Sustainable Insulation

A photo of the Sustainable Insulation team working on their projectSponsor: The North Face

Team Members: Rosemary Edberg, Julia Madsen, Hsin Kuei Lu, Hunter Shumaker

Project Description: Are you feeling “down” about your jacket insulation? Nowadays, jacket insulations are made from goose down and synthetic materials like polyester. Our team was tasked to find an eco-friendly insulation alternative for The North Face that will provide the same warmth and washability as current jackets on the market.

We were challenged to develop an insulation made with a fiberball structure that met industry standards for insulative value, washability, and handfeel. Our team worked with the pilot plant at Wilson College to source and apply various fiber finishes to improve insulation washability. We developed a rating system for clumping after home washing and drying cycles and used ASTM F 1868 through the Textile Protection and Comfort Center to find insulation (clo) values. 

This project allowed us to learn about materials innovation from a hands-on approach as well as discover the benefits and challenges of working with global manufacturers and suppliers. As a result, our team has learned invaluable lessons that we will be able to throughout our careers in the textile industry.