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Thinsulate is a brand of synthetic fiber thermal insulation used in clothing. The word is a portmanteau of thin and insulate. The material is made by the 3M Corporation and was first sold in 1979.


Thinsulate fibers are about 15 micrometres (µm) in diameter, which is thinner than the polyester fibers normally used in insulation for clothing such as gloves or winter jackets. Advertising material for thinsulate suggests that thinsulate is more effective due to the increased density of fibers with decreased size of fibers compared with more traditional insulation.[1] Like most insulation materials, the gaps between fibers not only reduce heat flow, but also allow moisture to escape. The insulation properties are beneficial for retaining some of the heat produced by the body for comfortable warmth while the moisture produced, e.g. by sweating, is supposed to evaporate.

The R-value provided by Thinsulate products vary by the specific thickness and construction of the fabric. Values (US units) range from 1.6 for 80-gram fabric to 2.9 for 200-gram fabric.[2]

Material safety data sheets from the manufacturer show that different varieties of Thinsulate are made from different mixtures of polymers, but most are primarily polyethylene terephthalate or a mixture of polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene. Other materials in some include polyethylene terephthalate-polyethylene isophthalate copolymer and acrylic.

Thinsulate is now used in the fabric roof of the latest Porsche Boxster.[citation needed] The extra layer not only reduces heat loss but, according to Porsche, has reduced noise levels inside the car by 50%.[citation needed] Jaguar has also used Thinsulate in the roof of the F-Type convertible, and claims: "a Thinsulate layer means thermal and sound insulation is akin to a solid roof."[3]


In 1979, Thinsulate insulation was introduced, marketed as providing "warmth without bulk". Marketing material suggests it retains its insulating ability even in damp conditions.


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