Polyesters as thermoplastics may change shape after the application of heat. While combustible at high temperatures, polyesters tend to shrink away from flames and self-extinguish upon ignition. Polyester fibers have high tenacity and E-modulus as well as low water absorption and minimal shrinkage in comparison with other industrial fibers.
Unsaturated polyesters (UPR) are thermosetting resins. They are used in the liquid state as casting materials, in sheet molding compounds, as fiberglass laminating resins and in non-metallic auto-body fillers. They are also used as the thermoset polymer matrix in pre-pregs. Fiberglass-reinforced unsaturated polyesters find wide application in bodies of yachts and as body parts of cars.
According to the composition of their main chain, polyesters can be:
Increasing the aromatic parts of polyesters increases their glass transition temperature, melting temperature, thermal stability, chemical stability...
Polyesters can also be telechelic oligomers like the polycaprolactone diol (PCL) and the polyethylene adipate diol (PEA). They are then used as prepolymers.