Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, Department of


Date of this Version

April 1991


Published in Textile Research Journal 61, no.4 (April 1991), pp. 203–210. Copyright © 1991 Sage Publications.


Milkweed, a perennial plant that can adapt to adverse soil conditions, is being developed as an alternative crop. Fiber characterization and potential market identification are critical to its development. The most promising commercial use for milkweed floss is as a loose fill for jackets and comforters. The purpose of this research was to evaluate milkweed floss as an insulative fill material and to compare its performance to other insulators. Seven identical jackets were constructed using different fill materials matched on a per unit weight basis. The insulation (clo) values for the jackets were measured using a standing, heated manikin in an environmental chamber. Thickness (loft), compression, resiliency, and hand were also measured. Several performance characteristics were evaluated before and after cleaning. The results show that milkweed floss blended with down has insulative properties similar to down. Down is superior to milkweed floss in loftiness and compressibility, which influence product performance, but the properties of milkweed floss can be enhanced by blending with down.