Making a Better Polyester

Eastman Chemical Company believes they have created a better polyester fiber. Called Avra, the company claims it wicks better, dries faster, feels cool to the touch, and is more comfortable against the skin than regular polyester.

Avra is made through a combination of spinning capability and polymer chemistry, resulting in fibers that have a unique size and shape. Ultra-thin polyester fibers are forced out through the machine and held together by a removable polymer. Once the fabric is made from these fibers, the polymer is washed out in hot water, resulting in ribbon-like fibers that are smaller than traditional polyester fibers.

These types of bi-component fibers are nothing new (think microfiber cleaning cloths). But these fibers require chemicals to remove the polymer, versus Eastman’s pressure jet of hot water. Like standard polyester fibers, Avra’s bi-component fibers can be knit or woven on conventional mill equipment to make any fabric similar to normal polyester.

Due to their size, Avra fibers are significantly more flexible than standard polyester. This creates fabrics that are noticeably softer. The flatter shape also provides performance advantages like faster wicking speeds, faster dry times, and a cool-to-the-touch sensation you have to feel to believe.

Eastman hope to ramp up commercial production of Avra in mid-2018, so expect to see the first products hitting the market sometime in 2019.

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