Measurement of thermal radiative properties of penguin down and other fibrous materials using FTIR

X. Wan, Jintu Fan, H. Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Penguins live in the extremely cold Antarctic. Understanding the thermal radiative properties of penguin down may help us to develop super insulating materials. In this study, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was applied to measure the thermal radiative properties of penguin down and compare them with those of other fibrous materials. It was found that penguin and duck down are superior to other fibrous materials, such as polyester, Thinsulate and wool, at the same fibre volume fraction, in shielding the radiative heat transmission, largely due to their fine fibre diameter. There is an optimum fibre diameter at which the fibrous materials are at their best in blocking thermal radiation. The fibre diameter of penguin down is very close to this optimum value. The study further found that the relationship between the effective thermal radiative conductivity and fibre fineness may be better fitted with a quadratic curve. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-679
Number of pages7
JournalPolymer Testing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • Fibrous insulation
  • FTIR
  • Measurement
  • Penguin down
  • Thermal radiative properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry

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