Material innovator 3M is introducing a new xerogel insulation technology as a part of its expanding textile insulation portfolio in the coming months.
The new 3M Thinsulate Xerogel is made using 60% post-consumer recycled material and is distinguished by its warmth under compression, lightweight structure, breathability, and mill-friendly use.
A xerogel is a solid made from a gel that has been dried without shrinkage. It is an extremely porous structure that can actually inhibit air circulation, rendering it an ideal thermal insulator. It is made up of more than 99% air. 3M's in-house researchers and engineers have created a new formulation and composite that brings this substance a step further in order to adapt it to clothing.
The new insulation's ease of installation at the mill level, thanks to its low dusting, durability, and limited breakage is a major differentiator.
3M laboratory manager, Mike Mandanas, said in the past, as mills attempted to add xerogel to textiles, they ran into issues like dusting and breakages. These and other challenges have been addressed by 3M science.
The construction of the new insulation is also part of 3M's larger sustainability efforts. The company's headquarters in Minnesota is currently powered entirely by green energy, with a goal of reaching 50% renewable energy in all global locations by 2025.
3M revealed earlier this year that it will invest $1 billion over the next 20 years to help achieve a number of sustainability targets, which includes achieving carbon neutrality in operations by 2050, with a 50% cut by 2030 (versus the baseline year of 2019); reducing water usage by 25% in all infrastructure by 2030; and reducing 125 million pounds of reliance on virgin fossil-based plastics by 2025.
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