Thinsulate, Iron-Quick and Insul-Bright are three synthetic fabrics designed to insulate. Insulating, sometimes called thermal, fabrics are used in projects when the end product is used to keep hot things hot and cold things cold.
There are three types of thermal fabric: thermal batting, thermal fabric and thermal interfacing. Insul-Bright is an example of a thermal batting. Made with hollow fibers that insulate by resisting conduction, Insul-Bright is breathable, machine washable and easy to cut. The fabric’s manufacturer recommends layering Insul-Bright with a standard cotton batting for high-heat uses.
Iron-Quick, a thermal fabric, is made with 100 percent aluminum and backed by cotton. The quilted version offers both insulation and heat protection. Thinsulate, made by the 3M Company, is the best known insulating material. A thermal interface, it has 1.5 times the warmth of down. Used to line cold weather gloves, coats and other clothing, Thinsulate eliminates the puffiness associated with down.
Thinsulate is made with small microfibers that are extremely effective at reflecting back heat. And, because it absorbs only 1 percent of its weight in water, the material is an effective insulator even in damp conditions. The fabric is suitable for both machine washing and dry cleaning, depending on the other fabrics with which it has been used.
Down is a natural insulating fabric. The down used commercially is made up of quill-less plumules from underneath the exterior feathers of a goose or duck and is usually combined with a small amount of fine feathers for optimum insulation.