Insulations - Eco-Friendly with Improved Performance
By Kathlyn Swantko
Several new and improved insulations that use applied technology and novel fiber developments were exhibited at ORSM 2019. This move by fiber producers and manufacturers is to create lighter, less bulky, breathable and more sustainable insulations for apparel and gear applications. Improved sustainability has been accomplished through the use of natural and recycled materials, and even using discarded oyster shells to create new fibers.
The available insulation products keep getting better and more eco-friendly with each season that passes. The FabricLink Network reviews several of the new insulation products showcased.
ECOLoft™ FLEX SR Eco-Elite Insulation, developed through a
collaboration among DuPont™ Sorona®, REPREVE® and Youngone.
DuPont™ Sorona®, Unifi, and Youngone promoted its collaboration on three new Eco-Elite insulations at ORSM’19: EcoLoft™ ActiVe SR Insulation; EcoLoft™ FLEX SR Insulation; and EcoLoft™ AIR SR Insulation.
ECOLoft™ ActiVe SR allows sweat to move away from the body to maintain a best in class next-to-skin microclimate. The vertical-lapped construction of Sorona® and REPREVE® fibers gives the padding a resilient loft as well as a resistance to heat loss, either wet or dry. The warmth of ECOLoft™ Active SR is comparable to a 700FP natural down insulation that is 58% bulkier. It is also 32% warmer than standard competitive synthetic poly fill, while maintaining warmth, compressibility, and soft comfort.
ECOLoft™ FLEX SR maximizes the multi-layering of REPREVE® and Sorona® fibers to a lightweight, warm, breathable, and flexibility/stretch for the casual market. The layered high and low density structure makes for continuous cluster like performance, designed to release heat from the body, and transfer this heat to the outside.
EcoLoft™ AIR SR is a voluminous natural-down-like synthetic fiberfill for puffier jackets and similar products that offers notable warmth, excellent washing, performance, and vapor management for enhanced comfort.
Image shows a comparison of DOWNTEK®’s PFC-Free Water Repellent Down to
regular down when exposed to water.
DownTek® showcased its new standard in down. Mother nature designed down with clusters to trap pockets of air. These pockets insulate, keeping the user warm and comfortable, unless they get wet. When regular down is exposed to moisture, the air-trapping pockets deflate and the moisture droplets cling to the filaments of the down cluster, forcing the down to collapse, reducing the ability to insulate.
DownTek™ Water Repellent Down is an innovative down that has been treated with Sustainable Down Source’s water-repellent-nano-treatment. This proprietary application is used instead of a bath treatment. DownTek promotes its DownTek™ Water Repellent Down as staying dry longer than regular down when exposed to water.
DownTek™ is loftier, and shields the insulating air-trapping down clusters from all moisture. DownTek™ and DownTek PFC-Free™ are certified and offer RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certifications on DownTek™, DownTek PFC-Free™, and regular bulk down.
Graphic shows the creation of Smawarm® Fiber and insulation from a combination oyster shells
and recycled PET bottles.
Hans Global’s/Creative Tech’s smawarm® is a premium insulation fiber that enhances apparel, while limiting the environmental impact. After spending 10 years of research, Hans Global has found a way to use the mountains of discarded piled up oyster shells created by Taiwan’s oyster farming. The company has created a process, using nanotechnology to combine PET bottles with powdered oyster shells to make functional insulation fibers.
Smawarm® has a thermal conductivity of 0.044, which is about half of just PET fibers alone. This means that smawarm® is a better insulator than polyester. In addition, the smawarm® fiber possesses other permanent functional qualities such as anti-static, anti-bacterial, and anti-odor.
The CLO value of the smawarm® fiber insulation is higher than other branded insulations of the same weight, and the yarns offer a hand and drape similar to that of wool. For Fall/Winter 2019, Mountain Khakis will introduce jackets made using smawarm® Insulation.