Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Polyester and Rayon

Among the most common fabrics, polyester and rayon lead the pack as the most preferred ones. They have been in use since time immemorial, and since they are readily available, people have found them better compared to other fabrics.

Polyester is a fabric made from processed petroleum. Rayon, on the other side, is a material made from artificial silk. The artificial risk is readily available from pulp extracted from woody plants and other tree materials. While polyester is a synthetic fiber, rayon is not classified as either entirely synthetic or entirely natural since it’s made from highly processed plant materials.

The two fabrics have been for long used in a wide range of materials due to their strength. The products include clothing, industrial fabrics, and bedding. Regardless of the obvious fact that they both serve similar purposes and share similar strengths, they have distinguishing aspects. Read through and get a better insight on the line separating the two.


What is Polyester?

Polyester is a synthetic resin with polymer units that are linked by ester groups. It is chiefly used to make synthetic textile fibers. Polyester is a shortened name for a synthetic human-made polymer that is, as a specific material, commonly categorized under a type called polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Types of Polyester

There are two main types of polyester namely:

  1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  2. Poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate (PCDT)

Characteristics of Polyester


  • Is a durable fabric and resistant to many chemicals.
  • Is resistant to shrinking and stretching making it a popular fabric in the fashion industry.
  • Has very strong yet lightweight fibers.
  • Retains its shape.
  • Can be easily dyed.
  • Is a quick-drying fabric making it popular for outdoor clothing.
  • Is easy to look after and can be washed and dried at home.


What is Rayon?

Rayon is a human-made fiber, which makes it semi-synthetic, and is made from regenerated cellulose (viscose). The term rayon was officially coined and adopted by the textile industry. Among the available human-made fibers, rayon is one of the few that are not entirely synthetic. It is made from wood pulp, a cellulose-based raw material that is naturally occurring.

Rayon is a soft, comfortable, and breathable fabric. It is also the most absorbent out of all cellulose. Being absorbent makes it ideal for summer wear. As for the fabrics, they drape well, but like other natural fiber fabrics, it is prone to wrinkling and tearing.

Types of Rayon

Rayon exists in four major types:

  1. Regular rayon
  2. High tenacity modulus rayon.
  3. High wet modulus rayon.
  4. Cuprammonium rayon


Differences Between Polyester and Rayon

Despite the two fabrics being used in the same industry and for closely similar purposes, they both have distinguishing features. The differences between them can be categorized as:

  1. Texture of Polyester and Rayon

Rayon has a silkier and softer appearance and feel while polyester appears to be slightly harder and feels stiffer.

  1. Luster

As for the visible luster of the fabric, polyester features an artificial gloss. Thus, it appears shinier. Rayon, on the other hand, has a subtle shine. It also visually resembles lustrous materials such as silk.

  1. Type

Polyester is a synthetic fiber while rayon is a semi-synthetic one.

  1. Climate

Polyester is good for cold climates while rayon is best used or worn in warm climates.

  1. Resilience of Polyester and Rayon

When it comes to resilience, polyester appears to be slightly stiff when it is draped while rayon is especially pliable when draped. Rayon also hangs in small pleats.

In addition, polyester is rigid and maintains its shape compared to rayon.

Polyester is also visibly more durable and stronger compared to rayon.

  1. Washing of Polyester and Rayon

Polyester can be washed and worn while rayon shrinks and stretches each time it is washed. Therefore, the latter will require ironing before it is worn.

  1. Uses o Polyester and Rayon

Polyester is water-resistant and also dries quickly. Due to that, it is highly used for outdoor clothing to withstand extreme weather conditions. Rayon, on the other hand, can withstand high temperatures making it the most preferred fabric for high-heat situations like factories where materials such as plastics are melted and molded.

Polyester is also used for making backpacking and hiking equipment such as sleeping bags and tents. This is because it is insulating. It is also easy to wash and dry.

Polyester Vs. Rayon: Comparison Table


Summary of Polyester Vs. Rayon

Quite apparently, polyester and rayon have many distinguishing aspects. From the type of fabric to characteristics, form, and uses, they are both fabrics but different in many ways. When it comes to choosing between them, it’s only a matter of being fabric savvy. However, sometimes one can distinguish the two by sight based on the way each fabric has been used. For example, if you see some fabric predominantly used in higher temperatures areas, it has to be rayon. However, if you see someone wearing a water-resistant cloth, it is most likely made from polyester.


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1 Comment

  1. We read your blog and it is very beautiful and the content is also good, you have well described the fabric and I liked it so thank you, perhaps you understand that rayon and cotton are each fabric in substantial use today. They are used for clothing, mattress linens, and different textiles, however, have you ever notion approximately

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References :

[0]"Polyester Vs Rayon". Sulky.Com, 2018, https://www.sulky.com/polyester-vs-rayon. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.

[1]Grossman, Melody et al. "What Is Polyester? A Closer Look Into This “Love It Or Hate It” Fabric - Contrado Blog". Contrado Blog, 2018, https://www.contrado.co.uk/blog/what-is-polyester-a-closer-look-into-this-love-it-or-hate-it-fabric/. Accessed 23 Nov 2018.

[2]Image credit: https://war.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paypay:Stretching_Polyester.JPG

[3]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Rayon_closeup_2.jpg

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