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3M Introduces 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation, the Lightweight Insulation Built for Warmth Under Compression

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Boots, whether they’re hiking down the trail or trekking up the mountain, must perform in the cold. But with the crunch of frigid earth underfoot, the pressure in every step can affect how insulation stands up to the elements. That’s why 3M created 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation, a unique, flexible insulation specially designed to retain warmth even when compressed.

Durably built for footwear, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation features warmth under compression, lightweight construction, breathability, 60 percent post-consumer recycled content, and ease of application at mills.

“Traditionally, when mills tried applying xerogel to textiles, they would run into some issues, including dusting and breakage,” said Mike Mandanas, PhD, Laboratory Manager for 3M. “3M science has addressed this and other hurdles.”

Discover ‘solid air’

Xerogels are solids that have playfully been referred to as “solid air.” In fact, they’re made up of more than 99 percent air. That means they’re one of the lightest solid substances ever created. Xerogels initially start out as wet gels, but they harden as the liquid evaporates, resulting in an ultralight, highly porous material. The vast channels of pores trap air and inhibit its circulation, in turn making xerogels impressive thermal insulators.

3M brings strength to delicate xerogels

Xerogels are naturally fragile. However, 3M science took this brittle substance and infused it with synthetic fibers, resulting in a flexible, lightweight insulation. Our proprietary composite for 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation allows for exceptional resilience, so those wearing the insulation can compress it under their own weight and not worry about losing warmth.

Based on trials conducted across our global labs, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation has proven itself to be 20 times more breathable and twice as weight efficient as original 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation products designed for footwear.

Solving for the challenges of textile mills

3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation was carefully designed with textile mills in mind. For them, our proprietary formulation eliminates common hassles they’ve experienced with other xerogel-based products, and it allows them to enjoy easy, efficient application processes.

3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation is specially designed to reduce dusting, minimize breakage and apply with ease.

A slim, lightweight alternative for apparel brands

For manufacturers and brands, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation allows them to re-imagine footwear. Our insulation’s slim profile, light weight and compressibility opens new doors for them to design slender, less bulky gear that can still perform in any cold-weather activity.

Consumers can explore confidently in the cold

3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation is an excellent “ingredient” for boots and shoes built for the cold. That’s why anyone wearing footwear featuring 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation can rest assured they’re supported by an innovative, high-performance insulation that can stand up to the elements when and where they need it most.

Pushing 3M’s sustainability initiatives further

Comprised of 60 percent post-consumer recycled material, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation is just one more proof point of 3M’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. In 2021, 3M pledged to spend $1 billion over the next 20 years to accelerate environmental goals such as reducing water usage, limiting dependance on virgin fossil-based plastics, and achieving carbon neutrality across our global operations.

To date, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation meets the strict sustainability standards for textiles set forth by bluesign® System, OEKO-TEX® and The Global Recycled Standard (GRS).

Since 1979, when 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation launched as a thin, lightweight synthetic alternative to down, its portfolio has evolved and grown, now with an emphasis on earth-friendly materials. Today, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation proudly stands besides our other ethically minded products such as 3M™ Thinsulate™ 100% Recycled Featherless Insulation.

Want to experience 3M Thinsulate Xerogel Insulation for yourself?

If you’re ready to discover how 3M™ Thinsulate™ Xerogel Insulation can empower your products, contact 3M-Thinsulate@mmm.com or tliang2@mmm.com.

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