derived from the solution of wood pulp that turns into the fabric. The material was first produced in 1883 as a cheap substitute for silk or as artificial silk.
The types of wood pulp that we can use to make this material include beech, pine, and eucalyptus wood pulp. However, we can produce viscose from bamboo, as well. We name this material as semi-synthetic because of the high number of chemicals that are involved in the production process. Some chemicals include sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide.
There are five major steps in the viscose production process:
- Chipping of the plant into wood pulp and dissolving in the chemicals such as sodium hydroxide to form a brown-colored wood pulp solution.
- Then it is washed, cleaned, and bleached.
- Thereafter, we need to treat the pulp with carbon disulfide to create the fibers, followed by dissolving the material in sodium hydroxide. This creates the solution of viscose.
- The fourth step includes the forcing of the solution through a spinneret (a machine that creates filaments named cellulose)
- The last step includes the spinning of this regenerated cellulose into yarn, followed by the weaving or knitting into viscose rayon fabric.
What is the Difference Between Polyester and Viscose?
Polyester and viscose are two important polymer materials having various uses in the apparel industry. The key difference between polyester and viscose is that polyester is a 100% synthetic fiber, whereas viscose is a semi-synthetic fiber material.
The following table summarizes the difference between polyester and viscose.
Summary – Polyester vs Viscose
Polyester and viscose are common materials in the textile industry. These materials have different sources of production. Therefore, the chemical and physical properties are different from each other. The key difference between polyester and viscose is that polyester is a 100% synthetic fiber, whereas viscose is a semi-synthetic fiber material.