Cotton and polyester are the two commonly used fabrics in the textile field. It is vital to spot, and understand the difference between them so as to get a better understanding of your own requirements and make a decision on your selection.
Here are the three major differences between cotton and polyester.
The major difference between them is where they come from. Cotton is a natural product while polyester is a man-made product. For cotton, many steps are required for it to be transformed into a finished piece of apparel. Cotton is a crop, but is the only one that cannot be eaten. It is a plant, grows as balls of fiber, or lint which have to be picked first. In order to separate the seed from the lint, cotton has to undergo a process called ‘ginning’. Afterwards, they can be put into bales and then sent to textile mills where it can be used to create the fabric we see in our daily lives.
Different from the cotton, polyester comes from petroleum. It is an artificial man-made fiber. Getting the polyester from petroleum involves three steps which are
- Condensation polymerization (Process of heating acid and alcohol to a high temperatures in a vacuum condition) and afterwards cutting the material into chips when they are harden.
- Melting the chips and push them through spinnerets.
- The fibers are again heated and will be stretched to around 5 times their original length. They now become polyester which can be turned into fabrics.
Polyester is long lasting and more durable than cotton. It is extremely resilient and can withstand wear and tear for a long period of time. It can usually retain its shape and look for many years. While cotton may become thin and tear over time. It cannot with stand wear and tear like polyester. For colour, polyester can retain its colours and shines for a long time while cotton colours tends to fade away.
The price differences between cotton and polyester is affected by market factors. Cotton is traded as an agricultural commodity and its price can be impacted by weather, demand, supply and government policies. Polyester, belongs to a much more volatile market. Polyester is largely dependent on the price and availability of petroleum, together with the available production capacity at specialised plants to convert it from petroleum to polyester. For example, if there was an increase in price of oil the price of polyester would increase dramatically. However, polyester is still much cheaper than cotton.
The above are the three major difference between the polyester and cotton. Undoubtedly, knowing the difference between the composition of your product can better sharpen your strategies towards the products in your range.