A lightweight super-insulating nonwoven for sportswear.


To achieve the Paris climate targets, all industries must undergo a transition to greater sustainability and, if applicable, to a circular economy. The fashion industry has the opportunity to play a pioneering role in this process.
In addition to the ecological responsibility, the social responsibility is important for modern fashion brands. Traditionally, goose-down feathers are used for the insulation of outdoor clothing. From a social perspective, the extraction of down feathers involves significant animal cruelty, as the feathers are harvested from live animals. According to an analysis by the European Outdoor Group in 2014, the amount of down used in the outdoor industry is approximately 1058 tons per year. Per goose, a yield of about 1050 g per year is achieved, which corresponds to about 1 million geese. The adoption of innovative biobased materials in the outdoor industry will lead to a huge reduction of animal cruelty. The switch from down feathers to aerogels as the biobased material also provides an improvement in insulation per volume.


The aim of the project is to demonstrate that cellulose aerogel nonwovens can be used as a suitable derivate for the insulation of sports and outdoor clothing. For this purpose, various cellulose samples are supercritically dried, to create aerogel nonwoven. In the second step, the samples are treated with various additives to reduce bacterial growth, for example, or to exhibit hydrophobic properties. Afterwards, the aerogel nonwovens are equipped with upper and lower fabric to simulate a part of a clothing and thus measure the properties.

Finally, a demonstrator garment such as a jacket or vest will be manufactured.



The project structure consists of four development steps with increasing complexity. The four steps are supercritical drying, finishing, assembly & testing, and integration. The project starts with the optimization of the aerogel nonwoven drying process at ITA. In the second step, the aerogel nonwoven undergoes post-treatment. The finished aerogel nonwovens will then be assembled to test specimens and tested at Adidas. The fourth step is to integrate aerogel nonwoven into different cold-weather garments. All four development steps will be supported by continuous accompanying assessments from the TransitionLab. The material acceptance, desired characteristics, and later product acceptance will be investigated. For the LIGHT LINING project at least 3 iteration steps are planned. To ensure the necessary information flow for a steady improvement and adjustment of the materials an agile project management approach is chosen. Each iteration step will uncover new requirements for the materials which then can be directly applied to improve the product. Following the last iteration, the aerogel nonwovens will be integrated into state-of-the-art cold insulation clothing and tested.

Project Partners


Maximilian Mohr, M. Sc. Project Lead
Dr.-Ing. Sascha Schriever Deputy Project Lead
want to apply for a project too? Contact us
GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner