Polyester is a man-made material that is essentially plastic, however it mimics natural materials like wool, cotton and silk but with increased performance. Polyester is used in lots of different products such as clothing, bedding, blankets and industrial applications. In fact, plastic water bottles also fall in the polyester family and are the main source of recycled polyester. If you understand chemistry, and want a more in-depth look at what polyester is at a molecular level, click over to the Wikipedia article here. I frankly start to get lost pretty quickly when I start to read about chemical structure of thermoplastics and polyethylene terephthalates... And I am guessing most of you do too.
In residential applications especially, there is always the question of whether to choose cotton or polyester or a cotton/polyester blend as an upholstery fabric. For heavy traffic areas such as an office, school, church, or any place that is used frequently, cotton just isn't strong enough to stand up to the wear and tear. Polyester upholstery withstands abrasion a lot better than cotton or wool and also doesn't absorb any water. This also makes it ideal for vertical surface applications like office cubicle panels or fabric wrapped acoustic panels. If the fabric absorbed water, it would sag and stretch with increases in humidity.