Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

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Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) 2016-12-06T05:35:22+00:00

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Pepsi Cola introduced the first PET drinks bottle Tinted PET bottles c1986

Carothers and his team carried out pioneering studies into the chemistry of macromolecules within the laboratories of Du Pont, USA from 1928. Julian Hill, a close colleague of Carothers, produced thermoplastic polyesters from which he could pull fibres from the molten polymer, but the work was dropped in favour of nylon.

Development took place in the Calico Printers Association in the United Kingdom by Dickson and Whinfield. In 1941 they patented poly(ethylene terephthalate) from the reaction of polyethylene glycol with terephthalic acid.

Patent rights were granted to ICI and also to Du Pont in the mid and late 1940s. Terylene fibres were introduced by ICI in 1947, and later as film (Melinex). The film found use as a base for magnetic recording tape as well as electrical insulation and capacitor dielectric. Moulding powder was not generally available until the 1960s. A great boost to polyester high volume application came in 1977 when oriented controlled structure blow moulded bottles were introduced in the USA.

Several other types of thermoplastic polyester, based on different dibasic acids or glycol combinations, have added to the qualities of product performance and their ease of processing, e.g. Poly(butylene terephthalate), poly(ethylene naphthalate), copolymers and blends.