By Tabitha Mishra
Last updated: July 7, 2021

What Does Thinsulate™ Mean?

Thinsulate™ is a thin insulating material made with fibers about 15 micrometers in diameter. It is a hybrid word coined by combining "thin" and "insulate" and was first introduced by the company 3M in 1960. Thinsulate™ is lighter and thinner than polyester fibers but provides greater warmth and insulation.

The Thinsulate™ fabric is made from woven synthetic fibers varying in thickness for varying temperature conditions. The thickness of the fabric includes both weave and height and is expressed in grams per square meter or gsm. The thickness of Thinsulate™ ranges from 40 gsm to 800 gsm.

Safeopedia Explains Thinsulate™

Thinsulate™ fibers have more density with less fiber size and are considered the “warmest thin apparel insulation” available. In comparison with the equal thickness of other insulation material, Thinsulate™ provides 1.5 times the warmth of down and twice the warmth of other high-loft insulation material. Different varieties of Thinsulate™ are made from polyethylene terephthalate or a combination of polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene, and other different mixtures of polymers.

Protection from Cold Stress

In cold conditions, the body expends a lot of energy to keep its core temperature warm. It slowly begins to move the blood from the extremities and skin to the core, allowing the extremities and skin to cool rapidly. This can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and trenchfoot. Working in cold weather without adequate protective covering can cause cold stress in the body.

Cold stress occurs when the skin temperature and the core temperature of the body are driven down, leading to tissue damage or even death.

Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of someone suffering from cold stress include:

  • Wetness or dampness
  • Inadequate PPE
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes

Types of Thinsulate™

There are a few varieties of Thinsulate™, which suited for different applications.

  • 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation (Type C): Warm, lightweight, thin, and powerful, this type helps trap and hold body heat while allowing moisture to escape.
  • 3M™ Thinsulate™ Water Resistant Insulation: Made with hydrophobic fibers for advanced water resistance, it keeps workers warm, comfortable, and dry without unnecessary weight.
  • 3M™ Thinsulate™ Flame-Resistant Insulation: Incorporated with inherently flame-resistant fibers, it is designed for exposure to accidental flames, heat, or electric arc.
  • 3M™ Thinsulate™ Featherless Insulation: An innovative material that replaces natural down and mimics it when dry, and is warmer than down when wet.

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