Polyester vs Acrylic: Difference and Comparison

Synthetic fabrics and threads are high in demand due to their inexpensive prices. Natural fabrics like wool, cotton, silk are comparatively anti-budget.

Polyester and Acrylic both are extracted out of petroleum originally and further processed into ample clothing and furnishings.

Though they are man-made fabrics from the same source they have separate molecular structures which makes them unique. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Polyester is a synthetic fabric derived from petroleum, while acrylic is a synthetic fiber from polymer-based materials.
  2. Polyester is more durable, resistant to wrinkles, and dries faster than acrylic.
  3. Acrylic has better insulation properties and mimics the feel of wool, making it a popular choice for winter garments and blankets.

Polyester vs Acrylic 

Polyester is durable and resistant to wrinkles, shrinking, and fading, but it can be uncomfortable to wear as it does not breathe well. Acrylic is softer and more comfortable but not as durable as polyester. Acrylic also has good insulation properties and is used in blankets and outerwear.

Polyester vs Acrylic

Polyester is a kind of fabric made out of petroleum used in a vast variety of wearable garments specifically sports and gym dresses. It is one of the most durable fabrics with rough and tough usage.

No ironing is required on polyester clothing. In terms of pricing, polyester is affordable in comparison to other natural fabrics.

Acrylic is a warm clothing fabric that is extracted from polymer. It is scientifically called acrylonitrile. Woolen garments can be substituted by using Acrylic fabrics since they lack breathing passage.

Polymerization is the process to make Acrylic threads for fabrics. Apart from clothing Acrylic is also used in home furnishing. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPolyester Acrylic
Extracted FromPolyester is mainly extracted from Petrochemical polymers and Oily substances. Acrylic is extracted from Monomers and Cellulose-based polymers.
DecomposePolyester is not decomposable easily in comparison to Acrylic. Acrylic has a great capacity to decompose.
PilingPolyester has no piling feature.Acrylic is prone to piling in nature and is very soft to feel.  
MaintainancePolyester demands high maintenance and has a risk of shrinking.Acrylic is easy to maintain and low risk of shrinking.
FlammablePolyester melts during contact with flame or fire.On the other hand, Acrylic burn out in contact with flame.

What is Polyester?

Polyester is a member of the synthetic yarn family which are man-made fibers. It is one of the economical replacements of cotton fibers that are extracted from nature.

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It is one of the types of polymer which is called polyethylene terephthalate (PET).  Heat retention capabilities are low in Polyester Fabric. 

It was first produced in the United States but China is the biggest producer of Polyester today. Common articles made out of Polyester are Socks, hats, blankets, sheets, pants, hoodies, etc.

On a global scale, Polyester is a widely demanded fabric in the world. Most of the types of Polyester are Non-Biodegradable. 

In some apparel formations, Polyester is solely used as the main constituent without any other yarn. By mixing Polyester in clothing yarn, Industries save their production cost by avoiding other materials.

It has an anti-shrinkage feature suitable for regular wear and usage. The environmental-resistance capabilities of polyester make it more comfortable for outdoor clothing. 

DuPont Corporation initially manufactured Polyester fabrics for mass consumption and later on it also discovered nylon.

In the process of making Polyester the first step is creating Monomoers and then polymers for extracting the Polyester. In industrial applications, Polyester is used in LCD films, Boats, traps, or Holographic films. 


What is Acrylic?

The term Acrylic is used for the fabric yarn of unnatural resources. It is a lightweight, hydrophobic, warmth fiber that can be used as a cashmere alternative and has a tendency to resist sunlight.

It protects the skin from harsh chemicals therefore it is used in gloves as well. The main disadvantage of Acrylic is that it is prone to piling therefore it has a short shelf-life. 

Acrylic materials are available in large compositions but are suitable for cold weather conditions only. It can attract the flames easily and burn out fast. In terms of durability, Acrylic lacks behind.

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It is prone to shrinkage in high temperatures therefore it requires more maintenance to avoid fitting issues after washing or dry cleaning

Sweaters, sweatshirts, tracksuits are made out of Acrylic materials. This material is easy to dye which allows a manufacturer to put a large variety of colors in it.

Initially, Acrylic yarn is composed of the molecular structure of polyacrylonitrile. Its chemical compounding contains 85% of acrylonitrile.

In the first phase of production, Acrylic is manufactured as filament and in a further stage, it is denominated into small length pieces. In later on procedures, the clothing is made out of knitting, weaving, or spinning methods. 

Main Differences Between Polyester and Acrylic

  1. Clothes Compatibility: Polyester is largely used in sportswear clothes whereas Acrylic is mainly used in woolen clothes.
  2. Purpose: Polyester is used in fabric to absorb the sweating of the person and Acrylic is used in the fabric to protect from cold weather.
  3. Versatility: In synthetic use, Polyester is more versatile in comparison to Acrylic, though Acrylic is stringent.
  4. Insulation: In Polyester, the insulation power is quite low as compared to Acrylic because Acrylic is better in insulation due to warm characteristics. 
  5. Breathing Capacity: Polyester is largely used for outdoor purposes due to its breathable feature whereas Acrylic fabric lacks breathability. 
Difference Between Polyester and Acrylic
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014139100500217X
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/003238619290657I

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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